Conflicted: A History Podcast podcast

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 1

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When Soviet Russia invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979, few could have imagined what a seismic impact it would have on the modern world. In an attempt to prop up a wobbly client regime, the Soviets sparked a transnational jihad, inflamed Cold War tensions, and hastened the downfall of their own empire. Often referred to as “Russia’s Vietnam”, the Soviet-Afghan War is an overlooked, deeply misunderstood, and immensely important conflict. In this first installment of a multi-part series, we will explore how the Soviets found themselves ensnared in the “graveyard of empires”, through the eyes of the everyday people who experienced it firsthand.  SOURCES: Ahmadi-Miller, Enjeela. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan. 2019. Ansari, Mir Tamim. Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan. 2012. Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. 2010. Borovik, Artyom. The Hidden War. 1990. Braithewaite, Rodric. Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. 2011. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to 2001. 2004.  Dobbs, Michael. Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. 1997. Feifer, Gregory. The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan. 2009.  Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89. 2012. Galeotti, Mark. Storm-333: KGB and Spetsnaz Seize Kabul. 2021. Grau, Lester W. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan. 1996. Hosdon, Peregrine. Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. 1986. Kalinovsky, Artemy. A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. 2011. Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 2001. Rosen, Ethan. The Bear, The Dragon, & the AK-47. 2017. Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History of Afghanistan from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. 2009.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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    Ghosts in the Mountains: The Mujahideen Civil War (Part 4)

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    It’s 1992. The 40th Army is long gone and the Soviet Union has collapsed, but war still rages across Afghanistan. As the Afghan communist regime crumbles, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s forces clash in Kabul. While America turns its back and the Mujahideen turn on each other, new threats arise and threaten to sweep the old generation of freedom fighters away – The Taliban and Osama bin Laden. (Part 4 of Ghosts in the Mountains) SOURCES: Ahmadi-Miller, Enjeela. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan. 2019. Alexievich, Svetlana. Zinky Boys. 1989. Ansari, Mir Tamim. Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan. 2012. Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. 2010. Borovik, Artyom. The Hidden War. 1990. Braithewaite, Rodric. Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. 2011. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to 2001. 2004.  Dobbs, Michael. Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. 1997. Feifer, Gregory. The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan. 2009.  Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89. 2012. Galeotti, Mark. Storm-333: KGB and Spetsnaz Seize Kabul. 2021. Gall, Sandy. Afghan Napoleon: The Life of Ahmed Shah Massoud. 2021. Grad, Marcela. Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader. 2009. Goodwin, Jan. Caught in the Crossfire. 1987.  Grau, Lester W. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan. 1996. Hosdon, Peregrine. Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. 1986. Kalinovsky, Artemy. A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. 2011. Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 2001. Rosen, Ethan. The Bear, The Dragon, & the AK-47. 2017. Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History of Afghanistan from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. 2009.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 3

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    As the CIA wages a covert proxy war against the Soviet 40th Army, the Mujahideen are showered with billions of dollars and cutting-edge weaponry. An old animosity between two prominent Mujahideen commanders – Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - turns into a bitter, deadly rivalry. Meanwhile, Soviet reformers led by Mikhail Gorbachev attempt to extricate the USSR from Afghanistan with a shred of dignity intact. After the Soviet withdrawal, the world turns it back on Afghanistan as a civil war rages between the Mujahideen factions – and the Taliban emerges.  SOURCES: Ahmadi-Miller, Enjeela. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan. 2019. Alexievich, Svetlana. Zinky Boys. 1989. Ansari, Mir Tamim. Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan. 2012. Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. 2010. Borovik, Artyom. The Hidden War. 1990. Braithewaite, Rodric. Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. 2011. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to 2001. 2004.  Dobbs, Michael. Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. 1997. Feifer, Gregory. The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan. 2009.  Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89. 2012. Galeotti, Mark. Storm-333: KGB and Spetsnaz Seize Kabul. 2021. Gall, Sandy. Afghan Napoleon: The Life of Ahmed Shah Massoud. 2021. Grad, Marcela. Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader. 2009. Goodwin, Jan. Caught in the Crossfire. 1987.  Grau, Lester W. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan. 1996. Hosdon, Peregrine. Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. 1986. Kalinovsky, Artemy. A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. 2011. Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 2001. Rosen, Ethan. The Bear, The Dragon, & the AK-47. 2017. Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History of Afghanistan from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. 2009.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • Conflicted: A History Podcast podcast

