Before most Americans had even heard of the Taliban, American John Weaver entered Afghanistan to help those living in the destruction of years of war and the restrictive Muslim government.

In September 2000, the Northern Virginia native began work in the country as a relief worker with Shelter For Life International. There he saw how the lives of families had been destroyed by a ravaged land and cruel leadership. After the events of September 11, Weaver stayed in the country to help those families. He tells his story in Inside Afghanistan (W Publishing Group).

In these excerpts from the book, Weaver writes about the terror that raged before September 11 and his prayers for change.

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Before the Taliban or Al Qaeda exported their malicious hatred and evil acts of terrorism to the rest of the world, they practiced them for years in Afghanistan. In fact, during the last several years, humanitarian aid workers have frequently evacuated northern Afghanistan because of the Taliban's savage treatment of anyone they perceived as an enemy.

For example, the first week of September 2000, the Taliban bombarded Taloqan, the capital of the Takhar province. Explosions and fires razed parks, orchards, and neighborhoods. Ten thousand families fled for their lives, but hundreds of civilians died, and the survivors experienced intense suffering. There, as in so many and towns of Afghanistan, destroyed homes collapsed on the innocent families within. Simple grave markers usually appeared in front of the rubble indicating to passersby that what remained of the house had become a tomb. No one in the family was left to dig out the bodies and give them a proper burial.

The Taliban's next target was Khvajeh Ghar, which they attacked around the middle ...

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