For 20 years, I saw no peace
We open with a story from Aysha, a Kabul resident in her mid-twenties, who we’ve been checking in with over the past few months. Aysha was born in Pakistan. Her parents fled Afghanistan after the Taliban rose to power in the mid 90’s. Then, after the 2001 invasion by the U.S. and other allies, her family returned to Afghanistan. They saw the war as an opportunity to reclaim their country. Now though, 20 years later, Aysha feels betrayed. She likens it to a doctor leaving in the middle of surgery: “I opened your heart. I fixed your heart bleeding. Now you stitch back yourself.” Our story follows Aysha throughout the final U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban’s return to power.
Then, Al talks with Fariba Nawa, an Afghan journalist based in Turkey, who is fielding calls from desperate people who are trying to flee Afghanistan. She talks about the uncertain future women face under the Taliban and the moral responsibility the U.S. has to accept refugees from the war we’ve waged for 20 years.
Since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan, more than 800,000 Americans served in the war. James LaPorta is a former Marine who first arrived in Afghanistan in 2009. He describes the fighting, fear, and uncertainty he faced during two tours of duty and how after coming home, he has “the burden of memory.” He notes war doesn’t end with the signing of a treaty or the last day of combat, as everyone affected by the violence is still dealing with its aftermath.
Reveal producer Najib Aminy watched the fall of Kabul on TV, sitting next to his parents, who left Afghanistan for New York in the 1970s. Najib talks with one of Afghanistan’s most treasured poets, Abdul Bari Jahani, who wrote the country’s national anthem. Jahani says the anthem carries a message of unity and justice for the Afghan people.