Western Journalists of the Afghan Jihad

-Featuring Peter Jouvenal, Richard Mackenzie, and John Jennings-

AIAS exists to further the study of Afghanistan. In recent decades much of this study has been conducted not as pure scholarship per se but in the service of diplomacy or development or – especially – journalism. Journalists have gone where scholars feared to tread, and they have written with a clarity of language which many scholars, at least in my discipline anthropology, have regrettably abandoned.

10-7-06Peter Jouvenal, Richard Mackenzie, and John Jennings reported from the front lines of the 1980s Afghan jihad. They travelled with the mujahedeen, ate their food, wore their clothes, shared their triumphs and disasters. AIAS is proud to present a forum for their memories of that period. These retrospectives provide not only past history but also insight into the current fight which stretches across continents.

Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet jihad took place in the media as well as the battleground. Critical to its success was the involvement of Western journalists who, while not Muslims themselves, risked their lives to report from themujahedeen perspective.

Nearly two decades after the Soviet withdrawal, the world is concerned with new manifestations of militant Islam. This time, however, the “jihadists” and the West are opposed. Few Western correspondents have covered al-Qaeda from the inside.

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