December 12, 2003

Teenage Embed, Part Two

In early 2003, we brought you a special show about a California teenager, Hyder Akbar, who traveled to Afghanistan, his family's homeland, for the first time. His father had moved back to work for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Hyder brought along a tape recorder, and his audio diary, produced by Susan Burton, won the Silver Award for Best Documentary at the 2003 Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Courtesy Hyder Akbar

This summer, Hyder returned to Afghanistan, to the rural province of Kunar, where his family is from and where his father is now governor. In this new audio diary, Hyder has amazing access to all sorts of things few reporters get to see: U.S. forces interrogating a suspected terrorist, soldiers trying to mediate between the new Afghan government and local people, and more. His recordings were produced for radio by Susan Burton, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


When Hyder was 17, he went to Afghanistan. This place that he'd been hearing about his whole life. And he took a tape recorder with him. Then the next summer he went back.
Act One

Part One

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. Hyder visits a massacre site. He then finds himself pressed into service as a translator between American soldiers, local Afghans, and a former communist who's once again running things. (25 minutes)
Act Two

Part Two

Hyder's story continues. He and his convoy of American soldiers run into trouble on their way back home. Hyder is asked to mediate between U.S. interrogators and a suspected terrorist, with confusing results. Hyder travels to the home of his Uncle Rauf.