Meet journalist Chris Sands!

Watch Tom interview journalist Chris Sands with YOUR questions about reporting on Afghanistan,

  • Chris has been writing about Afghanistan since 2005 - living in Kabul for more than nine years.
  • He is the co-author of Night Letters, a biography of the Afghan Islamist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Night Letters was listed as one of NPR’s books of the year for 2020.
  • Chris’ writing and photography has been published in Le Monde, the New Statesman, The Independent, Mother Jones and Aljazeera. In 2008 the New Statesman nominated him for a Foreign Press Award.
  • Now based in the UK, Chris is the South Asia Editor for New Lines Magazine.

Watch Chris' answers and then scroll down for a challenge!

Hello from Chris Sands

(We're aware the audio and video are out of sync on this clip - we are fixing it this week!)

What made you decide to be a Journalist (and a researcher), and what was the most interesting thing about being it?
stupendous_volcano, Upton Cross Primary School, United Kingdom

When you lived in Kabul, did anyone talk about the history of the Taliban or was it considered as a dark era?
storytelling_king, Boutcher C of E Primary School A, United Kingdom

The Taliban were always spoken about in Afghanistan, and even when they weren't spoken about, their influence is always there... and their presence was constant... and my understanding of them altered drastically

Chris Sands on the Taliban

Have you ever felt in danger as a journalist?
agreeable_speech, Lake Bank Pioneer Preparatory, Tunisia (also asked by vibrant_literature, Graveney School, United Kingdom and alert_writer, Cheam Fields Primary Academy, United Kingdom)

If you could write a story to serve the Afghan people, what would you write about?
smart_glacier, Beit Hanoun Prep Girls A School, Occupied Palestinian Territory

What inspired you to stick to your work there in your hard times? Is there anyone whom you would like to mention as your inspiration?
affectionate_hippopotamus, Joypurhat Girls' Cadet College, Bangladesh

Thank you to Chris for his excellent answers about life as a journalist in Afghanistan.

What do you think is the most important thing for foreign journalists to remember when they are reporting on Afghanistan?

Add your thoughts and ideas to the comments below.

Comments (10)

  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    07 Dec 2021

    When talking about Afghanistan, you can't just say anything you think. You have to evaluate your perspective and look for whether it is right or wrong, it could be wrong, may it is a perspective , but it is not an argument, then your perspective can affect that
    in a way. negative for one of them.

    Reply to this comment
    1. chris sands.jpg EXPERT: Chris Sands
      pioneering_wilddog's comment 17 Dec 2021

      Thanks for the great comment. You are absolutely right! Journalists should evaluate their information. Words can be very powerful and we must ensure we try to use them as a force for truth and justice.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    08 Dec 2021

    To take into consideration, before writing about Afghanistan, that the Taliban’s task will not be easy, as it faces many challenges and difficulties that do not start with achieving national interests and political stability and do not end with gaining international legitimacy, and that the most powerful challenge is the extent of the Taliban’s success in ruling and managing the country. Will it succeed or will it lose? Politically, what did you achieve in the war?

    Reply to this comment
    1. chris sands.jpg EXPERT: Chris Sands
      aware_painting's comment 14 Dec 2021

      The West needs to accept that the Taliban are now the rulers of Afghanistan. Only time will tell whether the new government succeeds or fails, but the reality is that the Taliban won the war. The US and Britain in particular need to reflect on their own political and military shortcomings and the reasons for their defeat. Current sanctions against the Taliban have made governing more difficult, but the West should ask itself what political ends are served by pushing millions of Afghans towards starvation.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    08 Dec 2021

    Only people like you feel pain and bitterness, and only those who lived it will convey the full picture. The least foreign journalists do is to immortalize their Afghan brothers. Let them talk about their brothers journalists in Afghanistan and the dangers that threaten them and threaten their profession and colleagues. Word and image. And they talk about the weak support for improving the conditions of journalists there.. To talk about Afghanistan, the bloodiest country for journalists in the world, and that it is at the head of the country that failed to end impunity for the murders of journalists, and that Afghanistan is among the worst countries in the trial records of journalist murders. Let this be a resounding cry for international institutions and the rights of the journalist. Is it not their right that we remember and praise them for their courage?

    Reply to this comment
    1. chris sands.jpg EXPERT: Chris Sands
      aware_painting's comment 14 Dec 2021

      Thank you for the kind words! My solidarity goes to any Palestinian journalists who are reporting with courage and honesty about life under Israeli occupation. Freedom of the press is very important. Journalists should not be detained or killed for doing their work.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg exuberant_keyboard | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    13 Dec 2021

    For foreign journalists, I think the most important thing to to be remembered when reporting an Afghanistan is transfer actions, news and events as neutral persons far away from biasing to or against any particular part.
    Foreign journalists should be keen to explore and search in depth to find facts not to interpret findings according to their their own perspectives.

    Reply to this comment
    1. chris sands.jpg EXPERT: Chris Sands
      exuberant_keyboard's comment 14 Dec 2021

      Thanks for the comment! You have made some excellent points. I think it is important for foreign journalists to spend as much time as possible in the places they are writing about. We all have our personal opinions and biases, but even these will change over time if we look at issues in depth. Good journalism requires accuracy and empathy. Our job is to listen to local people.

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg independent_technology | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    15 Dec 2021

    I think that the job of the journalist is very dangerous, contrary to what people think it is easy..!
    Especially in wars, that is, they are at any time vulnerable to attack and killing...
    Also, there are many Internet sources that contain (false news), meaning that the mission of the press is to show us all the facts, and the media occupies an important role in a democratic society. Great for making public opinion..!
    Freedom of expression is also considered one of the most important goals of the press. The press gives people the right to express an opinion, and expresses different opinions in society; Where it is the voice of the voiceless, and the press provides people with adequate information and reports about what is going on around them in the world; Such as current global affairs that include political or public issues, fashion developments, and other various events..!

    Reply to this comment
    1. chris sands.jpg EXPERT: Chris Sands
      independent_technology's comment 17 Dec 2021

      Thank you for such a thoughtful and perceptive comment! The danger of fake news means it is more important than ever that journalists verify their information. It is also vital that members of the public cross-check their own news sources. Twitter and Facebook are often used to spread disinformation. Do not believe something just because it is posted online.

      I would urge everyone reading this to study the work of journalists they admire and think hard about how they are getting their stories. Good journalism takes patience and commitment.

      Reply to this comment

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