Episode #2 Transcript — A Knock at the Door: The Taliban’s Revenge

Project Brazen (00:00):
B-R-A-Z-E-N.

Nelufar Hedayat (00:06):
Please note, this episode contains references to war and violence. Please take care whilst listening.

Newsreel (00:14):
Major breaking news tonight, the fall of Kabul as the Taliban completes its takeover of Afghanistan. Armed fighters-

Newsreel (00:21):
I mean, we have just heard a nonstop stream of choppers all morning, going back and forth from the embassy to the airport. We also saw in-

Newsreel (00:28):
The presidential palace was officially handed over to the Taliban, just remarkable images coming in all day long of this transfer…

Nelufar Hedayat (00:41):
As Kabul fell, Abdul and his wife and their four children peered out from the balcony of their safe house, trying to figure out what was happening down below.

Abdul (00:50):
People start running and moving towards their homes from the markets. So, nobody knew exactly what is going on and what will happen.

Nelufar Hedayat (01:02):
Outside, bands of Taliban fighters patrolled the streets. They carried Kalashnikovs and US made M16 rifles abandoned by the Afghan Army. They packed into American Humvees and the green trucks that had been used by the Afghan police, and they set up checkpoints all over the capital. Around the city, residents paced in their homes, worried, watching, waiting. Should they stay? Should they leave? Where would they go? How would they get there?

Nelufar Hedayat (01:40):
Abdul had already been thinking about this for several months. He’d worked as an interpreter for the CIA in his home city of Kandahar. He had received threats from the Taliban in the past. He was in the process of applying for a special immigrant visa to move his family to the United States. It was a program for Afghans who’d worked with US Forces. But he wondered if it was already too late. The safe house was in the office of an internet provider with an apartment for guests on the third floor. Abdul’s friend owned the company, and the place had everything the family needed, a kitchen where his wife could cook, wifi connection to follow the news, even a courtyard where they could get some air. It was also located near the US embassy, in an area full of Afghan government buildings, prime territory for the Taliban to reclaim. Abdul left the flat only to buy groceries and to get a sense of what it was like on the streets. His children kept watch as Taliban vehicles rumbled by the house.

Abdul (02:45):
My childs, sometimes they were coming out to the balcony and they were watching, and then they were very much scared and nervous, especially the youngest two. Look at their faces, no uniforms and they are scary. It was the first time they were seeing them in Kabul streets. My elder son, who is now 18 years old, 5 to 6 times a day, he was just telling me, “Dad, you need to do something. Just contact your American boss, if he can help us in getting out of here that won’t [inaudible 00:03:17] the Talibans at all, doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. My eldest daughter, who is 22 now, she was very much, kind of like in deep thoughts about her future, that if in case we doesn’t get a way to go out of Afghanistan to America or anywhere else, what will happen to my education?

Nelufar Hedayat (03:38):
His younger daughter was 12, his younger son was just 10. Abdul did his best to reassure them.

Abdul (03:46):
I was just telling my kids, “Don’t worry. Don’t panic. And I’m here.”

Nelufar Hedayat (03:55):
Meanwhile, his wife tried to reassure him.

Abdul (03:58):
She was trying to prepare some meal for us three times and making phone calls with her parents, what’s going on there, what’s going on here, what happened. She was also giving me some moral support saying, “Okay, don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith, and God is with us.”

Nelufar Hedayat (04:18):
One night, not long after the fall of Kabul, Abdul and his family were trying to sleep when the building watchman woke them, in the middle of the night. The Taliban were downstairs. Abdul gathered his wife and children, he tried to keep his voice from shaking.

Abdul (04:34):
And so, I told my family, “You don’t be panicked. Just stay over here, let me go and talk to someone.”

Nelufar Hedayat (04:40):
He followed the guard down three floors. In the doorway, four men with beards and turbans stared at him intently. They looked around 35 or 40 years old, and were dressed in traditional Afghan clothes, their rifles resting on the ground next to them.

