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Listen to Throughline’s award-winning Peabody series on Afghanistan: NPR

Listen to Throughline’s award-winning Peabody series on Afghanistan: NPR

We are proud to announce that NPR Crossing line received a Peabody Award for its three-part series, Afghanistan: The Center of the World.

The series aired in 2021, twenty years after 9/11, and just weeks after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of the country. Many other outlets focused their coverage on this pivotal moment from the American perspective. Crossing line took a different approach, shifting the narrative to center Afghanistan and its people in this award-winning series.

Too often, Afghanistan’s story is told from the perspective of outsiders who tried to invade – and always failed – earning it the nickname “the graveyard of empires”. In Part 1, we travel back in time, long before the United States was even a nation, to understand the countless civilizations that have intersected in Afghanistan – weaving together languages, cultures, and visions of what it is. Afghanistan was and could be. Through poetry, music and radio broadcasts, we hear Afghanistan’s rich history through the voices of Afghans themselves.

The second part examines the origins of the Taliban. In this episode, we go beyond tropes to understand what traumatic historical and political forces led to the formation and rise of the Taliban. Through the poetry of Taliban fighters and Afghan women who had to live under their harsh regime, we complicate the story of a group that has been caricatured in the West. The series concludes with Drone Wars, a look at the evolution of the US military’s infamous weapon: the predatory drone. The drone was meant to be a symbol of the era of precision warfare – a way to wage wars with fewer casualties on both sides. But over the past two decades, Afghans have learned to live in fear of drone attacks, a constant threat that lurks in the skies. In this episode, we explore how Americans have become disconnected – emotionally and physically – from the human costs of the war in Afghanistan.

Who can frame the past? What stories matter? The series Afghanistan: the center of the world, illustrates how Crossing line challenges audiences to see the world from new perspectives, to examine not just what happened in the past, but why, connecting us as persevering people in an increasingly complicated chaotic world of human beings stuck in the present, between the past and the future.

Listen to the award-winning Peabody episodes here:


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