Sarah Chayes was a reporter for NPR working in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Then, in early 2002 she decided to give up her career in journalism to help rebuild the country. She joined the NGO world, eventually founding an Afghan-based NGO. During this time, while living in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, she became an advisor to the top US generals in Afghanistan and to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

These experiences in Afghanistan informed her prize winning book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, which as the name suggests examines the corrosive effect of corruption in post conflict countries and beyond. We kick off talking about the problem of corruption before discussing Sarah’s fascinating life and career.

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