Abdul (04:55):
The long shirts, [inaudible 00:04:57] pretty much fucking scary faces. And so, they says, “Who are you?”

Nelufar Hedayat (05:04):
On the outside, Abdul seemed cool and collected. He didn’t have any documents that could tie him to the Americans, only photos of letters taken on his phone, and he’d given that to his wife. He knew the Taliban wouldn’t search a woman, but his worst fear flashed through his mind. They could arrest him and separate him from his family.

Abdul (05:24):
But I was scared. My heart beats very fast, my mouth’s dry.

Nelufar Hedayat (05:30):
So he thought quickly and came up with a lie.

Abdul (05:34):
Says, “Well, I am a guest from Kandahar. This is my friend’s office and house. So I’m here just for the medical treatment of my wife. She’s not feeling well.” That was the only thing I could say.

Nelufar Hedayat (05:47):
Abdul held his breath as the Taliban fighters considered his answer. They thought the house might be a government building. Maybe the cell tower on the roof had raised their suspicions plus the fact that it wasn’t far from the embassy. The night before, they’d already tried to get in and broken a surveillance camera.

Abdul (06:05):
So then, they says, “We need to search.” I says, “Okay, well, there is my family upstairs. Okay if you want to meet or see them, you can do it. I mean, I’m not lying to you.”

Nelufar Hedayat (06:17):
He thought about his wife and children huddled upstairs. Had he already seen them for the last time?

Abdul (06:24):
So then, they says, “Okay, we will come by tomorrow again.”

Nelufar Hedayat (06:33):
From Project Brazen and PRX, this is Kabul Falling. I’m your host Nelufar Hedayat. This is episode two, A Knock at the Door.

Nelufar Hedayat (06:55):
The men left Abdul and his family alone, and they didn’t return the next day. He couldn’t explain why, but perhaps the Taliban were just too disorganized to come back. Even they were surprised at how quickly they’d taken Kabul. Fighters had rushed into the capital from nearby fronts to control the city. Some tried to maintain order, others sprayed gunfire in the air or lashed out at pedestrians. They simply couldn’t keep track of everywhere they wanted to search or everyone who might be a suspect. Afghans like Abdul, who’d worked with the Americans, feared retribution. But the Taliban also wanted revenge against those who’d served in the Afghan government, especially those who held progressive views.

Muhammad Javed Khan (07:39):
I used to do so much work for my people, for women’s rights, for children, for the education system [inaudible 00:07:47]…

Nelufar Hedayat (07:46):
That’s Muhammad Javed Khan. In the Paktia province, which borders Pakistan, Javed’s brother was a member of the Afghan parliament and Javed worked as his aid. He was sure the Taliban would target them for it. They saw the Afghan government as illegitimate, propped up by foreign invaders. So, after the fighters took control of their province, Javed and his brother stayed home for several days, hiding. Their mother kept watch around the clock.

Muhammad Javed Khan (08:15):
My mother was awake all night, because she didn’t want to lose her son. She was just like a soldier was, checking each and every door or window.

Nelufar Hedayat (08:26):
But before long, a large group of Taliban fighters turned up at Javed’s house. They surrounded the place, there were too many for him to count.

Muhammad Javed Khan (08:35):
Taliban came in, they checked each and every room and [inaudible 00:08:39] everything.

Nelufar Hedayat (08:39):
When they found Javed, there was no discussion, no chance to defend himself. They seized him and led him away. Back in Kabul, on the night of August 15th, a young man named Tariq was exhausted, his feet shredded and aching

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:09:04]

Nelufar Hedayat (09:03):
A young man named Tariq was exhausted, his feet shredded and aching. That day he’d gone into the center of the city to check on his visa application. He’d worked as a contractor on many American projects and had applied for a special immigrant visa or SIV. It was the same program Abdul had applied to designed for Afghans who’d worked for the Americans. Their cases were supposed to be a high priority, but in reality the process could drag on for a long time, sometimes years, longer than Tariq could afford to wait. Like Abdul, he’d gotten threatening letters from the Taliban. So plan B was to move his family to Turkey until the US visas came through. When he left the visa agency, word had already ripped through the neighborhood. The Taliban had taken over.

