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Read, Watch, And Listen: Your Central Asia Study Guide

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Defiant Dreams
By Sola Mahfouz and Malaina Kapoor, 2023

Mahfouz and Kapoor shed light on the experiences of everyday Afghan girls and women through Sola Mahfouz’s incredible story. Born at the start of the Taliban’s first reign, she was unable to add or subtract at the age of 16. Through sheer will and grit, Sola educated herself and went on to become a quantum computer researcher in the United States.

Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernity Along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway
By Till Mostowlansky, 2017

Mostowlansky offers an in-depth, anthropological study of people’s lives along the Pamir Highway
in eastern Tajikistan, a road that profoundly changed the material and social fabric of a former Soviet outpost on the border with Afghanistan and China.

Postcards From Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia
By David H. Mould, 2016

Postcards From Stanland provides a glimpse of the people, landscapes, and customs of some of the diverse countries of Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—and paints a rich picture of this post-Soviet world.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai, with Christina Lamb, 2015

I Am Malala is the story of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who fought for her right to an education and was shot in the head by the Taliban while riding the bus home from school. Malala survived and became a symbol of peaceful protest and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, 2010

Kristof and WuDunn introduce readers to women and girls in the developing world who are struggling against oppression and then show how, with only a small amount of help, their lives are transformed and potential is unleashed.

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America and the Taliban, PBS Frontline
Martin Smith, 2023

Drawing on decades of on-the-ground reporting and interviews with Taliban and U.S. officials, this epic three-part investigation traces how America’s 20-year investment in Afghanistan culminated in a Taliban victory and examines the missteps and consequences.

Bread and Roses
Sahra Mani, 2023

This feature film captures the harrowing and heartbreaking experiences of Afghan women in Kabul after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival and
is not yet available for streaming.

SOLA: Daring to Educate Afghanistan’s Girls, CBS 60 Minutes
Lesley Stahl, 2023

This 60 Minutes piece follows a group of Afghan girls who fled their country after the Taliban regained power and settled in Kigali, Rwanda, where they are attending the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA) and getting the education they crave. Available for streaming on CBS.

Frame by Frame
Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, 2015

Frame by Frame chronicles the plight of four Afghan photojournalists as they work to build a free press after decades of war and oppression during the Taliban regime. Available on Apple TV.

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Kabul Falling
Project Brazen, in partnership with PRX, 2022

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban regained control of Kabul nearly 20 years after coalition forces had cast them out of power. In this riveting podcast, you’ll hear first-hand accounts from Afghans who attempted to flee their country in the final days of the U.S. withdrawal and learn of their struggles to rebuild their lives at home and abroad.

The New Afghanistan, Through the Eyes of Three Women
Christina Goldbaum, The Daily, New York Times, 2023

This episode of The Daily profiles three Afghan women who are coping with the Taliban’s return
to power and the new restrictions on women and girls.

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