Radio Free Afghanistan: A Twenty-Year Odyssey for an Independent Voice in Kabul (Hardcover)

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Radio Free Afghanistan: A Twenty-Year Odyssey for an Independent Voice in Kabul By Saad Mohseni, Jenna Krajeski Cover Image

Radio Free Afghanistan: A Twenty-Year Odyssey for an Independent Voice in Kabul (Hardcover)


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From Time 100 honoree Saad Mohseni, the deeply moving and surprising story of the attempt to build a truly independent media company in contemporary Afghanistan.

Saad Mohseni, chairman and CEO of Moby Group, Afghanistan’s largest media company, charts a twenty-year effort to bring a free press to his country after years of Taliban rule, and how that effort persists even after the Taliban’s return to power in 2021.

In the heady early days of the American occupation, Mohseni returns to Kabul which he had last seen as a child before the Soviet invasion. Casting about for ways to be involved in the dawn of a new Afghanistan, Mohseni makes what seems like a quixotic decision to leave the comforts of a career in international banking to start a Kabul radio station with his three siblings. This unlikely venture quickly blossoms into a burgeoning television empire, bringing Mohseni and his family and employees into sometimes uncomfortable contact with everyone who has a stake in the country—from the government of Hamid Karzai to White House officials. Moreover, their radio and television networks soon become a necessary beacon for millions of Afghans, who rely on them not just for independent news but for joyful pleasures like soap operas and Afghan Star, a beloved national singing competition in a country whose previous rulers had banned (and would again ban) music.

Mohseni’s position at Moby affords him unique insights into this extraordinary yet troubled country, the youngest in the world outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, and his powerful account captures the spirit and resilience of the Afghan people—notably the hundreds of men and women still working in Moby's Kabul office today, who, once again under Taliban rule, create programs, report the news, and educate the public.

Radio Free Afghanistan is a stunning, vibrant portrait of a nation in turmoil, poised between despair and hope.

Saad Mohseni was born in London to Afghan parents in 1966 and lived in Japan, Australia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan before returning to Kabul in 2002 after the U.S. invasion. He is the co-founder, chairman, and executive officer of Moby Group, Afghanistan’s largest media company and has brought top-tier news and media content to emerging markets for the past two decades. He was named an Asia Game Changer by the Asian Society and in 2011 was one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Mohseni serves on board of the International Crisis Group and is a member of the International Advisor Council for the Middle East Institute. He lives in London and Dubai.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063299801
ISBN-10: 0063299801
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: September 24th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English

"Radio Free Afghanistan is the extraordinary memoir of a remarkable man. It is also the ultimate insider's guide to the recent history of Afghanistan: witty, wise, frank and perceptive, more than any other book recent book it reveals the reasons for the failure of the western attempt to impose democracy in Afghanistan and gives an incredibly intimate portrait of the men and women who have shaped that tragic history." — William Dalrymple

“Saad Mohseni did more to change Afghanistan than any single person, and more than all the diplomats and soldiers combined. This fine book tells the story of how one man and the company he created brought a benighted country into the modern age.” — Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War

“Saad Mohseni is one of the most remarkable figures in modern Afghanistan—brave, entrepreneurial, with a knack for imagining the impossible—he transformed the Afghan media landscape and brought serious news, and exceptional entertainment to millions in the most testing circumstances imaginable.” — Rory Stewart, author of The Places in Between

“A start-up tale like no other. Saad Mohseni’s memoir is a skeleton key not only to the war in Afghanistan but to global media, diplomacy, and development in the twenty-first century. A gift for historians, both passionate and knowing—and a page-turner to boot.” — Nick McDonell, author of Quiet Street