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    Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 2

    1:46:38

    The Soviet 40th Army invaded Afghanistan in the closing days of 1979. They would not leave for another nine years. Exhausted and frustrated by their inability to decisively crush the elusive freedom fighters in the mountains – the Mujahideen – the Soviets turn to atrocity and criminal violence to achieve their objectives. Meanwhile, adrenaline-seeking journalists and idealistic Western reporters illegally sneak into the war zone to uncover the truth behind the war.  SOURCES: Ahmadi-Miller, Enjeela. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan. 2019. Ansari, Mir Tamim. Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan. 2012. Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. 2010. Borovik, Artyom. The Hidden War. 1990. Braithewaite, Rodric. Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. 2011. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to 2001. 2004.  Dobbs, Michael. Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. 1997. Feifer, Gregory. The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan. 2009.  Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89. 2012. Galeotti, Mark. Storm-333: KGB and Spetsnaz Seize Kabul. 2021. Goodwin, Jan. Caught in the Crossfire. 1987.  Grau, Lester W. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan. 1996. Hosdon, Peregrine. Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. 1986. Kalinovsky, Artemy. A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. 2011. Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 2001. Rosen, Ethan. The Bear, The Dragon, & the AK-47. 2017. Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History of Afghanistan from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. 2009.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • Conflicted: A History Podcast podcast

    Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 1

    1:03:42

    When Soviet Russia invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979, few could have imagined what a seismic impact it would have on the modern world. In an attempt to prop up a wobbly client regime, the Soviets sparked a transnational jihad, inflamed Cold War tensions, and hastened the downfall of their own empire. Often referred to as “Russia’s Vietnam”, the Soviet-Afghan War is an overlooked, deeply misunderstood, and immensely important conflict. In this first installment of a multi-part series, we will explore how the Soviets found themselves ensnared in the “graveyard of empires”, through the eyes of the everyday people who experienced it firsthand.  SOURCES: Ahmadi-Miller, Enjeela. The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan. 2019. Ansari, Mir Tamim. Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan. 2012. Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. 2010. Borovik, Artyom. The Hidden War. 1990. Braithewaite, Rodric. Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. 2011. Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to 2001. 2004.  Dobbs, Michael. Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. 1997. Feifer, Gregory. The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan. 2009.  Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89. 2012. Galeotti, Mark. Storm-333: KGB and Spetsnaz Seize Kabul. 2021. Grau, Lester W. The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics In Afghanistan. 1996. Hosdon, Peregrine. Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. 1986. Kalinovsky, Artemy. A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. 2011. Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 2001. Rosen, Ethan. The Bear, The Dragon, & the AK-47. 2017. Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History of Afghanistan from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. 2009.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    The infamous Koh-I-Noor diamond currently sits in the Tower of London among the crown jewels of the British monarchy, but its bloody, eon-spanning journey began in the riverbeds of ancient India. Cut, coveted, and stolen multiple times over, this is the story of the world’s most controversial gem. Told through a series of five chapters, we will look at some of the diamond’s most consequential owners, and how it shaped (or destroyed) their lives.  SOURCES: Dalrymple, William; Anand, Anita. Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond. 2016.  Tharoor, Shashi. Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India. 2017.  Axworthy, Michael. Sword of Persia: Nader Shah. 2006.  Singh, Patwand; M. Rai, Jyoti. Empire of the Sikhs: The Life and Times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 2008.  Atwal, Priya. Royals and Rebels: The Rise & Fall of the Sikh Empire. 2020. Eraly, Abraham. The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors. 2004. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Kill Yamamoto: The Mission to Avenge Pearl Harbor - Part 2

