nthposition online magazine

Michael Griffin

Michael's book, Reaping the whirlwind: The Taliban movement in Afghanistan (Pluto Press), was described by the director of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism as "crucial [..] for anyone who wants to understand the limitations of foreign policy". He worked as an information consultant for UNICEF in Afghanistan.

Independence Day

[ places - july 10 ]

"The voting paper - a Rosetta Stone for the bewildered - is littered with icons of surpassing terror, including the Roman alphabet, two dozen head-shots and the same number of symbols"

Fixers

[ politics | people - july 10 ]

"'Money matters,' said Ajmal Naqshbandi, who met a gruesome death in April 2007, 'because these people don't have friendship. They don't know anything about it. They know you while you're working with them, but after that they don't even recognise you.'"

Hearing voices, seeing things

[ places | filmreviews ]

The influential but deceptive role of Persian cinema in Afghanistan

McFate and Co

[ politics | places - may 10 ]

"Though experienced in building roads and wells in Zabul, Loyd was no more a qualified anthropologist than Ayala, a professional mercenary suffering 'prior dormant combat stress injuries' even before the killing."

Jinnah Express

[ places - february 08 ]

"Rawalpindi bristles with moustaches, messes, gun oil - and whiffs of conspiracy. Seven types of traffic expel a soot of diesel into the mid-winter mist through which the bulked-out silhouettes of suicide bombers stride toward indefensible targets."

The tide is full

[ places - april 06 ]

Travel broadens the mind...

The thin green line

[ places - december 05 ]

Despite 30 years of harassment and deprivation, a handful of Greek Cypriots cling to their heritage and rights in northern Cyprus, ageing hostages in one of Europe’s longest, unresolved conflicts.

The Zabul triangle

[ politics - november 05 ]

Free passage in and out of what is almost a no-go area for the US military helps Afghan insurgents implement the more efficient tactics they have learned from Iraqi resistance groups.

Midnight at the Oasis

[ politics - june 04 ]

The Mujahedin of the Arabian Peninsula are emerging from bin Ladin's shadow to project a more pro-active presence at home

The re-opening of the Nile Basin

[ places - march 04 ]

"I had gone to Rumbek to return a book I stole from the library a quarter of a century before." After decades of war, Southern Sudan had changed.

Losing bin Laden

[ bookreviews ]

A worthy contribution to Al Qa'ida studies, even if it pulls its punches.

Dylan's visions of sin

[ bookreviews ]

An academic's take on Mr Zimmerman.

Performance anxiety

[ politics - september 03 ]

Comparisons between the effectiveness of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan may be premature, but comparing their opponents' performance - particularly in videos and audiotapes - reveals intriguing differences in the confidence of the world's two most wanted men.

The battle of Shah-i-Kot

[ politics - february 03 ]

Shah-i-Kot was widely spun as a vindication of the effectiveness of US troops on the ground. Not so: it showed them as unprepared when confronted by their Pashtun and Al Qa'ida enemy.

The road to Kandahar

[ politics - january 03 ]

"I think Tora Bora will prove to have been a strategic deception by Al Qa'ida," said Wesley K Clark, speaking of an operation which cost hundreds of millions of dollars and snared a total of 54 Al Qa'ida loyalists.

The storm of airplanes

[ politics - november 02 ]

"It was a total goat fuck," said one disgruntled member of Delta Force. The military campaign against Al Qa'ida and the Taliban was confusing and confused.

The first circle

[ politics - september 02 ]

Bush's thinking on terrorism was to "focus on the first circle, then expand to the next circle and the next circle." Michael Griffin traces the events leading to the US invasion of Afghanistan.