On Sept. 11, 2001, Said Noor was growing up in a mountain village in Khost, a southeastern province of Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan. He lived in an agricultural valley full of apple orchards and groves of peach trees.

When Zalmay Niazy was a 9-year-old boy in Afghanistan, he said, he was playing with some friends one day when a group of Taliban rode into town and demanded that he bring them some bread — or else his family would be harmed.