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Diaa Hadid

Diaa Hadid chiefly covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for NPR News. She is based in NPR's bureau in Islamabad. There, Hadid and her team were awarded a Murrow in 2019 for hard news for their story on why abortion rates in Pakistan are among the highest in the world.

Hadid has also documented the culture war surrounding Valentines' Day in Pakistan, the country's love affair with Vespa scooters and the struggle of a band of women and girls to ride their bikes in public. She visited a town notorious in Pakistan for a series of child rapes and murders, and attended class with young Pakistanis racing to learn Mandarin as China's influence over the country expands.

Hadid joined NPR after reporting from the Middle East for over a decade. She worked as a correspondent for The New York Times from March 2015 to March 2017, and she was a correspondent for The Associated Press from 2006 to 2015.

Hadid documented the collapse of Gadhafi's rule in Libya from the capital, Tripoli. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, she wrote of revolutionary upheaval sweeping Egypt. She covered the violence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from Baghdad, Erbil and Dohuk. From Beirut, she was the first to report on widespread malnutrition and starvation inside a besieged rebel district near Damascus. She also covered Syria's war from Damascus, Homs, Tartous and Latakia.

Her favorite stories are about people and moments that capture the complexity of the places she covers.

They include her story on a lonely-hearts club in Gaza, run by the militant Islamic group Hamas. She unraveled the mysterious murder of a militant commander, discovering that he was killed for being gay. In the West Bank, she profiled Israel's youngest prisoner, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl who got her first period while being interrogated.

In Syria, she met the last great storyteller of Damascus, whose own trajectory of loss reflected that of his country. In Libya, she profiled a synagogue that once was the beating heart of Tripoli's Jewish community.

In Baghdad, Hadid met women who risked their lives to visit beauty salons in a quiet rebellion against extremism and war. In Lebanon, she chronicled how poverty was pushing Syrian refugee women into survival sex.

Hadid documented the Muslim pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia, known as the Hajj, using video, photographs and essays.

Hadid began her career as a reporter for The Gulf News in Dubai in 2004, covering the abuse and hardships of foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates. She was raised in Canberra by a Lebanese father and an Egyptian mother. She graduated from the Australian National University with a B.A. (with Honors) specializing in Arabic, a language she speaks fluently. She also makes do in Hebrew and Spanish.

Her passions are her daughter, photography, cooking, vintage dress shopping and listening to the radio. She sings really badly, but that won't stop her.

Meet Hadid on Twitter @diaahadid, or see her photos on Instagram. She also often posts up her work on her community Facebook page.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

For generations, farmers in the Harchi Valley in Pakistan's highlands enjoyed a close relationship with the glacier that snakes between two mountain peaks. It watered their fields, orchards and grazing lands.

Following local tradition, it has a name — Ultar — and a gender — male, because it is black owing to the debris that covers it (female glaciers are white, residents say).

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Fire swept through a train in Pakistan early Thursday, killing more than 65 people after a natural gas cylinder being used by a passenger to cook breakfast suddenly exploded, officials said.

Some of the deaths were caused as passengers leaped from the moving railway cars to escape the spreading flames, according to multiple railway officials.

Farahnaz Mohammadi, 17, and her cousin Fatima Almi, 19, dress identically, from their patterned headscarves to their shoes with matching bunny ears. They also share the same opinions on Afghanistan's future, which may be nearing a critical phase as a deal between the U.S. and Taliban insurgents appears to be reviving.

Salt is rarely considered a matter of national puffery. But in Pakistan, Himalayan pink salt has been the subject of parliamentary debates, editorials and trending hashtags. And Pakistanis want you to know one thing: Upmarket salt is Pakistani.

Afghanistan is holding its fourth presidential election on Saturday, after repeated delays, a campaign marred by violence and the collapse of U.S. talks with the Taliban that left the Afghan government on the sidelines.

The chief contenders — incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah — are likely giving voters a sense of déjà vu. The two men virtually tied in 2014, when then-Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated a compromise in which Ghani became president and Abdullah assumed the new and ostensibly co-equal post of chief executive.

When Aziz Rafiee heard that President Trump called off talks with the Taliban, he couldn't quite believe it. "My first question to myself was: What is really happening?" he says. Then Rafiee, who leads the Afghan Civil Society Forum in Kabul, says he felt a sense of relief.

And he says most of his friends also support Trump's decision.

The U.S. president's abrupt move over the weekend to scuttle a potential deal with the Taliban surprised many who had been following the multiple rounds of negotiations. It has also led to questions about what might come next.

Mike Pompeo, the nation's top diplomat, took to the Sunday news talk shows to defend the administration's cancelling of a secret summit between the leadership of the Taliban and the president of Afghanistan. The meetings had been set to take place at Camp David days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, said it was the president's idea to hold the talks at the presidential retreat in Maryland, adding it was a "perfectly appropriate place" to do so.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Boys played amid stinky puddles and dodged trash sludge oozing from plastic bags carpeting a muddy riverbed in Saidpur, a village that connects to Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, by a narrow road. "God forgive us," says a woman watching nearby, referring to the trash.

