This is a transcript of an interview Matthew Alan Hill conducted with Sahar for the Women and US Foreign Policy Interview Project at The Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London.
Interviewee: Sahar (S)
Identity of interviewee: Afghan woman
Interviewer: Matthew Alan Hill (MH)
Date: April 10, 2013
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Personal and political-based questions
First memories in Afghanistan with large extended family on Fridays (0:00:40); Soviet invasion forcing family to flee Kabul at age 17 (0:02:30); brother fleeing Afghanistan to escape national conscription (0:04:34); Afghan government denies request for passports (0:05:45); fled to Pakistan and then to Germany as refugees (0:07:13); decision not to adapt to German life because of a desire to return to Afghanistan (0:09:20); difficulties in learning German (0:11:09); move to the US to keep the family together (0:12:13.
Memories of 9/11 being similar to those of the Soviets invading Afghanistan (0:14:13); belief that 9/11 would mean that Afghanistan would be liberated by the Americans (0:16:38); moved to DC to be active in helping Afghanistan (0:22:00); helping the Afghan women and children in conflict through an Afghan education focussed NGO (0:23:25); no support from US government to run the NGO (0:25:33); duplication of programmes due to lack of coordination by international organisations (0:27:48); US inter-departmental coordination problems (0:30:11); Afghan expertise and advice being ignored by international partners (0:32:18); problems due to lack of long-term vision for Afghanistan (0:36:30).
Historical nature of American engagement with the world impacted its engagement with Afghanistan (0:39:48); positives and negatives of elections since US invasion (0:45:23); do election manifestos have a national or regional identity? (0:52:20); women’s agenda in Afghan development plans side-lined in order to negotiate with the Taliban (0:56:10); positive impact of the fall of the Taliban regime on the health and education of Afghans (1:02:19); failure of Afghan government to effectively deal with extreme levels of trauma in population and the impact this neglect has on the society (1:07:00); minimal US funding in mental health projects because success is difficult to quantify (1:11:32); European Commission support for national mental health programme in Afghanistan (1:12:56).