THE PLANK OCTOBER 20, 2009
If you haven't been reading David Rohde's serialized account of his seven months being held hostage by the Taliban, you should be. It's not only a riveting read, it tells you a lot of stuff about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Taliban that you probably didn't know before. (Matt Cooper has a good rundown of some of the political implications of Rohde's stories.)
And if you have been reading the series, you should check out this Q&A with Rohdes on the NYT's website, which clears up some things from his articles that might have left you puzzled, including what had been one of my more burning questions:
One question- how are the Taliban talking on cell phones? I don’t get reception in many urban parts of the US- but in North Waziristan? Are they hooking the phones up to a transmitter?
- wjjrip, Boston, MA
DAVID ROHDE: The Taliban spoke on cell phones in Afghanistan, which has a fairly comprehensive nationwide cellular phone system. There are areas without service, but most cities and large towns have strong reception. The system is one of the major achievements of the American-led reconstruction effort since 2001.