By Shahin Amin / Nasim Tariq in Kabul
Like many Afghans, Wazhma Frogh left Afghanistan for the U.S. in 2008 to get an education. From a pedagogical background, Frogh was passionate about education and launched the national daily Al Ain Daily, where she oversaw its publishing from both the local and U.S. government funding. The twice daily newspaper evolved into ANWAR English in 2017. Frogh then received an internship offer from FOX News. When the Afghan government impeded Wazhma’s ability to work, she came to New York to find a community to be involved in the fight against corruption and the fight for women’s rights.
Frogh returned to Afghanistan in 2015 and focused on instilling in the youth the importance of education and social media. Al-Asif — an Afghan-American basketball player — was one of those youth. Now, he serves as a representative for Frogh and has started a charitable foundation in his hometown of Kabul. Wazhma Frogh talks about how she ended up in Afghanistan, and her goals for Afghanistan’s next generation.
How did you get to Afghanistan and what is your role there?
After my internship in NY, I wanted to make a difference, so I thought of Afghanistan and thought we could do something and work there as refugees. I wanted to do something that was tangible. I’ve been active since 2011 in NYC, working in education, politics, and media. My biggest role is in education and empowering students, myself included. The way I’ve accomplished this is using my own self-worth as a resource. I did it to help others.
How did you see your role as an emissary to Afghans living in the U.S.?
After graduating from college in 2014, I was matched with the Brooklyn ISIS cell. I helped them in their investigation and information sharing, then moved from NYC to Afghanistan to join them in making terrorist threats. I saw myself as a representative for the mujahideen, in the end working towards a better future. I saw this as my chance to do something real. I didn’t want to continue the lives I had. I wanted to find a better future for my kids. I’ve been able to bring about this transformation in a matter of two years.
If you had another job, what would it be?
I was a teacher when I was living in the U.S. My main career goal now is to build a digital entrepreneurial curriculum called Outtrack, an online platform where students can learn and be tutored, and I’m in the process of figuring out how to build that for the U.S. student. My goal is to break down barriers between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
What have you learned from your time in Afghanistan?
In Afghanistan there is no media, meaning there is a lot of freedom of expression online. It was a little foreign at first, but it was an opportunity to learn how people think.