A former reporter, Sarah Chayes covered the fall of the Taliban for NPR, then left journalism to remain in Kandahar in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the country, living there almost continuously since December 2001. Deeply embedded in the life of the city and fluent in Pashtu, Chayes gained a unique perspective on the unfolding war.
An expert on the dynamics of severe corruption, Sarah Chayes lived for most of a decade in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before serving as special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She now researches the role of corruption in driving security crises.
Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. She is an expert in South Asia policy, kleptocracy and anticorruption, and civil-military relations.
She is working on correlations between acute public corruption and the rise of militant extremism.
After running a nongovernmental organization founded by President Karzai’s brother Qayum, Chayes launched a manufacturing cooperative that produces skin-care products for export from licit local agriculture. The goals were to help revive the region’s historic role in exporting fruit and its derivatives, promote sustainable development, and expand alternatives to the opium economy.
This talk was given at a TEDx event on September 20, 2015 using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.