In October 2001 — just about 20 years ago — the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in response to the attacks of September 11. It’s been the longest war in the history of the United States. It’s been going on for so long, that this war that killed so many Afghan people and U.S. military personnel rarely made front page news anymore. But when Afghanistan did make the news, it was mostly a country defined by the ongoing military occupation and by violence.
But that’s not the full story — not even close. Afghanistan has a long, rich, complex history and culture. A lot of it flies in the face of what those of us in the U.S. are exposed to, or is in direct opposition to the stereotypes that we do see portrayed.
So this week, we’re sharing an episode from our play-cousins at Throughline. They spent some time unspooling the history of Afghanistan — its art, its culture, its people — and they used the stories that Afghans have told about themselves through the ages to do it.
By the way, if you listen to this episode and find yourself wanting more, you are in luck. The Throughline team is coming out with part two of the series — about the rise of the Taliban — later this week.