New York Times Reporter John F. Burns. He has followed the latest events of Afghanistan's 18-year-old civil war, concentrating on the rise to power of the Taliban, an Islamic religious movement. Burns examines the Taliban's effect on the war-torn country's laws and punishment, including stoning, amputations, and executions.
Zohra Rasekh, Senior Health Researcher for Physicians for Human Rights, co-authored "The Taliban's War on Women: A Health and Human Rights Crisis in Afghanistan." She's identified several discriminatory policies against women in that country, including the demand they wear a burqa at all times outside the home.
We talk about the Taliban with Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid. His new book is called Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale University Press). In the mid 1990s, the Taliban Movement gained power in Afghanistan, a country in the wake of a civil war. The Taliban declared they wanted to restore peace and enforce traditional Islamic law. Instead, The Taliban has shown itself to be a troubling development in Islamic radicalism. It has launched a genocidal campaign against Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. It has sanctioned acts of international terrorism.
Military affairs correspondent for the New York Times, Michael Gordon. He former Moscow bureau chief for the paper. He covered the war in Chechnya when the Times was one of only two Western news organizations allowed in Chechnya by the Russian military. Gordon also covered the Gulf War and the war in Kosovo, and is co-author of the book The Generals' War about the Gulf War.
Last week the Taliban, the Islamic Militants ruling Afghanistan issued a decree to demolish all pre-Islamic religious images. Reportedly they have partially demolished the 175 feet and 120 feet seventh-century Buddhas 100 miles west of Kabul, considered two of the most important ancient works. A talk with the Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies At the University of Omaha, Thomas E. Gouttierre .
Junger traveled to Afghanistan to profile Ahmad Shah Massoud, (known as the Lion of Panjshir), the legendary leader of the guerrilla war against the Soviets, who is now fighting the Taliban. Junger traveled with photographer Reza Deghati who spent several years covering the war there. Jungers article The Lion in Winter appears in the March/April issue of National Geographics Adventure magazine. Its also the subject of a National Geographic Explorer program Into the Forbidden which aired march 4 on CNBC.
Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Omaha, Thomas E. Gouttierre. He also served on the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission to Afghanistan, and is the American specialist on Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and South Asia at the meetings of the US-Russian Task Force on Regional Conflicts.
Journalist Charles Sennott of the Boston Globe. He just returned from Afghanistan. He is also the author of the new book, The Body and The Blood: The Holy Land Christians At the Turn of a New Millennium (PublicAffairs). Sennott was the Globe Middle East bureau chief, and is currently the Globe Europe bureau chief and lives in London.
Bernard Lewis is a Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He just written a new book about the war in the Middle East called What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford University Press). The New York Times Book Review has called Lewis "the doyen of Middle Eastern Studies." Lewis says that there may be no escape from the "downward spiral of hate and spite...culminating sooner or later in another alien domination."
He just won a Golden Globe for the film Osama, which he wrote and directed. It was shot in post-Taliban Afghanistan. It's based on a true story about a mother who disguises her 12-year old daughter as a boy so that she can work and earn an income under the Taliban regime. Barmak also runs the Afghan film organization and is director of the Afghan Children Education Movement, an association that promotes literacy, culture and the arts.
Before most Americans had heard of the Taliban, Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid wrote a book about them. After the Sept. 11 attacks, it became a best-seller. Rashid's recent reporting for English-language newspapers involves Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, a regular Fresh Air guest, joins us again to assess recent developments in his home country and to preview the upcoming election there. Born in Lahore and based in Pakistan, Rashid has written for The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, London's Daily Telegraph and other publications. He's also the author of several best-selling books.
Sarah Chayes has been living and working in Afghanistan since she covered the fall of the Taliban government for NPR. She joins Fresh Air to explain how the hard-line religious movement is using both fear and persuasion as it works to once again expand its power in Afghanistan.
The New York Times foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins reports that the Taliban are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign in Afghanistan — a fact evidenced by a 40 percent increase in Afghan civilian deaths in 2008.
New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins has been covering clashes pitting Taliban militants against the Afghan and Pakistani governments; he joins Fresh Air to talk about recent developments in the region.
In Descent into Chaos, Ahmed Rashid examines the United States' failures in Central Asia, where, the author says, Washington has helped create an unstable Pakistan, a reinvigorated Taliban and a entrepreneurial al' Qaeda that is profiting off the opium trade.