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    After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy is in tatters and Yamamoto’s hopes of a quick victory against the United States have evaporated. He has no choice but to fight a war he knows Japan will lose. Tom Lanphier, Rex Barber, and the pilots of the 70th earn their stripes at Guadalcanal. The U.S. codebreakers at Hypo Station uncover the secret to intercepting the hated Yamamoto. John “Mitch” Mitchell plans and executes a borderline miraculous operation. Tom and Rex learn that victory builds careers, but destroys friendships. (Part 2 of 2) SOURCES: Davis, Donald A. Lighting Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor. 2005.  Lehr, Dick. Dead Reckoning: The Story of How Johnny Mitchell and His Fighter Pilots Took On Admiral Yamamoto and Avenged Pearl Harbor. 2020.  Hampton, Dan. Operation Vengeance: The Astonishing Aerial Ambush That Changed World War 2. 2020.  Paine, S.C.M. The Japanese Empire: Grand Strategy from the Meiji Restoration to the Pacific War. 2017. Harmsen, Peter: Storm Clouds Over The Pacific, 1931-1941. 2018. Davis, Burke. Get Yamamoto. 1969. Hoyt, Edwin P. Yamamoto: The Man Who Planned Pearl Harbor. 1990. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Kill Yamamoto: The Mission To Avenge Pearl Harbor - Part 1

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    In 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the most hated man in America. As the architect of Japan’s December 7th surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military decided Yamamoto had to die by any means necessary. Two years later, over the jungles of Southeast Asia, a daring aerial ambush gave the American people the closure they craved.  But who was Yamamoto really? Did his death have any impact on the outcome of the war? And who actually landed the killing blow? After the success of “Operation Vengeance”, as it came to be known, two American flyboys would become locked in a decades-long feud over who deserved the credit for avenging one of the deadliest days in American history.  A visionary Admiral. A longshot mission. A broken friendship. SOURCES: Davis, Donald A. Lighting Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor. 2005.  Lehr, Dick. Dead Reckoning: The Story of How Johnny Mitchell and His Fighter Pilots Took On Admiral Yamamoto and Avenged Pearl Harbor. 2020.  Hampton, Dan. Operation Vengeance: The Astonishing Aerial Ambush That Changed World War 2. 2020.  Paine, S.C.M. The Japanese Empire: Grand Strategy from the Meiji Restoration to the Pacific War. 2017. Harmsen, Peter: Storm Clouds Over The Pacific, 1931-1941. 2018. Davis, Burke. Get Yamamoto. 1969. Hoyt, Edwin P. Yamamoto: The Man Who Planned Pearl Harbor. 1990. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 3

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    Civil war has torn the Caliphate apart. In 656 AD, Aisha marches with an army at her back. Ali, newly crowned as Caliph, has no choice but to oppose her. Muawiya sees an opportunity to grab power and start a dynasty of his own. Hussein begins his inevitable path towards Karbala…and martyrdom. THE CAST: Aisha – The Prophet’s widow. “Mother of the Faithful”. Brave, jealous, and calculating. Muawiya – Governor of Syria “Son of the Liver Eater”. Master politician, ruthless and cunning.  Ali – The Prophet’s son-in-law. “Lion of God”. The Fourth Caliph.  Hussein – Grandson of the Prophet. Murdered at Karbala. Martyr of the Shi’a faith. Abu Bakr – Aisha’s father; The Prophet’s oldest friend. The First Caliph.  Umar – Hothead, bruiser, warlord; The Second Caliph.  Uthman – “He of the Two Lights”; The Third Caliph. Muhammed – The Prophet. A merchant-turned-messenger from God.  Fatima – Wife of Ali. Daughter of Muhammed. Mother to Hussein. SOURCES: Humphreys, Steven. Mu’awiya ibn abi Sufyan: The Savior of the Caliphate. 2006. Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. 1996. Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In.  2007. Shah-Kazemi, Reza. Imam ‘Ali: From Concise History to Timeless Mystery. 2019. Hazleton, Lesley. The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammed. 2013. Hazleton, Lesley. After The Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shi’a-Sunni Split in Islam. 2009. Louer, Laurence. Sunnis and Shi’a: A Political History. 2020. Hoyland, Robert G. In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. 2014. Betts, Robert Brenton. The Sunni-Shi’a Divide. 2013. Charles Rivers Editors. The History of the Sunni and Shia Split: Understanding the Divisions Within Islam.2014. Armstrong, Karen Keishin. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. 2007. Cole, Juan. Muhammed: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. 2018. Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammed. 2009. Holland, Tom. The Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire. 2012. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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    Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 2

