In the Jail of the Taliban My diary begins in Summer 1973, short before the king of Afghanistan was ousted. In about 60 chapters I describe my experiences in the country at the Hindu Kush from 1973 and the fall of the king, throughout the time under the Taliban regime to the time of Western
In the Jail of the Taliban
My diary begins in Summer 1973, short before the king of Afghanistan was ousted.
In about 60 chapters I describe my experiences in the country at the Hindu Kush from 1973 and the fall of the king, throughout the time under the Taliban regime to the time of Western military operations and attempted democratisation.
Among many other experiences, I was arrested and imprisoned twice during this time, had to live temporarily in the bunker of the Turkish embassy and had an amazing interview with Mullah Muttawakil, the personal spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Omar and later Taliban Foreign Minister.
I describe my personal feelings and doubts as well as political and human events, movements in the population and developments in the country.
Nothing about this manuscript has been invented or added – however, to avoid endangering anyone, I left out some of my experiences. I changed some names to protect friends and informants.
Whether the last chapter will ever be finished is questionable. I am supposed to be back to Kabul in 2019, but the security situation is so bad that my clients are unlikely to get me into the country. “German media trainer murdered by Taliban” would be a catastrophic headline for everyone involved.
Is it actually possible to love a country like Afghanistan? Or learn to love it? A country with so much drama, blood, grief and countless wrong political decisions on all sides? I don’t know if you can. I can do it.
It was often difficult for me to confess this love for the country and the people. Especially to myself. After all, Afghan authorities of different colours have twice managed to throw me in prison under flimsy pretexts. The second time literally with water and bread.
I often think of friends in Afghanistan, Wahab, who still enjoys my full trust, Moheb, who in reality has a different name and who has always been of great help without asking questions – especially in Kabul and Fayzabad, Mustafa, the interpreter who was imprisoned twice because of my work and carelessness, Tarik, who studied in the GDR and has been suffering quietly and devotedly in his Afghan homeland for many years And there are many others, many of whom consider it too risky to be mentioned here.
This text is something like a diary – although I have not always written down my impressions and experiences. In order to write these reports, I searched deeply in records and memories and again and again took the help of people with whom I was in Afghanistan together or to whom I reported “scalding warmly”.
Nothing in “In the Jail of the Taliban” I have invented, added to or “reinforced”. But I left a lot of things out. Sometimes it was very difficult for me to leave it out, but to protect friends, acquaintances, companions and myself from enemies it was impossible to avoid it. Almost anything in Afghanistan can be threatening – especially for those who disagree or are too honest.
I describe my experiences in the years of 1973, 1996, 2001, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2016, seven trips representing my more than 100 visits to Afghanistan. Journeys in the seven years that have massively changed the country on the Hindu Kush.
Following this prologue, the first chapter of the Afghanistan Diary (out of 60) will be published on 1 August 2018.
There will be a new chapter every 14 days.
Dieter Herrmann, the author of this Afghanistan diary, lives in Australia, reports from there for German television stations and is editor-in-chief of the only German-language newspaper in Australia.
He is known as a media trainer for radio and television stations all over the world as well as media trainer for senior managers, officers and pilots.
Contact with the author and further information about the offered media training via the homepage of this blog or at dieter(at)australia-news.de (please replace the (at) with the @-sign!)
Translation from German to English with the help of www.deepl.com