Searching for Hope in Afghanistan : Blog Of The Nation Four years ago he left a group of orphans behind, now J. Malcolm Garcia's returned to Afghanistan to find his boys, and despair.
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Searching for Hope in Afghanistan

Searching for Hope in Afghanistan

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Afghan children play on the ice after a day of work. Source: AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Source: AFP/Getty Images

The tone of news stories coming out of Afghanistan changed in the last year or so. 2007 was the country's most violent year since 2001, when the U.S. overthrew the Taliban. Over the weekend an American woman was kidnapped in Kandahar. And we hear more reports of infighting among the NATO allies who are ultimately responsible for securing Afghanistan. J. Malcolm Garcia reported from Afghanistan in 2002, and detailed what he saw in the Virginia Quarterly Review. Recently, he returned, and went looking for six war orphans he met on his first trip:

I left Kabul in October 2004, when Hamid Karzai became Afghanistan's first democratically elected president, when what most of us hoped would be a successful democratic regime was launched in the wake of the Taliban's defeat. As a journalist, I had turned my attention to Iraq, the next immediate disaster and career-making opportunity. Afghanistan, I reasoned, could do without me. There would be much less violence, much less poverty, and my boys, I thought, could do without me, too. Judging by the state of things today, I was wrong. This spring I watched an evening report on CNN about the inroads the Taliban had made around Kabul, and I decided to come back, to see if my optimism had been misplaced. Mostly, I felt guilty. I needed to find those boys.

We'll talk with Garcia about what he found, and his reaction to Afghanistan now, four years after he left... and talk about why several NATO countries are questioning their troop deployments in Afghanistan.

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