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Prologue

We hear a phone call from this week between Kirk Johnson in California, and Ajmal, a man standing in a canal outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Act Two: Streetwise

Most big grand transformations we go through really come down to a hundred little things that we change about ourselves. This recently happened for a refugee from Afghanistan, now living in Detroit.

Act Two: In Country, In City

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.

Act One: Kabul Kabul Kabul Kabul Chameleon

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.

Act One: A Good Year For Grand Gestures

Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan. They'd hada whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver wasin love, but didn't have enough money to propose to the girl, they made agrand romantic gesture: They gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and thewedding.

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.

Act Two: Part Two

Hyder's story continues. He and his convoy of American soldiers run into trouble on their way back home.

Prologue

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.

Act One: Teenage Embed, Part One

It's possible that the very first teenager to heed his invitation was Hyder Akbar, 17, from Concord, California. In the summer of 2002, he travelled with his father to live in their home country.

Act One: Adventures In Turning The Other Cheek

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.