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Jason Burke

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He’s been called “one of the journalistic band of brothers whose job is to get to the trouble spots ahead of the TV crews and show the electronic media what it is all about.”

Jason Burke has certainly lived up to that descriptor over and over.

Currently the South Asia correspondent for The Guardian and The Observer, he was the first journalist to conduct an interview with President Pervez Musharraf when the latter seized power in 1999.

He was also the first western journalist to enter the city of Khost during the American war in Afghanistan.

He’s been based in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Paris and reported from Gaza, Kurdistan, Algeria, Thailand, Cambodia, Uzbekistan and Jordan. He reported from Iraq during the war of 2003. He’s constantly flung himself into the heart of the world’s most bloody conflicts, with a finely-honed instinct for the big stories. And he has spent years understanding the intricacies, history and nuances of the regions from which he reports, most significantly Afghanistan, on which he wrote the critically-acclaimed Al Qaeda: the True Story of Radical Islam. The book, which examined the ideology and methods of the militant group and described the complexities of modern Islamic radicalism, went on to become the defining in its genre, with Noam Chomsky calling it “the best book there is on the Al-Qaeda.”

Currently based in New Delhi, the Oxford-educated Burke has also authored On the Road to Kandahar and more recently, The 9/11 Warswhich. His work combines old-school rigour with a knack for pacy story-telling and interesting experiences in some of the world’s most challenging areas – a heady mix that gives his writing all the accuracy of an academic work with the appeal of a Dan Brown bestseller.

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