Among the Insurrectionists

“The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold.”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jan 15, 2021
Length: 49 minutes (12,408 words)

The Desperate Battle to Destroy ISIS

The Nineveh Province swat team are part of the multi-agency effort to take Mosul back from ISIS, but their approach differs from other groups. The elite force is composed entirely of Iraqis who ISIS has physically or personally injured, and who want revenge. Their war is personal, and they will not back down.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Feb 6, 2017
Length: 77 minutes (19,470 words)

The Dark Side of Longform Journalism

“In the field, we are actively, aggressively seeking to see with our own eyes the reality of war, famine, disaster—and who isn’t at least somewhat gratified when he discovers what he’s sought, at least somewhat disappointed when he doesn’t?”

Source: LitHub
Published: Jun 16, 2016
Length: 8 minutes (2,208 words)

The Dream Boat

Luke Mogelson and Joel Van Houdt go undercover on a boat taking refugees from Indonesia to Christmas Island in Australian territory. They find a desperate situation, and disbelief from refugees that the place they are trying to reach is not what they hope it will be:

Continuing to brave the Indian Ocean, and continuing to die, only illustrates their desperation in a new, disturbing kind of light. This is the subtext to the plight of every refugee: Whatever hardship he endures, he endures because it beats the hardship he escaped. Every story of exile implies the sadder story of a homeland.

Published: Nov 16, 2013
Length: 40 minutes (10,160 words)

The Scariest Little Corner of the World

A look at the city of Zaranj, near the Iran-Afghanistan border, where Afghan migrant workers are smuggled into and deported from Iran:

“A few years ago, Iran designated the province that borders Nimruz a ‘no go’ area for foreign residents and shortly thereafter began erecting a 15-foot-high concrete wall that now runs more than half the length of its 147-mile border with Nimruz. The Iranian border police — manning guard towers, each within sight of the next — were also said to have changed. There came increasing reports of Afghans being shot and killed by the same authorities who once benignly waved them through. While most of these stories are unverified, they nevertheless reinforced a growing sense that the old road to a new life was now closed. Today migrants who come to Nimruz must travel another 10 hours south into Pakistan, then cross from there into Iran. The journey consists of three legs. Afghan-Baluchi smugglers take you part of the way; Pakistani-Baluchi smugglers take you a littler farther; Iranian-Baluchi smugglers finish the job. For the first stretch — a narrow dirt road through uninhabitable, lunar flatland — roughly 300 drivers share a rotating schedule, each working one day a month. These were the men preparing to depart from Ganj, bristling at my questions about the bomb.”

Published: Oct 18, 2012
Length: 33 minutes (8,366 words)

The Great Taliban Jailbreak

An account of how hundreds of Taliban prisoners escaped from Kandahar’s Sarposa prison in Afghanistan through a tunnel in 2011:

“At 5 a.m., hours after Rahim and his cohorts passed directly beneath his office, the warden of Sarposa Prison, General Dastagir Mayar, was awakened. One of his guards stood in the doorway. The entire political block was empty, the guard said. A stout 57-year-old Pashtun from Wardak Province with a neat helmet of dark hair and a matching mustache, Mayar speaks quickly and with urgency, liberally gesticulating. He wanted to know how.

“‘You have to come and see,’ the guard told him. ‘There’s a hole.'”

Source: GQ
Published: Jun 1, 2012
Length: 25 minutes (6,265 words)

Pacifists in the Cross-Fire: The Kabul Hospital That Treats All Sides

Inside the Emergency Surgical Center for War Victims, a hospital in Afghanistan that’s funded by an Italian NGO and is committed to helping all victims:

“Last year, Emergency’s three hospitals and 34 clinics across Afghanistan treated nearly 360,000 patients. During the course of reporting this article, after visiting these facilities and meeting a number of these patients, I began to wonder how such a responsibility had fallen to a small, modestly financed Italian NGO. This, of course, was connected to a larger question: What is our responsibility to the Afghans who are maimed, burned, disabled and disfigured by a war we started and can’t seem to end?

“According to NATO, even civilians who are injured during operations by U.S. or other coalition forces are only ‘entitled to receive emergency care if there is threat to their life, limb or eyesight.’ In such cases, ‘discharge or transfer to an appropriate Afghan civilian facility is recommended as soon as the patient is stabilized.’ On paper, this might appear to make sense; after all, the United States and other foreign donors have invested vast sums of money in Afghanistan’s public health system. But given the poor quality of care, scarcity of equipment and pervasive graft that still defines most government hospitals, ‘discharge or transfer’ can look a lot like abandonment.”

Published: May 20, 2012
Length: 34 minutes (8,591 words)

Bad Guys vs. Worse Guys in Afghanistan

The elders estimated that more than 100 families had fled Shahabuddin because of the local police. The people were defenseless, they said, and indeed they all seemed cowed and frightened. But before we parted ways, one of them, with a note of defiance, assured me: “Nur-ul Haq has no place in this province. As long as the foreign troops are here, he is king. The minute they go, he should leave the country.” Another agreed: “I bet he can’t stay for one night in Baghlan if there are no foreign troops.” Grinning at the prospect, the old man added, “The people will rise against him.”

Published: Oct 19, 2011
Length: 25 minutes (6,429 words)