Afghanistan

The American Green Berets were seated around a long, plywood table at their base when they spotted the Taliban counterattack on their screens.

The burly Americans were working on computers, drinking coffee and munching on chips and peanut butter cookies. Their team leader answered an ever-ringing phone, giving his superiors updates on an Afghan commando mission in the mountains just north of Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield.

The Afghan Taliban have announced their next leader: Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, an extremist scholar with no military experience.

With the announcement, the Taliban confirmed that their previous leader, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last week.

Sughra Hussainy makes her own watercolors — which she uses to paint intricate miniatures in the traditional Persian and Afghan styles. Her favorite hue is blue — made from powdered lapis lazuli gemstones.

A fuel tanker collided head-on with two buses on an Afghanistan roadway early Sunday, setting all three vehicles on fire and killing at least 50 people.

If you drive around Kabul long enough, you will eventually see what must be the most cheerful slogan in Afghanistan.

Cars traverse the city bearing a happy little window sticker about the best way to approach life in a country beset by deep — and, in the eyes of most Afghans, worsening — trouble.

"Enjoy Today!" it reads. "Forget Tomorrow!"

That's harder than it sounds.

A few months ago, the U.S. military gave Zabihullah Niazi $3,000. He lost his left eye and left arm when an American AC-130 gunship repeatedly fired shells into the hospital in which he worked in northern Afghanistan.

The money was what officials term a "condolence payment," an expression of sympathy and sorrow for injuring Niazi when the U.S. military mistakenly hit the Kunduz hospital, killing 42 people.

The suicide bombing that struck Kabul on Tuesday killed at least 64 people, Afghan officials have announced — more than double the number of deaths initially announced by police.

The blast, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, struck Afghanistan's capital city around 9 a.m. local time, during the morning rush hour. Hundreds of people were wounded.

It was the deadliest single such incident in Kabul since 2011, Reuters reports. The wire service says that according to Afghanistan's interior ministry, most of the victims were civilians.

At least 28 people have been killed and more than 320 wounded in an attack in Kabul. The assault targeted a key government security agency and included a suicide car bombing and an offensive by armed militants. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.

The attack hit at about 9 a.m. local time, during morning rush hour — one reason there are so many casualties, NPR's Philip Reeves reports. It comes about a week after the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive.

Sweden has taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country — 160,000 last year alone. Refugees are now part of the landscape, even in small towns. And nearly everybody, not just those working with aid groups, is encountering the newcomers.

In the southern town of Ronneby, Dagmar Nordberg is giving Swedish lessons to Waliullah Hafiz, who goes by Wali, at her kitchen table. The 60-year-old Swedish museum director met this 23-year-old migrant from Kabul on a train platform in a nearby village on a freezing cold day last November.

As soon as I walk into the squalid, unofficial migrant camp known as "the Jungle," outside the northern French city of Calais, I meet Amran, a 13-year-old Afghan boy staying here on his own.

"I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me," says Murtaza Ahmadi, the 5-year-old whose image became a sensation when he was seen wearing a homemade Lionel Messi jersey made from a blue-striped plastic bag. The boy got the genuine article today, part of a package from the soccer star who's also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

More than 300 people are dead the day after an earthquake hit Afghanistan and shook surrounding countries. At least 2,000 people are injured, NPR's Philip Reeves reports on Morning Edition.

"This is a very remote landscape," Reeves notes, "and it can take a long time before you find out exactly who's been impacted by a disaster of this kind."

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

The death toll continues to climb from the massive earthquake that rocked northeast Afghanistan near its border with Pakistan. More than 260 people are confirmed dead across the region with the majority of the reported casualties in Pakistan.

The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck a remote area of Afghanistan but could be felt across the region as far north as Tajikistan and as far south as India.

Obama's plan to leave 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of his term means he won't fulfill a promise to remove all American forces from that war zone. While he added the disclaimer, "I do not support the idea of endless war," he also said he's not disappointed.

Calling a U.S. gunship attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a "blatant breach of international law," Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent international investigation into the attack that killed 22 people and wounded 37 more. The group views the airstrike as a war crime.

Twelve of those who died were staff members of the Paris-based charity, which says the attack went on for 30 minutes after it contacted both Afghanistan's and the coalition's military leaders.

The international aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) is calling for an international investigation into what it calls a war crime in Afghanistan — Saturday's U.S. airstrikes that killed 22 people, including medical staff and patients at the organization's hospital in Kunduz.

The U.S. airstrike this weekend that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 22 civilians, was requested by Afghan forces, according to the top U.S. general in Afghanistan.

Gen. John Campbell, addressing reporters Monday at the Pentagon, said Afghan forces advised they were taking fire from Taliban insurgents and asked for U.S. air support. Campbell said he wanted to correct initial reports suggesting U.S forces were under threat and that the strike was carried out on their behalf.

Taliban forces stormed the Afghan city of Kunduz on Monday; after several days of fighting, Afghan forces claimed to have retaken the city.

A day after the Taliban seized control of the city of Kunduz, a military operation is underway to try to retake the provincial capital in northern Afghanistan. The U.S. carried out an airstrike to aid coalition and Afghan forces, according to NATO.

The fall of Kunduz is seen as "the Afghan Taliban's biggest victory since they were ousted from power 14 years ago," NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Philip filed this report for our Newscast unit:

After his son died fighting in Afghanistan, Phil Schmidt became a walking memorial.

"At the age of 52, I got my first tattoo. So I've got a total of five of em, and I'm not done," says Schmidt, who lives in New Mexico.

Schmidt has tattoos of his son Jonathan's face, and of his son's medals, and the date that he fell in combat, Sept. 1, 2012.

Jonathan Schmidt should have been coming home from Afghanistan that month. Instead two Army officers arrived at Schmidt's home bearing the news that Jonathan had died in a firefight.

U.S. Army

He was the sole survivor of a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan that killed seven of his comrades and their interpreter. Now, Corporal Roger Scherf, Jr. has also died, the victim of a car accident on an icy highway.