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By David Rohde

The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times reporter's abduction via the Taliban, and his wife's fight to unfastened him.

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We assume it will be a matter of one to three months, based on what I have learned from the FBI about recent kidnappings in Afghanistan. I already miss my husband’s voice. We routinely speak each night when he is away. Despite the uncertainty of his whereabouts I’m deter­ mined to maintain our nightly ritual. I send an e-mail to my husband. I type three simple words into the subject line in the hope that he will one day read them: I love you. MILLIONS David, November 11–17, 2008 I awake to the sound of the guards performing a predawn prayer with Tahir and Asad.

I knew Afghanistan as the “graveyard of empires,” a reference to its reputation as a land of indomi­ table mountain warriors who vanquish invading armies. Over the next seven years, I gradually developed a more nuanced un­ derstanding. Afghanistan was not unconquerable. Foreign armies had taken control of Kabul and other large cities in the strategically located swathe of Central Asia dozens of times. First the Persians, then Alexan­ der the Great, then the Safavids, and finally the Muslim Arabs; Ghengis Khan’s Moguls, British, and Soviets did the same.

During Christmas and Ramadan in Lashkar Gah, Pash­ tuns and Americans invited one another to each other’s homes to celebrate their respective religious holidays. Americans who worked in Lashkar Gah at the time told me Pashtuns were shockingly poor and isolated, yet dignified, generous, and welcoming. David Champagne, a Peace Corps volunteer from Chicago, taught English at the high school in Lashkar Gah from 1968 to 1971. He recalled an experimental school where Afghan and American teachers worked together to train a new generation of Afghan leaders and technocrats.

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