Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Article excerpt

* GONE TALIBAN HUNTING:: Pakistani journalist Owais Tohid checked with contacts in Zabul province, Afghanistan - an area increasingly avoided as too risky by Westerners - before venturing there. "I was told that for a Pakistani, the risk would be less than for a Western journalist."

How did he locate Taliban sympathizers? It wasn't too difficult. "I went into the main city and chatted with three young men wearing the black, Taliban-style turbans," he says.

Owais, who once worked in Kandahar for a Western wire service, knew that direct questioning would get him nowhere. That wasn't the Pashtun way. "We chatted for a good 30 minutes before I even broached the subject. We spoke Urdu. They had lived as refugees in Pakistan and picked it up there," says Owais. "I started dropping names of Taliban leaders, and mentioned my experience in Kandahar. I told them I was a reporter. They never asked for what newspaper. They told me about the living conditions and problems in the region, and eventually one of them invited me to visit his village. …

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