Kabul Falling

Kabul Falling

Bradley Hope

For the past six months, the team at Project Brazen have been working on a kaleidoscopic exploration of last year's events in Afghanistan. The footage of desperate Afghans clinging to the sides of cargo airplanes seems eons ago now, but the stories of escape and the Taliban's return to power is only just getting started.

The news on Monday that the Central Intelligence Agency assassinated Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul is at once a long-awaited denouement of the 9/11 attacks and a warning that Afghanistan instantly became a haven again for extremists looking for a base of operations. A lot of the commentary has praised the "over the horizon" capabilities of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, but it's easy to imagine a scenario where those capabilities rapidly degrade as the Taliban expel foreigners and cement their hold on power.

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One of the big concepts behind KABUL FALLING (episode one here) is that for most of the population of Afghanistan, 9/11 happened before they were born. This is a country full of people 20 and under. Their future in their homeland was extinguished before their eyes a year ago, sending them on dangerous journeys abroad. Many of them are STILL in refugee centers in places like Abu Dhabi and Serbia, awaiting acceptance in their destination countries.

We hope you enjoy the show. The first two episodes dropped on Monday and there are another 6 episodes coming out every Monday going forward. We worked with many creative partners, many of them Afghan, to build this project. One of my favorite parts is the theme music, composed by a young Afghan called Arson Fahim. It really captures the heartbreak, the panic and the hope of Afghans.

There's a big website where we have additional information as well.

Check out episode one here
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This is the fifty-second edition of WHALE HUNTING, a newsletter delving into the secret worlds of money and power that we became obsessed with during our multi-year investigation into the globe-sprawling 1MDB scandal. That project changed our entire worldview. We wrote a book about it. We were long-time reporters for the Wall Street Journal before setting off on our own last year to create Project Brazen, a journalism studio and production company. We're creating books, podcasts and documentaries, and we'll share behind-the-scenes insights into the characters and stories we find along the way.

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