Lyse Doucet talks to Afghans and others about their fears and hopes for Afghanistan’s future. Afghans have a word for it: kashke, which means "if only".
7. The doctor
Living with the Taliban - the female doctor who celebrated the Taliban takeover in Kabul. Gynaecologist, ex MP, former refugee, Dr Roshanak Wardak welcomes the end of years of war which she says the Taliban's return to power has brought. War is the worst thing, she tells Lyse Doucet. But there is one important issue where she says the Taliban can’t be trusted – their assurances over the education of girls. She warns that uneducated women have uneducated children and Afghanistan will have no future without education for everyone.
6. The journalist
Holding the Taliban to account - Afghanistan’s top TV journalist was offered an interview with Taliban leaders within hours of them taking Kabul. But the editor of Afghanistan’s most popular private TV network, TOLO News, was already out of the country. Aged 33, Lotfullah Najfizada now hopes to return to carry on his work as the most successful interviewer and journalist of his generation.
A vibrant media is one of the great successes of the 20 years since the Taliban were last in power. But Lotfullah Najafizada tells Lyse Doucet the challenge now will be to maintain media freedoms and independence under Afghanistan’s new government.
5. The advocate
Forced to flee the Taliban - human rights advocate, former government advisor, feminist, Shaharzad Akbar, who knows the transformative power of education, now a refugee again. Shaharzad Akbar was the first Afghan woman to do post graduate studies at Oxford University in Britain, a student of Smith College in the US, a schoolgirl whose studies were stopped the last time the Taliban were in power, forcing her family to leave Afghanistan when she was a teeanger. Now she's had to leave again, abandoning the life she'd built in Kabul. But Shaharzad Akbar tells Lyse Doucet she won’t give up pushing for what she believes in.
4. The negotiator
The woman face to face with the Taliban - peacemaker, women’s rights advocate and negotiator, Fatima Gailani is the nearest Afghanistan has to aristocracy. Now in her late 60s, she was the female face of Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, the Mujahideen. She returned to Afghanistan after 24 years in exile following the US-led invasion of 2001. And in 2020 she became one of four female peace negotiators to sit down with the Taliban. She tells Lyse Doucet, talking is the only way and she and all Afghans deserve peace.
3. The president
Networker, survivor - Afghanistan's former leader Hamid Karzai, famous for his traditional cloak and sheepskin hat, is back in the news. While others fled Kabul in mid-August when the Taliban swept in, Karzai stayed. He sat with them to help negotiate the transfer of power. In power for 13 of the past 20 years, the former president tells Lyse Doucet he's proud of what Afghanistan achieved and says neither he nor the US were able to stem the resurgence of the Taliban.
Series music composed by Arson Fahim
2. The Talib
Founding member, ambassador, prisoner – in the Taliban’s inner circle at the very start. Abdul Salam Zaeef rose to prominence in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan until Western forces overthrew it following 9/11. Handed over to the Americans, Mullah Zaeef spent three years as a prisoner in the US detention centre, Guantanamo Bay. He no longer holds an official post in the Taliban, but he despises the democracy that has been built in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. He tells Lyse Doucet that Afghanistan needs a proper Islamic government.
Series music composed by Arson Fahim
What hate from the west
I am utterly disgusted with USA for the hate they fuelled the devastation they walked away from the millions who died and why ? When did the vile violence become disproportionate and nothing other than psychotic rage?!!!
Do you believe that this level of murder would not have left mental scars so deep into new generations?
My heart aches as all I see is blood you walk away leaving carnage thinking it’s over but is it? Let history remember what legacy has been left behind. One of a west who has blood on their hands world watches on wondering what next ?
This series is utterly compelling. I learned so much. Brilliant journalism and extraordinary interviews.
Interesting overview and heartbreaking