Whateverland

by Felix kuehn

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Stories of the Past: An Enemy We Created

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When friends ask me about this book, saying they haven’t read it, I normally reply that they shouldn’t bother. The book mentions several hundred people, and someone who is interested in but new to the subject might end up learning as much about politics in Egypt in the 1970s as about post-2001 Afghanistan.

An Enemy We Created started as a commissioned report. I think we said we would write 50,000 words or so; we ended up writing 120,000. It is a long book.

While I was working on it, my brother asked me what it was about, what its central thesis was. I replied that very simply put, it explains based on research that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are two different groups or movements that never merged. My brother, who is an engineer and has little to do with Afghanistan said: “Of course they are; everyone knows that, don’t they?” Turns out not everyone does.

When we had finally finished the manuscript, I remember talking with Alex, saying that in an ideal world we would now throw it all away and start over from the beginning. It’s an experience I often have. An Enemy We Created is as broad a book as it gets, and for those who have little background in its subject matter, it is a difficult one. While mistakes have come to the surface since its publication, the underlying thesis and themes have stood the test of time remarkably. Since it came out, we have continued to work on sections of the long history it explores, digging deeper into the 1990s, the foreign fighters, and the Afghan Taliban, and while the story becomes ever more complicated, it supports the central finding of the nonexistence of “Talqaeda.”

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September 10th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute to Host Panel Discussion, “Talking to the Taliban,” Feb. 18

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Join me in the back row for this event, make sure to bring pretzels and something to drink or popcorn…

here the link

NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute to Host Panel Discussion, “Talking to the Taliban,” Feb. 18

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010

N-198, 2009-10

MEDIA ADVISORY

New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute will host a panel discussion-“Talking to the Taliban: How Well Has the West Understood Its Enemy in Afghanistan?”-on Thursday, February 18, 6:30 p.m. (20 Cooper Square, between 5th and 6th Streets, 7th Floor). Subways: 6 (Astor Place); R, W (8th Street). The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP to andrea.rosenberg@nyu.edu is required. Call 212.998.7887 or go to journalism.nyu.edu/events for more information. Photo ID required for entry.

Reporters interested in attending must RSVP to James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or james.devitt@nyu.edu. Filming, videotaping, photographing, and audio recording the event is prohibited.

The panel will be moderated by Barnett Rubin, director of studies at NYU’s Center on International Cooperation and currently a senior adviser on Afghanistan to U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. Other panelists include: David Rohde, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times who was held captive by the Taliban for seven months in Pakistan’s tribal regions; Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School who has served in Afghanistan with the United Nations and the European Union; and, Alex Strick van Linschoten, co-editor of My Life with the Taliban, an autobiography by former Taliban minister Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef.

The event is sponsored by the Global and Joint Program Studies at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Written by admin

January 14th, 2010 at 6:32 am

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