NPR: Quil Lawrence

David Aquila ("Quil") Lawrence is an award-winning correspondent for NPR News, covering the millions of Americans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as they transition to life back at home.

Previously, Lawrence served as NPR's Bureau Chief in Kabul. He joined NPR in 2009 as Baghdad Bureau Chief – capping off ten years of reporting in Iraq and all the bordering countries. That experience made the foundation for his first book Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East, published in 2008.

Before coming to NPR, Lawrence was based in Jerusalem, as Middle East correspondent for The World, a BBC/PRI co-production. For the BBC he covered the fall of the Taliban in December 2001 and returned to Afghanistan periodically to report on development, the drug trade and insurgency.

Lawrence began his career as a freelancer for NPR and various newspapers while based in Bogota, Colombia, covering Latin America. Other reporting trips took him to Sudan, Morocco, Cuba, Pakistan and Iran.

A native of Maine, Lawrence studied history at Brandeis University, with concentrations in the Middle East and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Arabic.

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6:09pm

Thu July 14, 2011
Afghanistan

U.S. Quietly Halts Scholarship For Afghan Students

Former President George W. Bush speaks to student from the Youth Exchange and Study program at the White House in 2005. The program began in 2004 and ended for Afghan students this year after half of those enrolled fled to Canada.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The U.S. State Department has funded international student exchanges for decades, looking to form lifelong bonds and increase understanding across borders.

One program brought hundreds of Afghan high school students to small communities in the U.S. beginning in 2004.

But this year, the U.S. has quietly suspended the popular youth exchange. The reason? Fear of a dark future in Afghanistan was prompting too many of the students to bail out of the program and seek asylum elsewhere.

Deciding To Flee To Canada

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12:01am

Wed July 13, 2011
Afghanistan

Poppy Crops Set To Bloom If Afghanistan Aid Withers

An Afghan holds a bouquet of poppies near the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Majid Saeedi Getty Images

In case you missed it, June 26 was the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Afghanistan, the world's largest provider of opium poppy, did mark the occasion — with a bonfire.

Standing near an 11-ton mountain of seized opium, hashish and alcohol on the outskirts of Kabul, Gen. Baz Mohammad Ahmadi welcomed officials to the drug-burning ceremony.

Ahmadi, the country's deputy minister for counternarcotics, appealed for a strong international effort against narcotrafficking. He also asked for more cooperation from his own government on the issue.

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10:15pm

Tue June 28, 2011
NPR Story

Militants Strike Iconic Kabul Hotel

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

In Afghanistan's capital Kabul tonight, a group of suicide bombers armed with heavy weapons attacked the Inter-Continental Hotel which is popular with foreigners and Afghan VIPs. Loud explosions and gunfire could be heard across the city as the battle raged for hours.

(Soundbite of gunfire)

NATO helicopters were called in to respond to the siege.

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12:01am

Tue June 28, 2011
Afghanistan

Fraud Ruling Throws Afghan Parliament Into Disarray

President Obama's announcement last week that U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan this summer has prompted questions about whether the country's democracy can stand on its own.

Those questions come as the Afghan government has been thrown into disarray. A tribunal appointed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai has revoked 25 percent of the seats awarded last September, reviving a dispute over the parliamentary elections.

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4:00am

Mon June 20, 2011
Afghanistan

Afghans In Helmand Worry About U.S. Withdrawal

Six locations in Afghanistan are scheduled to be handed over to Afghan control next month. The most daring location is the capital of Helmand province. U.S. Marines are just now assessing the security gains they've made in Helmand. How ready are Afghan troops for the hand over, and, how much of the area will really be under Afghan control?

8:00am

Sun June 12, 2011
Afghanistan

Blame For Afghan Casualties Falls On The West

The UN is planning to release civilian casualty figures for the month of May this weekend, and the toll could be the highest yet. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports that even though three-quarters of the victims were killed by the Taliban or other militants, it is the U.S. and its NATO allies that bear the brunt of the criticism from Afghans.