Tariq (09:50):
When I came out from there it was like complete chaos. The city was fallen, everybody was running. It was a scary moment. You could see the fear on people’s face.

Nelufar Hedayat (10:00):
His phone rang. It was the kindergarten where his four year old, Sultan, went to school.

Tariq (10:06):
They asked me like, “You could come and pick your son,” so I was on one side of the city and he was completely on different side.

Nelufar Hedayat (10:14):
The kindergarten was five or six miles away, and the roads were mobbed with traffic. Lines of cars sneaked around the capital full of people desperate to leave. He tried to flag down a taxi, but none would stop, so Tariq began walking, clutching his family’s visa materials tightly in a plastic file. He made his way through the crowds as quickly as he could. His phone kept ringing.

Tariq (10:43):
The kindergarten keep calling, “Everybody has left. You have to come and get him.”

Nelufar Hedayat (10:43):
Tariq’s mind raced with worry about his son. How was Sultan doing all alone? Did he think his father had forgotten him? He walked for hours through heat and havoc and swirling dust. The school was located near a famous hospital on Kabul’s Darulaman Road. The shortest route would take him over a steep pass running through the city. He wasn’t dressed for a hike. That day, he wore a pair of sandals with a strap around the back. As he hurried uphill the leather cut into his feet, grit coated his toes, and still there were miles to go. He passed through the [inaudible 00:11:20] district, a fashionable neighborhood full of shops and cafes. Cars sped off in every direction.

Nelufar Hedayat (11:26):
The traffic cops had left their posts and drivers blasted their horns incessantly. People were running down the streets. Restaurant owners were frantically closing up shop. He glanced over at two popular spots, [inaudible 00:11:42]. Usually they were bustling with patrons. [inaudible 00:11:45] owners had locked the doors. [inaudible 00:11:47] normally had a lush display of fruits out front, but workers were moving the baskets inside as quickly as they could. Tariq figured they were worried about looting. He trudged on through the city’s dusty streets, picturing his little boy sitting all alone, waiting for him.

Tariq (12:05):
Yeah, the only thing I was worried was like if my son feels so lonely there, like if the teachers has left and everybody has left, he’s going to be scared.

Nelufar Hedayat (12:16):
Tariq looked down at his feet. They were covered in blisters and nearly black.

Tariq (12:21):
I was wearing those sandals and I hate those sandals now. I usually wear sneakers, but that day I don’t know why I was wearing it.

Nelufar Hedayat (12:33):
The day after Kabul fell, Ogai, a young journalist you met in the last episode, left her parents’ house and went to hide out at her colleague’s apartment. On the streets Taliban flags fluttered from US military vehicles. Fighters stood guard around piles of looted equipment and posed for TV cameras. Ogai was careful not to go near any windows or doors in case the Taliban caught a glimpse of her.

Ogai (12:59):
There was a high risk for me and for my colleagues. Our boss, like the chief of ZAN TV called us that, “We are trying to get out of all of you to some countries, but we don’t know where. Just be careful.”

Nelufar Hedayat (13:15):
ZAN TV had highlighted women’s achievements across Afghanistan and they’d become international media darlings themselves.

Newsreel (13:23):
A new television station in Afghanistan is turning the focus on women. At ZAN TV, ‘Women’s TV’. They are on camera, in the guest chair, and in the control room.

Nelufar Hedayat (13:35):
Ogai had covered hard hitting stories. In this clip she’s reporting on the Afghan women’s national soccer team and their allegations of sexual abuse by coaches and officials.

Ogai (13:50):
[foreign language 00:13:50].

