May 15, 2009

Held hostage by the Taliban

Dutch journalist Joanie de Rijke was held hostage by the Taliban for six days in November, 2008. She was in Afghanistan reporting on the ambush that killed ten French soldiers. She has written a book about her experience (in Dutch only) called Held by the Taliban. She talked with Radio Netherlands Worldwide about the experience […]

April 27, 2009

Tulips, tourists and Taliban

The tourism sector, one of the corner stones of the economy of the Indian Administered Kashmir, seems to be in jeopardy. Tourist arrival rates have taken a nose dive ever since concocted media reports of the presence of ‘Taliban’ in the region. These reports dealt such a blow that local tour operators say that the […]

March 31, 2009

Beverly Giesbrecht ransom offer rejected

  A ransom offered to the Taliban kidnappers of Beverly Giesbrecht has reportedly been rejected according to a report on the Globe & Mail newspaper. Giesbrecht, a Canadian freelance journalist who also goes by the name of Khadija Abdul Qahaar, was kidnapped four months ago in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The kidnappers […]

March 30, 2009

John D. McHugh’s latest from Afghanistan

  John D. McHugh, club regular and Frontline Club award for journalism winner, sees his latest multimedia production from Afghanistan about the U.S. soldiers view of their Afghan counterparts, on the Guardian website. You can feel the frustration dripping from the U.S. soldiers as they find Afghan colleagues without helmets on, smoking dope and otherwise […]

March 19, 2009

Taliban threaten to kill Beverly Geisbrecht

According to reports coming out of Pakistan the Taliban have threatened to kill Beverly Geisbrecht, the Canadian freelance journalist kidnapped in November 2008, if ransom demands are not met by March 30. Earlier this month a ransom demand of $375,000 was reportedly made. In a video taped message sent to the Miranshah Press Club earlier […]

February 18, 2009

Mosa Khankhel killed in Swat valley

Mosa Khankhel, a journalist with GEO TV in Pakistan, was shot and killed by attackers in the Taliban controlled area of Swat valley, 100 miles northwest of Islamabad today. The attackers subsequently tried to behead him. Reporters without borders express outrage at the killing, “We want to express our full solidarity with journalists in the […]

January 30, 2009

LIVE – Sean Langan and the Taliban

Click To Play Sean Langan will be talking about his Taliban kidnap experiences with award-winning foreign correspondent Sam Kiley at the Frontline Club tonight. Sean, a Frontline Club member and Channel 4 Dispatches journalist, was kidnapped in early 2008 and held hostage for three months. We start at 7pm GMT / 11am PST Fri 30 […]

December 22, 2008

Peter ter Velde talks to the Taliban

Dutch journalist Peter ter Velde talked to Taliban fighters in the northern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan where “several hundred” Dutch soldiers are based, Peter ter Velde, a reporter of NOS public television, met the fighters close to Camp Holland, NATO’s main military base in Uruzgan. He spoke to the six Taliban just before a roadside […]

December 1, 2008

Panicked Solutions

I wrote this oped with a colleague of mine in the hope it might get some coverage and – in part – help to stop the long march towards tribal militias that are being proposed as a ‘solution’ for Afghanistan. Nobody took it, so we thought we’d put it up here…

October 16, 2008

“4-nil and it’s started to rain”

Not much has happened in Kandahar since I last wrote – not on a grand scale, anyway. It seems the dead need to line up in the dozens for international media to take note. Today an attack on a USPI convoy killed several, but it will undoubtedly not be deemed newsworthy enough for anything more […]

October 8, 2008

Far From the City

In case you were wondering what’s happening outside the city in the districts, here’s a story and a half. Ghorak district is north-west of the city, and not especially important in itself. Off the top of my head, it was the first district that the Soviets abandoned during the 1980s when they started their slow […]

October 1, 2008

Panjwayi Taliban Interview

I know it’s a little old, but probably most of those reading this blog haven’t seen it, and a lot of what is said here hasn’t changed since early 2007. We made this interview with a Taliban commander in Panjwayi district of Kandahar province while AfghanWire was still up and running. For more of the […]

August 17, 2008

Rude Awakening

I’ve been woken up each morning at around 5am for the last two days by a constant stream of helicopters and jets passing over my house here in Kandahar City. A big battle is being fought in Dand district, just over 10 kilometres away from the city. The Taliban are able to operate within the […]

August 1, 2008

Behsud: Kuchi atrocities?

The story is so small and on such a local level that nobody is particularly interested. With an ever-growing insurgency, are international readers really interested in a conflict within the conflict, in which there are no international actors, nor anyone the ‘international community’ need particularly pay heed to… Even within Afghanistan, it doesn’t merit any […]

July 11, 2008

Taliban shadow governor killed?

In a little-reported story from the north-west of Afghanistan – no doubt overshadowed by the car-bomb attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul – villagers in Qayser district used “a machine gun, sticks and stones” to chase away Taliban members, killing, in the process, the shadow-governor for Faryab province. The militants had tried to abduct […]

June 18, 2008

Afghanistan: Medieval Warfare?

The savagery of medieval warfare is widely acknowledged and understood; yet the idea of chivalry as an important and influential force in the conflicts of the Middle Ages somehow lives on in seemingly comfortable juxtaposition with this awareness. In By Sword and Fire I show that such notions of incongruent compatibility do not reflect the […]

June 18, 2008

Green Grass

I write this from my beautiful green garden in Kabul, which has changed so much as to be almost unrecognizable. We now have aubergine, mint, coriander, roses, grapes and mulberries growing, along with a lot of other stuff that I’m sure is edible but don’t know the names of. As always, there’s lots happening in […]

February 19, 2008

The Talib who turned

There was little in the dismal reception room to dispel the all-pervading cold of the snow outside. Mice scurried among the relics of half-eaten food on plates scattered around an unlit wood-burning stove. Apart from a few blankets and a couple of kalashnikovs the space was bare. Perhaps I had expected finer trappings for Musa […]

September 29, 2007

Newsnight – report from Sangin valley, Helmand, Afghanistan

This is the full 16 minute documentary that originally aired on BBC Newsnight on 26 September, 2007. It’s available for download on Google Video. My original text from the evening that I returned from Sangin: I have been out on operations with Colour Sergeant Jim Bastin of the Inkerman Company and a platoon of the […]

March 19, 2007

Fires of Helmand

I had often wondered what it would be like to be pitched from the warm, sleep inducing sightless world of an armoured personnel carrier straight out the door into a fire fight. The moment arrived on the west bank of the River Helmand in early March with almost no warning. “Fucking hell,” a Marine corporal’s […]

March 4, 2007

Afghanistan diary

In a ten day combat reconnaissance mission last week the Royal Marines of ‘J’ Company, 42 Commando, pushed into the Pashtun heartland of northern Helmand, the traditional bastion of the Taliban insurgency. Weaving between the towns of Sangin, Naw Zad and Musa Qala the marines conducted operations on a mobile patrol that covered more than […]