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Afghan guards
Politics and Economy:
Return to Kandahar
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Q&A with Masuda Sultan and Photo Essay

Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 1978, Masuda Sultan fled to the US at age 5 with her family. Raised in New York City, she returned to Kandahar in August to explore her family roots and founded the Young Afghan-World Alliance (YA-WA) upon her return. Ms. Sultan has worked on numerous outreach efforts including leading YA-WA's humanitarian aid efforts in Afghanistan. While filming a documentary in Afghanistan in December 2001, Ms. Sultan learned of the deaths of 19 members of her extended family during the U.S. bombing campaign. She is currently working with the non-profit Global Exchange and the families of September 11th. She speaks throughout the US and to the world community to promote the understanding of Afghanistan.

We conducted a Q&A with Ms. Sultan recently. You can also go along with her on her journey home by viewing the Photo Essay.

Masuda Sultan
Masuda Sultan

Photo Essay Tell me about your family:

Both my mother and father are Kandahari. My father taught chemistry in the city. The four of us, including my older brother, fled to the U.S. in 1983. My two younger sisters were born in America. After my family fled the war zone, I did not return to my home country for 18 years.

How often have you returned over the years?

August of 2001 was the first time I went back, to seek out my extended family and learn what happened to them over the past two decades. I had heard unbelievable stories - things you read about in books and tragic films. My family actually suffered these things. Growing up in the U.S., I was somewhat removed from my family in Afghanistan. It was in the last few years that I longed to know where I came from and what had happened there.

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