Nelufar Hedayat (13:53):
Ogai was active in sports herself. She started a cricket team for girls when she was just 14 years old. All of this made her a target for the Taliban.

Ogai (14:02):
They starting searching the woman’s, specially activist woman’s, they start the searching house by house.

Nelufar Hedayat (14:10):
Ogai was only 20, so she had no memories of life under the Taliban. But her boss, Hamid, remembered the ruthless, oppressive group that had ruled during the 90s. And while he believed they were still against democracy and human rights, he noticed that in some ways they were different.

Hamid (14:29):
They are coming with a different kind of faces, but if you just compare the Taliban with 1995 and now they change it. The only changing that you can see that before they don’t care about the living or life. But now they love to just participate in some international conferences. They love to try to have a connection with international countries.

Nelufar Hedayat (14:53):
The new Taliban wanted recognition from the international community. They wanted legitimacy to govern the Afghan people. But my mother took me and my sister out of Afghanistan in the mid 90s because of the inhumane way that they treated women. She was scared for our lives, so we fled. This new Taliban, would they change their actions towards women? Ogai did not want to be around to find out. ZAN TV was trying to arrange safe passage out of the country for its employees, but hadn’t come up with anything concrete yet.

Ogai (15:27):
Unfortunately some of our colleagues, they lost their hopes and they said that, “We will not go. Maybe we will face with some problems.”

Nelufar Hedayat (15:39):
But Ogai wasn’t ready to give up. For the next few days she remained in hiding, staying with coworkers, waiting for more details on her way out. On Darulaman Road, Tariq had finally made it to his son’s kindergarten after walking across the city for four hours. By then Sultan was the only child left in the classroom. He’d been watching cartoons alone. All the teachers were gone, just a guard and an administrative worker remained. When the little boy spotted his dad, his face lit up and he ran to his father for a hug. Tariq felt a wash of relief. His kid was safe. He scooped him up, kissed him, and held him close. Sultan asked why he was the last to be picked up, and why had Tariq come to collect him in the first place? The school had its own transport, and usually their driver brought him home at the end of the day.

Tariq (16:44):
I told him, “I missed you. That’s why I came here.” He didn’t know the Taliban has came. My feets were so dirty because of the dust. Maybe he had felt like, “My dad is looking weird.”

Nelufar Hedayat (16:59):
Tariq wanted to set his son at ease before they headed out into the unknown. He spotted some toys scattered around the classroom.

Tariq (17:08):
There were lots of toys. Just before we leave, I played with him. There was a football. I played with him literally inside that kindergarten. That cheered him a little bit, and then we left that place.

Nelufar Hedayat (17:22):
It was around 2:30 in the afternoon. Tariq carried his son in his arms, and Sultan clung to him tightly. Tariq’s sense of relief gave way to anxiety. How was he going to get them home? He was exhausted, and Sultan was too small to walk. The blazing sun wasn’t helping either. They passed an ice cream stand and Tariq’s son asked for a treat, mint chocolate. The boy ate it as his father searched for a taxi.

Tariq (17:50):
He was living in his own world, so nothing was [inaudible 00:17:54].

Nelufar Hedayat (17:55):
By this time, the panic in the streets had died down, and the traffic had eased. They found a car, though the driver charged four times the usual fair. By the-

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:18:04]

Nelufar Hedayat (18:04):
… car, though the driver charged four times the usual fare. By the time they reached the other side of Kabul, it seemed as if most people had already fled.

Tariq (18:09):
The city was completely empty. There weren’t anybody at all.

Nelufar Hedayat (18:13):
When they got home, Talib’s wife threw her arms around him, overjoyed, then asked him to go take a bath. His feet were battered, dusty and dirty, except for the skin beneath the sandal straps.

Tariq (18:26):
So like two different colors of my feet. Even the clothes were dirty too. My hair was full of dust.

Nelufar Hedayat (18:33):
He and his wife and son were together and they were safe, but a much bigger journey lay ahead of them.