6:34am

Thu June 9, 2011
Afghanistan

U.N. Tries To Clear The Way For Afghan Settlement

Rumors about peace talks between the U.S. and the Afghan Taliban have been simmering even as the summer fighting season heats up. While the substance of any talks remain unconfirmed, the United Nations may take action this month to clear away obstacles to a political settlement. U.N. officials say they want to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity for a breakthrough even in the midst of heavy fighting.

2:46pm

Wed May 18, 2011
Afghanistan

Pakistani Workers' Land Of Opportunity: Afghanistan?

A Pakistani worker labors on a machine in a factory in Kabul, producing boots for the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army. Higher wages and, in some cases, better security in Afghanistan have drawn workers from Pakistan.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

It's not unusual for laborers the world over to cross borders, sometimes illegally, to find a safer environment and better wages. But it is strange when their land of opportunity is Afghanistan.

It may be a sign of economic and political instability in neighboring Pakistan that manual laborers are sneaking across into Afghanistan, where wages are double and, in some cases, security is better.

That level of desperation has many fearing that Pakistan may be holding on to stability just as tenuously as Afghanistan.

Day Laborers

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12:01am

Thu May 12, 2011
Afghanistan

Afghan Raids Common, But What If Target's Wrong?

The daring assault that killed Osama bin Laden last week has been seen by many as a vindication of the tactic of "targeted killing," which Gen. David Petraeus has utilized at an unprecedented level in Afghanistan.

U.S. military sources say the tactic has turned back the Taliban's momentum. But critics say it can be counterproductive — especially when mistakes are made.

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3:46pm

Mon May 9, 2011
Asia

U.S.-Pakistan Flareup Threatens Troops' Supply Route

In the aftermath of the raid in a Pakistani garrison town that killed Osama bin Laden, Congress' anger toward Pakistan is growing. Some lawmakers want to suspend U.S. aid to Pakistan.

But American military commanders are concerned about the potential impact on the war in Afghanistan. Most of the supplies for U.S. forces in that land-locked country are shipped in by truck through Pakistan.

A Tough Border To Cross

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12:01am

Fri May 6, 2011
Afghanistan

Afghans Rally Against Compromising With Taliban

There is no clear sign yet that the death of Osama bin Laden has changed U.S. policy in Afghanistan. There is also no sign it has had any effect on the Taliban movement, which so far has been strangely silent about the death of its one-time ally and benefactor.

But that's not stopping fevered speculation in Afghanistan about how bin Laden's killing this week might help or hurt efforts to negotiate with the Taliban.

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4:00am

Mon May 2, 2011
NPR Story

Afghans React To Osama Bin Laden's Death

Afghanistan hosted Osama bin Laden at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most Afghans reacted positively to the news that bin Laden has been killed.

8:00am

Sun April 17, 2011
Afghanistan

Negotiating Afghan Peace With The Taliban, Quietly

Violence is increasing in Afghanistan as the winter snows melt, opening the mountain passes from Pakistan. There has also been a flurry of activity around the possibility of peace talks with the Taliban — which most American and Afghan observers agree may be the only way out of the decade-old war.

The government of Afghanistan, as well as U.S. military leaders, have announced their support for reconciliation, but real negotiations still seem a long way off.

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12:01am

Tue April 12, 2011
World

Accusations Of Corruption Rampant In Afghanistan

As the U.S. tightens its belt, some in Congress are calling for more scrutiny of the budgets Americans are boosting abroad.

Last week, Vermont Democrat Peter Welch called on Congress to investigate corruption in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is spending billions of dollars. It might have surprised him to know that a similar conversation was happening in the Afghan legislature.

In a moment of candor, Afghanistan's deputy attorney general said he had arrest warrants for high-ranking government officials, but he feared arresting them.

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2:48pm

Thu April 7, 2011
Afghanistan

Airmen On Ground Aid Effort To Avert Afghan Deaths

Six thousand feet up a mountain in Afghanistan's Laghman province, Tech. Sgt. John Oliver is leaning on one elbow in the dirt, sheltering himself from the wind and trying to block the glow coming from his video monitor, the only light under a moonless, midnight sky.

The screen is showing him the view from an F-16, thousands of feet overhead.

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