“Three mornings a week, with repeats in the evening, somewhere in the region of 35m listeners tune in to the (BBC) World Service for a 15-minute episode of Naway Kor, Naway Jwand, or New Home, New Life. Two versions are broadcast, one in Pashto, the other in Dari, to an audience that stretches across Afghanistan and into Pakistan. .. The Afghan soap is set in a fictitious rural community, the village of Bar Killi … the issues it tackles are forced marriages, blood feuds, landmines and opium addiction.
There is Nazir, the buffoon of a security guard based on Eddie Grundy, who in a recent episode set fire to his neighbour’s haystack. There is Rabiya Gul, the bolshie wife … who the Taliban routinely complain embarrasses their efforts to subdue women. And there is Rahimdad, the village barber, a solid … character whose shop is the meeting place – much like the pub in western soaps.
In the seven years since the show’s birth, the fortunes of these characters have become so vital to national morale that it is thought not only to have saved radio from banishment, but to have encouraged the Taliban to soften their line on a range of other issues.”