March 9, 2007
Brothers of Kabul

Brothers Reza and Hussein

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Five years after liberation, the promise of democracy in Afghanistan has given way to suicide bombings and the rule of drug lords. A resurgent Taliban has pressed to within a hundred miles of the capital. Half the girls stay home from the newly built schools because they fear for their lives. And freedom means mainly to the freedom to grow poppy. Lots of poppy.

Afghanistan now supplies 90 percent of the world's heroin. Inescapably the producer is also becoming a consumer. Wracked by poverty, traumatized by war, and home to millions of poor refugees lured back to a country unable to support them, an exploding drug epidemic is the newest plague on this ravaged landscape.

Reza and Hussein, brothers, are two of the 50,000 opium and heroin addicts who haunt the ruins in Kabul’s Old City. Ostracized by their religion, stigmatized by their society, and abandoned by their family, they live in a rubble cave behind a destroyed supermarket. They agreed to tell us their story and we, in turn, slowly became involved in their lives, finding them a cheap room, food, clothes, and then helping them get admitted to the country’s only public detox program.

Through the brothers, we aimed to give an honest street-level account of Afghanistan today. But in trying to help them get clean, we also received first-hand experience in the difficulties of reconstruction. In fact -- and this may be the biggest lesson Reza and Hussein have to offer -- addiction treatment is basically nation-building in miniature: Complex and messy and with little chance of success.

-- From Jacques Menasche and Steven DuPont

March 5, 2007
The Road to Terrorism

Police are hunting terrorist suspects

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For more than a decade, Islamic Jihadists have sought to establish a "New Afghanistan" in Asia. On the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, al Qaeda operatives -- Indonesia’s Jemaah Islamiyah -- and local group Abu Sayyaf have trained hundreds of terrorists … and killed hundreds of Filipinos.

Fighting the terrorists are people like Colonel Angelito Casimiro, an 18-year veteran who has been constantly on the frontline in this brutal and mostly unreported war. In 2006, I ventured down to the colonel’s theater of operations in the southern Philippines, and his intelligence team gave me unprecedented access. However, the terrorists had a far more hostile reception in mind.

Day two on the ground, and we are heading deep into a Muslim enclave on the outskirts of Zamboanga city. It is late at night and the colonel’s special operations group is carrying out a surveillance mission on a suspected terrorist. Somewhere out in the shadows a government informant is at work. But not for much longer. Minutes before we arrive at the "location," the Abu Sayyaf strikes and guns down the informant. As the crowd gathers around our vehicle it is only too apparent we are now the target, and the mission is aborted.

A few days later we set out on another mission, this time to the island of Sulu, an hour’s flight south of Zamboanga. This is the new terrorist heartland in the southern Philippines, and the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah operatives are waiting for us. Within 24 hours one of the most experienced counter-terrorist officers on the island who has been assigned to protect us is assassinated. Shot point blank in the back of the head.

The government forces are now striking back, and more than 6,000 troops have been committed to the fight. They are winning, but paying a deadly price.

-- From reporter Wayne Harley
World’s Untold Stories showcases courageous correspondents telling intimate stories of society's most vulnerable people. Often gritty, always powerful tales that open our eyes to a world that is at times disturbing and captivating. Storytelling that is raw and unyielding in its impact. World’s Untold Stories will bring the viewer tales from all corners of the world, and shine light on activities almost never exposed.

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