Nelufar Hedayat (18:51):
Ogai was still in hiding, trying to keep her despair at bay. Suddenly a lifeline appeared. Two years earlier she’d been filmed for a documentary by an organization called Reporters Without Borders. The filmmakers contacted her from Europe with an offer to help.

Ogai (19:08):
They called us that this documentary will make a high risk for you. Then I said, “Okay, so what shall I do?”

Nelufar Hedayat (19:17):
They quickly put together a plan. She would go to a hotel near the airport and hide there until her flight was arranged. Ogai moved with a purpose she hadn’t felt in days. There was no time to pack. She had to be there in an hour and she could only bring one small bag. She grabbed her documents and a long black coat her mother had sewn by hand, decorated with silver coins. As her fingers brushed the fabric, she realized she had no idea when she would see her parents again. It was time to go. Her brother insisted on taking her to the hotel, and together they flagged down a taxi.

Nelufar Hedayat (19:59):
Abdul, the interpreter, remained in hiding with his family. He’d turned the Taliban away with a lie about his wife being sick, but he worried that they’d come back. His friend and former CIA colleague, Phil, who is now living in Dallas, Texas, told him to sit tight whilst he looked for a way to escape.

Abdul (20:18):
We were in contact with Phil all the time. And Phil says that, “I will try to help you out in the evacuation process.” So we stayed there.

Nelufar Hedayat (20:33):
Hours turned into days. The days turned into a week and then more. With Phil’s help, Abdul had applied for a US visa before the Taliban took over. But with the US Embassy shut down and the country in chaos, the already slow-moving process had come to a standstill. Abdul had to keep putting on a brave face for his four kids, but the stress was written all over his body. He could barely sleep. He was too nervous to eat. He’d always been a chain-smoker, but now he was going through 30 cigarettes a day and six or seven cans of an energy drink called Alokozay. One evening he received extremely worrying news. In Spin Boldak, a border town with Pakistan, south of Kandahar, the Taliban had raided people’s homes and killed several villagers. He and Phil have carried out many of their missions there.

Abdul (21:26):
They have pulled out people from their homes, and they have killed many peoples over there, so that caused more fear in our hearts, in our minds.

Nelufar Hedayat (21:38):
Phil tried his best to keep up his friend’s spirits.

Phil (21:42):
We’re sitting here in our comfortable homes with our comfortable lives, but for these Afghans who we were on the phone with nonstop, it was sheer terror. Panic, concern, fear, dread, all of those things you can imagine. And there was thousands and thousands of Afghans in the same situation.

Nelufar Hedayat (22:05):
From his home in Dallas, Phil coordinated with a network of dozens of volunteers that had sprung up since the fall of Kabul. They were current and former CIA, military, contractors, and NGO workers, all trying to get their Afghan friends and colleagues out.

Phil (22:21):
We were constantly on the phone, all day, all night, texting, back and forth, sharing maps, sharing information about what gate was open, where there was a threat. At the end of the day, it all came down to knowing a guy on the ground.

Nelufar Hedayat (22:38):
That is, knowing someone at the Kabul Airport, where thousands of Afghans were gathering, hoping to get a flight out.

Phil (22:46):
The system totally broke down. It’s not like there was any central database of all the good guys that we need to rescue. It became kind of a freelance operation out there. If you could get in touch with someone you trusted, I think they had carte blanche and a way to go out and grab people, as they could take a break from their work managing passenger manifests or directing traffic or whatever they were doing.

Nelufar Hedayat (23:13):
Phil didn’t know anyone at the airport. He kept working his contacts, but the clock was ticking.

Abdul (23:19):
The time is running fast and we are running out of time because the 31st of August is the last day of the evacuation.

Nelufar Hedayat (23:27):
The US had negotiated that date with the Taliban, and it was a hard deadline. So on the 25th, Abdul told his wife and kids to start packing. Then the family, along with Abdul’s cousin and his wife and children, headed to the airport.

