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One day back from my trip to Afghanistan, and I first want to thank so many of you who sent wonderful messages, encouragement, and suggestions. Being in a dark room in Kabul while being able to post on Facebook and Twitter truly speaks to the connected universe.
The final day in Kabul: We were on our way to the peace and reconciliation committee when our “fixer” (that is the official name of the person who translates and helps arrange interviews, accommodations, and security) let me know that there would be 20 or so members of the Taliban turning in their weapons that day! I almost jumped out of my seat, which is relatively simple because virtually none of the roads are paved and so the bumps are big and continuous.
When we arrived, sitting in the courtyard were 20 or more men, their weapons lined up against the wall. I conducted an abbreviated interview with the head of the committee, then raced with cameramen to begin talking and interviewing the Taliban. Within a few minutes I was engaged in interviewing, talking, and asking the various Taliban how long they had been fighting (from 2-30 years), why they fought, what they wanted to say to the United States, and what they wanted in general (jobs and to take care of their families).
As we raced to the airport after the interviews, I emailed our Producer Jason Zaro to find a translator who could work this weekend so we could get the interviews translated and begin editing Monday.
At the airport in Kabul I met Nazir, who had found me through Facebook/Twitter. He had film of the refugee camps that he wanted me to have. Sitting in the general waiting area, surrounded by many Afghans waiting for flights, Nazir popped a DVD of his footage into my computer, and proceeded to show me deeply dramatic faces of “collateral damage”: children, tents, hunger, deprivation.
With both the video of the Taliban interviews and the DVD of the refugee camp, I boarded my plane back to the States. I will be posting clips as we edit and get them translated in the coming days. You will be able to see them on Facebook, Brave New Films, the Rethink Afghanistan website.