Tom Bowman

The new troops of the Afghan 215th Corps are assembled on a wide plaza at midday at their base, called Camp Shorabak.

Passing in review is their new commander, Maj. Gen. Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai. He proved himself fighting the Taliban in northeast Afghanistan. Now he's in charge of Helmand — the deadliest province in a troubled country.

Gen. John W. "Mick" Nicholson settles into his wood-paneled office inside the American-led military headquarters in Kabul. It's lined with plaques, pictures and ceremonial swords.

He has spent more time in Afghanistan, in various jobs, than any other senior American officer — a total of 5 1/2 years. The commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission and U.S. forces in Afghanistan since March 2016, Nicholson is a genial West Point graduate with salt-and-pepper hair — and a renewed confidence.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now, as we were talking with President Ghani, Tom Bowman was listening in. Tom is NPR's Pentagon correspondent. He has spent a lot of time reporting on Afghanistan, reporting in Afghanistan. He's in our studio now. Hey there.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to an Army medic on Monday afternoon at the White House, nearly 50 years after his heroic actions during the Vietnam War.

Over three days of bravery, Jim McCloughan ran toward enemy fire numerous times to save his fellow soldiers, even though he was wounded himself.

At the ceremony, the president called McCloughan a "hero" and "a veteran who went above and beyond the call of duty."

"He would not flinch in the face of sure death and definite danger," Trump said.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today - this afternoon at the White House, President Trump awards the Medal of Honor to United States Army medic, who is receiving the honor almost 50 years after his actions during the Vietnam War.

A debate has broken out at the Pentagon and in Congress over a proposal to dismantle an 8-year-old program that gives fast-track citizenship to immigrant soldiers who were recruited because they have critical skills in languages and medicine.

More than 4,000 immigrant soldiers recruited through the program — mostly from China and South Korea — are serving in uniform, including on overseas tours. Another 4,000 recruits have enlisted and are awaiting training.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

When President Donald Trump selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary, it was a rare choice. No recently retired general had been selected for the top Pentagon job since George Marshall, some 66 years earlier.

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