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Video: 'Kite Runner' author returns to Afghanistan

  1. Transcript of: 'Kite Runner' author returns to Afghanistan

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We're back. It's time now for our MAKING A DIFFERENCE report. And tonight it's about a man Americans may know as the author of the best-seller " The Kite Runner ," a novel that has shaped many people's views of his native land , Afghanistan , where America , of course, has been at war for years. That was has displaced millions of people. The violence has driven them out of their homes. That's where Khaled Hosseini comes in hoping to make a difference back home. Our own John Yang has our report from Kabul .

    JOHN YANG reporting: Best-selling author Khaled Hosseini is back in his birthplace, back enjoying a childhood pleasure, the Afghan national pastime of kite flying .

    Mr. KHALED HOSSEINI: I was one of those kids flying kites when I was a kid here.

    YANG: Hosseini , who lives in Northern California , is best known for writing " The Kite Runner ," a novel which became an award-winning movie. On only his fourth trip back to Afghanistan since leaving as an 11-year-old boy, Hosseini 's on a mission to find much-needed shelter for the country's 2.8 million displaced persons .

    Mr. HOSSEINI: They make do with so little.

    YANG: Forty-five families have been living in this abandoned school for as long as eight years. About 100 more are in the field behind. No running water, no electricity, no heat. Hosseini says it's about more than just a warm place to sleep.

    Mr. HOSSEINI: It gives them a sense of dignity, a sense of belonging. You know, there's a sense of cultural shame about being homeless. You know, there's a saying that, go hungry if you must but may you never go homeless.

    Mr. MUSER JAN:

    YANG: Muser Jan has been squatting here with his eight children since last year when they fled the violence in Hilman province.

    Mr. HOSSEINI: This is the reason I've come back to Afghanistan . There are so many stories like this. A colleague of mine likes to say that there are a thousand tragedies per square mile.

    YANG: A trained physician, Hosseini is horrified to discover that the mud from Muser Jan 's makeshift house comes from a pool of standing water littered with garbage and human waste.

    Mr. HOSSEINI: This is a nightmare because I can imagine all the -- all the pathogens that are floating around in there, and...

    YANG: Since 2008 , Hosseini 's foundation has raised enough money to shelter more than 170 displaced families, a number he's trying to double this year.

    Mr. HOSSEINI: There's still a long way to go , and the Afghan people are hopeful that the international community will remain engaged with their country.

    YANG: A man with high hopes for the land he left more than 30 years ago, but still feels connected to in his heart. John Yang , NBC News, Kabul.

    WILLIAMS: And if you're interested in learning more about Khaled Hosseini 's foundation and learning more from him, you can log on to our Web site , nightly.msnbc.com.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: For now, for us, that's our broadcast for this Tuesday night. Thank you for being here with us. I'm Brian Williams . And we hope to

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