Nelufar Hedayat (23:51):
Ogai had to get to the airport too, but first she had to make it to the hotel where Reporters Without Borders had told her to wait. Peering out the window of the taxi with her brother, Ogai could see the streets were quiet. But there were Taliban checkpoints everywhere, and they were questioning every car that passed. A Taliban fighter waved them down and leaned into the taxi. His long hair and beard did nothing to hide the menace on his face. Ogai looked at the gun dangling by his side.

Ogai (24:23):
I thought that there is no more life, Ogai, for you. They will kill you.

Nelufar Hedayat (24:29):
The men ignored Ogai, talking only to her brother. The fighters asked where they were going. “I’m taking my sister to the hospital,” her brother answered immediately. Ogai held her breath, praying that the Taliban would buy his lie and let them go without a search. Inside her backpack there was a press card identifying her as a journalist for ZAN TV. After trekking all day to reunite with his son, Tariq was still at home in Kabul. He’d seen mad scenes on TV showing thousands of people at the airport, frantically running to get in.

Tariq (25:15):
The chaos that was in airport, more than 2000 or 3000 people were inside the airport, and people falling from the airport. So I knew the first few days were really hectic, and that’s why I didn’t attempt it, to go to airport at all.

Nelufar Hedayat (25:30):
He knew his family had no chance of making it through until he got an email from the US Embassy.

Tariq (25:36):
They had sent a visa, like gate bust, something like that, with a barcode on it. And then the body of email was like, “You’ll be evacuated through the Abbey Gate inside the airport.”

Nelufar Hedayat (25:49):
The American embassy was telling them to go to Abbey Gate, one of the airport’s main entrances. To Tariq, it seemed like a sign that the US finally had the situation under control.

Tariq (26:00):
So when I received the email, I thought things will be much better. Now, there won’t be any problems.

Nelufar Hedayat (26:06):
He and his wife packed a few bags, got into a taxi with Sultan and his baby brother, and took off. An eerie calm had set in over the streets. No music, no one milling around the restaurants and cafes. He could see the signs of the Taliban asserting control over daily life, patrolling the city. They wore gray and green traditional Afghan clothes and long beards. They crammed into police cars, eight men stuffed into one vehicle. They broke into a politician’s house near where Tariq lived and made a base there. It was right across from the store where he usually shopped. Tariq saw a wildness in them, a barbarian-like quality, even.

Tariq (26:50):
When I saw them, they looked wild to me, just like when we see some of those ancient movies that some of barbarian attacks and those things.

Nelufar Hedayat (26:57):
He had reason to fear them. Over the years, he had received multiple threatening letters from the Taliban for working on American-

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [00:27:04]

Nelufar Hedayat (27:03):
… as he had received multiple threatening letters from the Taliban for working on American contracts. His father was also a high-ranking government official, and his wife had won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, where their son was born. The Taliban had infiltrated their home village in the northern province of Baghlan, and Tariq believed they were tracking his family’s movements.

Tariq (27:22):
They have specifically mentioned their names and their whereabouts and, “You didn’t respect our warning, and we know what you are doing, and you didn’t listen to us, and we will come after you.”

Nelufar Hedayat (27:35):
The taxi pulled to a stop about two or three hundred meters from the entrance to the airport. It seemed to Tariq that the Taliban had fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. He made his way to the front and approached the Taliban.

Tariq (27:48):
I was able to get to the front. I told them about the barcode and the application and everything. The invitation to enter the Abbey Gate. And the line that I stand was maybe around 100 people, but maybe more than 600, 700 people just standing on the other side of the street, not trying to go into or trying to push. It was crowded, but not that crowded.

Nelufar Hedayat (28:12):
But as Tariq got closer to Abbey Gate, he was surprised to see that people were running away from the checkpoint.

Tariq (28:19):
People were coming back. I didn’t know what happened there, so I easily approached the front line on the first attempt. And I start talking with the Taliban and showed them my son’s a US citizen and I have special immigration visa, so please let us pass this checkpoint. And they were like, “No, we stay here. The gate is closed. We will not let you in.”

