No one has watched events on the ground in Afghanistan more closely than the American Sarah Chayes who was born in Washington D.C. She has lived in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, near the southern border with Pakistan, since the weeks following 9/11. Back then, she was an NPR reporter covering the Taliban. But she soon left an award-winning career in journalism to live and work as a private citizen in Afghanistan. For almost seven years she has been helping to rebuild that country’s civil society.
FRONTLINE WORLD followed Chayes as she negotiated with Afghan bureaucrats and warlords to literally rebuild a village. Chayes later organized the Arghand Cooperative to offer Afghans an alternative to working in the poppy trade. Composed of men and women, her coop produces skin-care products from local herbs and botanicals in the region around Khandahar, where she lives. Along the way, Chayes wrote, THE PUNISHMENT OF VIRTUE, about the resurgence of the Taliban.