Author(s): Terence White
From Soviet-Era Afghanistan to Post 9/11 : Frontline Encounters of the Longest-Serving Foreign Correspondent in Kabul.
Part war correspondent's memoir, part adventure-travel journal, this is the remarkable story of the author's exploits as a frontline photo journalist: from Soviet-era Afghanistan, covering and living with the Mujahadeen resistance and being seriously wounded by mortar shrapnel, to the post 9/11 American invasion and his return to find the female doctor who saved his life.
The story has a strong symmetry: young science graduate leaves NZ in the late 70s and hits the hippy trail, becoming a freelance photo journalist in Afghanistan during the bloody Soviet occupation. He befriends the famous Mujahadeen leader Ahmad Shah Masoud, and learns of the exploits of an Arab rebel working with the local resistance, one Osama bin Laden.
The author is very badly wounded, his life saved in Kabul, and leaves to pursue a quieter life in the US.
On September 9, 2001, Masoud is assassinated by al Qaida, part of the buildup to 9/11.
The author, by then recovered from his wounds, returns to Afghanistan to cover the invasion and hunt for bin Laden. He finds the female doctor who saved his life and sheds some light on the complex modern history and culture of the country, beyond the Western stereotypes. At the same time, he comes to understand his own infatuation with 'hot steel' and learns to abandon his Afghan alter-ego for the sake of his family.