Nelufar Hedayat (28:43):
Tariq learned that only minutes before he arrived, the Taliban had shot someone in line. An ambulance took the injured person away. That’s why he’d seen people running off, though there was still a crowd around the checkpoint.

Tariq (28:56):
And I stood there for half an hour, like this, trying to persuade them to allow me to pass the checkpoint.

Nelufar Hedayat (29:05):
Soon, others were returning to the gate as well. A woman stepped into line next to him. She told the guard she’d received the same email from the US Embassy that Tariq had. She held up her phone to show him.

Tariq (29:17):
And then the Taliban guy was like, “Oh, you should be ashamed why you are carrying the smartphone with yourself, why you were having the Galaxy smartphone.”

Nelufar Hedayat (29:27):
Tariq was shocked. Then he had to stop himself from laughing. The whole exchange seemed absurd. His attempts to pass the checkpoint were going nowhere. Tariq and his family returned to the taxi. He told the driver to keep going. Maybe they would have better luck at the airport’s North Gate, but it turned out he wasn’t the only one with that idea. There were hundreds of people, maybe more. The Taliban guards fired their guns into the air, trying to disperse them, yet more crammed in. Tariq could see people running away from the checkpoint. Word buzzed through the crowd. The Taliban had shot another person. Getting into the airport seemed impossible. The Americans were not in charge. No one was.

Tariq (30:15):
I saw the environment, and I couldn’t believe that I would be able to get in there. With having two babies and my wife, I completely gave up this day.

Nelufar Hedayat (30:28):
Tariq and his family headed home exhausted. Later that day, he checked his emails again. He was surprised to find a message from an old colleague, an ex-Marine named Jake Cusack. “If you need assistance,” the email read, “we will try to get you out.”

Nelufar Hedayat (30:49):
In our next episode of Kabul Falling…

Ogai (30:52):
Outside of the airport, there was lots of rush of people, children, women, and just Taliban firing and Taliban, oh my God, beat them. And they cried, and they said, “We want to go. We want to go.”

Abdul (31:07):
Everybody was having some sort of papers in their hands, true or false. God knows.

Fatima Faizi (31:13):
I see people climbing the walls who have guns. AK47. And that’s the time that I was cursing everybody on the phone, begging them to do something. Whosever contact that I had from American side, foreigners, I called them.

Nelufar Hedayat (31:32):
We want to hear from you. Please get in touch via our website, kabulfalling.com, where you can send a voice message or tweet using #kabulfalling. We’ll share some of the best responses during the course of the show. Also, to support the women of Kandahar Treasure, you can buy one of their hand-embroidered scarves on our website. 100% of the proceeds will go to this women-owned collective in Afghanistan.

Nelufar Hedayat (31:58):
Kabul Falling is a production of Project Brazen in partnership with PRX. It’s hosted by me, Nelufar Hedayat. Bradley Hope and Tom Wright, are executive producers. Sandy Smallens is the executive producer for Audiation. Our managing producer is Lucy Woods and Ireland Meacham is the producer. Susie Armitage is our co-producer and story editor. And Siddhartha Mahanta is our consulting producer. Our associate producers are Dan Xin Huang, Fatima Faizi, Francesca Gilardi-Quadrio-Curzio, and Neha Wadekar. Additional reporting was done by Nigel Walker. Our translators are Hasan Azimi and Muhibullah Shadan. Arson Fahim composed the original theme music. Sound design, musical scoring, and mixing by Brad Stratton. Cover design by Ryan Ho and Jane Zisman. Embroidery by Women of Kandahar Treasure. Additional audio and video by Nicholas Brennan, Megan Dean, and KK, with special thanks to Clayton Swisher. For more information on the people featured in this podcast and additional interviews, visit kabulfalling.com.

Speaker 8 (33:08):
Audiation.

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [00:33:23]