For decades, the writer Alex Kotlowitz has been writing about the inner cities and the toll of violence on young people. So when he heard about a program at Drexel University where guys from the inner city get counseling for PTSD, he wondered if the effect of urban violence was comparable to the trauma that a person experiences from war.
Hyder Akbar was a teenager living with his family in the Bay Area when president Hamid Karzai asked Hyder's dad to return to Afghanistan and become an official in the new government. Hyder recorded audio diaries that became two episodes of our show, in 2002 and 2003, both produced by Susan Burton.
In 2008, reporter Chris Neary told the story of John, a soldier who returned from tours of Iraq and Afghanistan with severe PTSD, and ended up attacking his fiancee and her mother. Chris finds out how John is coping today.
Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan. They'd had a whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver was in love, but didn't have enough money to propose to the girl, they made a grand romantic gesture: They gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and the wedding.
Hyder notices changes in Kabul in the year since he visited Afghanistan. Then he heads to Kunar, near the Pakistan border, one of the remote regions where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and local warlords are still fighting the new Afghan government and the U.S. military.
In January 2002-- not long after the Taliban were driven from power in Afghanistan-- he came to the United States, partly to be on hand for the State of the Union address last year. And while he was here, he spoke with an audience that was mostly Afghan-Americans at Georgetown University.
An explanation of what Christians and Muslims talk about in a place you might not expect them to get along at all: Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Host Ira Glass talks with Georg Taubmann, a relief worker with the Christian missionary group Shelter Now, who built houses and did other good works in Afghanistan for seventeen years, until he was arrested by the Taliban in August.