What Next

Out of Afghanistan

After escaping the Taliban, refugees must navigate America’s bewildering bureaucracy.


Episode Notes

The U.S. has welcomed thousands Afghan refugees since pulling out of Afghanistan in 2021. Safe from the Taliban, but without Social Security numbers, credit ratings, or even sometimes basic English, they have to make a new life relying on a patchwork of volunteers and their wits.

Elena MacFarlane, volunteer with the Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Center and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Genetic Medicine.
Lila and Basheer, Afghan refugees living in Maryland.

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Podcast production by Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Phillips, Tori Dominguez, and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.