How could the Taliban win a war against the strongest army of the world, and retake the country with almost no fighting? To see this only in its present context is to take a very limited view of this watershed moment. This take-over has been in the making for long and therefore needs to be also understood in light of its complex history.
Armed with only a fuzzy black-and-white photo of the man, investigative journalist Bette Dam decided to track down the reclusive Taliban chief mullah Omar. But in the course of what had seemed an almost impossible job, she got to know the Taliban inside out, and realized how dangerously misinformed the global forces fighting it were.
Bette Dam in conversation with Sana Safi.
Moderator/Journalist at BBC
Senior Journalist at the BBC Sana Safi was born in Kabul and raised in Kandahar, Helmand, Nangarhar and across other cities in Afghanistan. Safi left Afghanistan in 2007 and is currently living in the United Kingdom. She is fluent in Pashto, Dari and English.
Dam worked for 15 years in and on Afghanistan. In 2014 she wrote "Man and A Motorcycle, how Hamid Karzai came to power" and just now she published with Harper Collins India 'Looking for an Enemy, the unknown story of mullah Omar and the Taliban'. Dam is one of the few journalists who traveled unembedded to far-away areas in Afghanistan and studied mullah Omar for 5 years, and disclosed his whereabouts in 2019, something that became world news. Dam also teaches at Sciences Po, about Afghanistan and the role of Western media. This is also her PhD topic at the Vrije University in Brussels. She summarizes the topic in her TEDx Talk : https://www.ted.com/talks/bette_dam_why_western_media_promotes_war