War Poems Revisited: Speaking Across the Divide in Afghanistan : Rough Translation As the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan, we look back at a time when Taliban poetry and a local cooking show became part of the war. And the U.S. had the perfect person to fight on that front.

War Poems Revisited

War Poems Revisited

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Tim Kirk

Tim and Felisa

Tim Kirk

When U.S. troops first arrived in Afghanistan, 20 years ago, they enjoyed broad support among ordinary Afghans. But over time, the view of the American military as a welcomed ally was successfully manipulated by the Taliban, who were able to tell a story of the Americans as an uncaring occupying force.

Now, as troops prepare to leave, we update you on the story of two people tasked with the job of trying to communicate in a way that Afghans would trust and believe.

First aired in 2018, reporter Quil Lawrence brings us this story about Taliban poetry, an Afghan cooking show, and the echoes of war.

It's the perfect prelude to a new series we have in the works, also with Quil Lawrence, called Home/Front. It's about overcoming a divide that many of us don't even realize is there: between civilians and veterans.

Send us an email at roughtranslation@npr.org.

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Correction May 21, 2021

A previous version of this episode incorrectly called a poem by the 13th century poet Saadi an Afghan poem. It is a Persian poem.