Munira recalls the river stones glinting under fresh water when she was a child. Now, "there's so much trash," says the 65-year-old, who has only one name.

Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET

Pakistan's prime minister warned that a move by India to strip Kashmir of its special status could lead to war between the two countries and the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims in the restive Himalayan region.

Imran Khan cited a suicide attack in February that killed at least 40 Indian security forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir and was followed by airstrikes and a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani pilots.

The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump have met before — on Twitter, where they sparred. Next week, they will be meeting in real life, as Khan heads to Washington, D.C., for a three-day visit.

On a Sunday in early December, about two dozen women and girls weaved their bikes down the streets and alleys of the gritty Lyari neighborhood in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

They nudged their bikes between rickshaws, motorbikes and crowds of men — men everywhere. Some turned their faces away to avoid the sight of women rattling past on bikes. Others gaped.

A nearby samosa seller, Saqlain Usman, 18, shook his head. His three sisters wouldn't dream of undertaking such an offensive act. They stayed home, he said, where they belonged.

Youths sporting peach fuzz sway as they chant parts of the Quran. They sit in the courtyard of a sprawling Islamic seminary, or madrassa, on the outskirts of the village of Meer Muhammad, in Pakistan's rural heartland in Punjab.

By graduation, these students should have memorized Islam's holiest book and finer points of Islamic law. They will have mastered little else.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

When Suhai Aziz Talpur was training to be a police officer, she was ordered to jump off a cliff during an endurance test. She recalls staring seven feet down to the ground. "I said no, I won't jump and break my leg."

So her supervisor pushed her.

Talpur landed unscathed. Later, her supervisor told her, "The fear is here." Talpur taps her head. "So fight it from here."

Pakistan has expelled 18 international aid groups from the country, after they were accused of deliberately spreading disinformation, according to a series of tweets issued by the country's human rights minister, Shireen Mazari.

The expulsions reflect what aid workers say is a hardening toward organizations that provide health care, education and food assistance as well as working on human rights, women's rights and free speech issues.

Among the groups were charities such as Catholic Relief, Plan International and World Vision.

For decades, India's Sikhs have longed to reach one of their holiest sites, a soaring white temple, built on a river bank. From about 2 miles away, they constructed viewing platforms simply to gaze at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When at 19 Mehnaz became pregnant for the fifth time, she panicked. She already had four daughters, and her husband was threatening to throw her out if she had another. So she did what millions of Pakistani women do every year: She had an abortion.

Like many of those women, her abortion was partly self-administered. "I kept taking tablets — whatever I laid my hands on," she says. "I lifted heavy things" — like the furniture in her tiny living room. She drank brews of boiled dates — many Pakistanis believe the beverage triggers labor.

Updated at 9:57 a.m. ET

Separatist militants armed with guns and a suicide vest tried to storm the Chinese consulate in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on Friday, in one of the most serious attacks in years against Chinese nationals in the Islamic state. No Chinese nationals or consulate staff were harmed.

At least seven people were killed as police clashed with the militants: three militants, two policemen and a father and son, Pakistani nationals, who were apparently at the consulate to pick up visas, The Associated Press said.

Last year, the Chinese wife of a Pakistani man traveled back home to China with their two children. She wanted to introduce her younger boy, 18 months old, to her mom.

But after she landed in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, she was detained, says her husband, a doctor named Rehman. His wife is a Uighur Muslim, a member of a minority group that has been targeted in a Chinese crackdown.

Security officials left their sons at their grandmother's house. Weeks later, they returned and took away the older boy, age 6.

A Christian woman who was acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court after spending eight years on death row for insulting Islam is still being held in an undisclosed location. Her release was delayed after negotiations failed between the government and an extremist religious group that is demanding she be killed.

Asia Bibi's sentence was reversed on Wednesday in Islamabad. Almost simultaneously, followers of a hard-line Pakistani religious group rushed onto major highways across the country to paralyze traffic in protest of the decision.

The Afghan Taliban confirms that Pakistan has released the co-founder of the insurgent group — a move seen as a gesture aimed at bringing the Taliban, the Afghan government and the United States to the negotiating table.

Pakistan detained Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in 2010 in the sprawling port city of Karachi. Local media report the sting was arranged by Pakistan's intelligence agency, known as the ISI, alongside the CIA.

Around the world, people are struggling for access to drinking water. All Things Considered is examining the forces at play in separating the haves from the have-nots — from natural disasters to crumbling infrastructure and corruption.

In Korangi, a slum neighborhood of Karachi, a sprawling port city of some 16 million people in Pakistan, there's no running water.

So how do people get the water they need to drink, to cook, to wash up and to clean their homes?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A former cricket star has just declared himself Pakistan's new prime minister. Imran Khan announced his victory earlier today after a contentious election that his opponents call fraudulent. NPR's Diaa Hadid joins us now from Islamabad. Hey, Diaa.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains, on the bank of the river that courses through the Swat Valley, boys play soccer in a dusty field. When the Pakistani Taliban occupied this valley a decade ago, loyalists trudged to the same riverbank with their own television sets, setting them ablaze in a fiery rejection of Western culture.

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