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    The Prophet is dead. In 632 AD, the armies of Islam explode out of Arabia, led by a series of aggressive new Caliphs. The Prophet’s young widow Aisha struggles to understand her new role as “Mother of the Faithful”. Meanwhile, Ali, snubbed for the title of Caliph, grapples with his conflicting feelings of bitterness and commitment to the stability of the Muslim community. All the while, an ambitious new rival, Muawiya, schemes and cajoles his way to absolute control over the new Islamic Empire. THE CAST: Aisha – The Prophet’s widow. “Mother of the Faithful”. Brave, jealous, and calculating. Muawiya – Rising star. “Son of the Liver Eater." A master politician, ruthless and cunning.  Ali – The Prophet’s son-in-law. “Lion of God”. The Fourth Caliph.  Abu Bakr – Aisha’s father; The Prophet’s oldest friend. The First Caliph.  Umar – Hothead, bruiser, warlord; The Second Caliph.  Uthman – “He of the Two Lights”; Corrupt and controversial. The Third Caliph. Muhammed – The Prophet. A merchant-turned-messenger from God.  Fatima – Wife of Ali. Daughter of Muhammed. Mother to Hussein. Hussein – Grandson of the Prophet. Murdered at Karbala. Martyr of the Shi’a faith. SOURCES: Humphreys, Steven. Mu’awiya ibn abi Sufyan: The Savior of the Caliphate. 2006. Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. 1996. Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In.  2007. Shah-Kazemi, Reza. Imam ‘Ali: From Concise History to Timeless Mystery. 2019. Hazleton, Lesley. The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammed. 2013. Hazleton, Lesley. After The Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shi’a-Sunni Split in Islam. 2009. Louer, Laurence. Sunnis and Shi’a: A Political History. 2020. Hoyland, Robert G. In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. 2014. Betts, Robert Brenton. The Sunni-Shi’a Divide. 2013. Charles Rivers Editors. The History of the Sunni and Shia Split: Understanding the Divisions Within Islam.2014. Armstrong, Karen Keishin. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. 2007. Cole, Juan. Muhammed: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. 2018. Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammed. 2009. Holland, Tom. The Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire. 2012. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  • Conflicted: A History Podcast podcast

    Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 1

    1:39:51

    When the Prophet Muhammed died in 632 AD, it triggered a succession crisis amongst his followers. After the dust settled, two divergent branches of the faith remained – Sunni and Shi’a. It is a deeply misunderstood story that has been unearthed and repackaged in the 21st century to inflame political animus and give superficial labels to complex tensions. In this episode, we will examine the very human, very relatable drama that unfolded against the backdrop of the rise of the Islamic Empire in the 7th century. THE CAST Muhammed – The Prophet. A merchant-turned-messenger from God.  Aisha – The Prophet’s favorite wife; Charming, fiery, and envious.  Ali – The Prophet’s cherished son-in-law. Lion of God. Humble, loyal, and honorable to a fault. Fatima - Daughter of the Prophet and wife to Ali. Abu Bakr – Aisha’s father, Muhammed’s close friend, and first Caliph. Hussein – Grandson of the Prophet. Murdered at Karbala. Martyr of the Shi’a faith. SOURCES: Hazleton, Lesley. The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammed. 2013. Hazleton, Lesley. After The Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shi’a-Sunni Split in Islam. 2009. Louer, Laurence. Sunnis and Shi’a: A Political History. 2020. Hoyland, Robert G. In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. 2014. Betts, Robert Brenton. The Sunni-Shi’a Divide. 2013. Charles Rivers Editors. The History of the Sunni and Shia Split: Understanding the Divisions Within Islam. 2014. Armstrong, Karen Keishin. MuhammedL A Prophet for Our Time. 2007. Cole, Juan. Muhammed: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. 2018.  Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammed. 2009. Holland, Tom. The Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire. 2012. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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