Avoiding Armageddon
Personal Tales

Ali Shah Khan

Ehab Yusef

Essam Alridi

Leonid Smirnov

Leroy Richmond

Milya and Gosman Kobirov


James & Robin Wong

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Ali Shah Khan - Returning to Rebuild His Homeland - "Everyone likes their homeland. And now I have a chance to come back to mine... God willing, war is finished. I hope that God helps us and we can take part in reconstruction. We want a peaceful and stable country." - Returning Afghan refugee

Ali Shah Khan, his wife and two children returned to Afghanistan after 12 years as refugees in Pakistan. The land that they recalled was beautiful, but as they ride back to their village they cannot recognize the rubble-strewn landscape. During the two decades of warfare, about a quarter of the Afghan population - nearly 7 million - left their homes. Most went to neighboring Iran and Pakistan. Ali Khan worked as a rickshaw driver in Pakistan. But his dream was to go home.

When the Taliban regime fell, he brought his family home. In doing so, he joined one of the largest refugee migrations in history - more than two million people have returned to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.

At the Pol-e-Charki Refugee Center in Kabul, Ali Shah and his family were given a large sack of wheat and a tent and taught about land mines. Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. About ten Afghans are killed or wounded by mines each day, many of them children.

Unlike many refugees, Ali Shah is lucky. Although badly damaged, his family home still stands. He is in a race against time to repair it so his family can withstand the winter.

Ali Shah won his race and rebuilt his home. But he worries about his children's future in a land that is still so war-ravaged.

"I want to take my children away from bad things. I want to find a good job. I want to send my children to school so they can have a better future," says Ali Shah. "I want the world community to help Afghanistan... as they promised. We suffered a lot. We are expecting an end to our troubles."

Ali Shah Khan's story is told in "Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide," the fourth episode of "Avoiding Armageddon."

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