Kathy Gannon reveals what it was like to report from Kabul and other parts of war-torn Afghanistan during her 18-year tenure as the AP’s correspondent there:
It was Oct. 23, 2001. The U.S.-led coalition had launched Operation Enduring Freedom just two weeks earlier. The bombs were pounding the Taliban’s Afghanistan and every Western journalist covering the story was either in Pakistan or in enclaves in northern Afghanistan controlled by the coalition’s Afghan partners, known as the Northern Alliance. As for me, I was on my way to Kabul, the only Western journalist allowed by the Taliban to return to their territory.
I have been in the region 18 years. I covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the collapse of the communist regime and the four-year rule of the U.S.-backed mujahedeen, led by the Northern Alliance. Those four years were particularly brutal, marked by bloody internecine fighting that left 50,000 Afghan civilians dead in Kabul alone. I was there when the Taliban swarmed into Kabul in September 1996 having sent the Northern Alliance leaders fleeing north. Because I had persisted in my coverage throughout the Taliban rule, meeting them on the front lines, and in their heartland in the south, the Taliban let me back into Kabul while denying all other western reporters access. Some Taliban even knew me from the 1980s Soviet invasion.
More here. Or read an excerpt from Gannon’s book here.