Hamid Mir (Continuación)

Foto de una conferencia de prensa en Afganistán en 1998 con Ayman al Zawahri (centro izquierda) y Osama bin Laden (centro), cerebro de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001. (Foto/Archivo AP) (AP)

Hace 20 años, siete semanas después del 11 de septiembre, fui el último periodista en entrevistar a Osama bin Laden. Nos reunimos en Afganistán, en medio de la campaña de bombardeos de Estados Unidos. Bin Laden se jactó de haber tendido una trampa que acabaría humillando a Estados Unidos en Afganistán, tal como le había sucedido a la Unión Soviética. También predijo que Estados Unidos y los talibanes tendrían conversaciones.

Dos décadas después Bin Laden está muerto, pero esas predicciones se han hecho realidad. Y no fueron las únicas que se cumplieron.

Quizás los estadounidenses pueden tener algo de consuelo en el hecho de que lograron vengarse cuando lo mataron.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this 1998 file photo, Ayman al-Zawahri, center left, and Osama bin Laden, center, hold a news conference in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/File) (AP)

Twenty years ago, seven weeks after 9/11, I was the last journalist to interview Osama bin Laden. We met in Afghanistan, in the middle of the U.S. bombing campaign. Bin Laden boasted that he had laid a trap that would end up humiliating the United States in Afghanistan — just as had happened to the Soviet Union. He also predicted talks between the United States and the Taliban.

Two decades later bin Laden is dead, but those predictions have come true. And they weren’t the only ones that did.

Americans can find some small consolation, perhaps, in the fact that they managed to take revenge by hunting him down and killing him.…  Seguir leyendo »

Malala Yousafzai is interviewed ahead of the Cricket World Cup opening party along The Mall in London on May 29, 2019. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

A new law could mark the beginning of the end for Pakistan’s hard-won media freedoms.

In 2009, I set out to broadcast a live show direct from the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan — right after the government had signed a peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban, which controlled the area at the time. But only a few hours before the show, one of my reporter friends, Musa Khan Khel, was gunned down by unknown people in Taliban territory. That evening I led a rally to protest his death. One of the people who came was an 11-year-old blogger by the name of Malala Yousafzai.…  Seguir leyendo »

Suhail Shaheen, Afghan Taliban spokesman and a member of the negotiation team gestures while speaking during a joint news conference in Moscow on July 22. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

The Taliban is playing a shrewd diplomatic game. Even as its fighters advance throughout Afghanistan, they are working to assuage the anxiety of countries across the region. They have conducted talks with the Iranians, the Russians, and the countries of Central Asia. They’ve reassured the Chinese that they have no intention of challenging Beijing’s atrocities against its Muslim minorities. And they have told anyone who will listen — including the Americans — that a Taliban government would not let the soil of Afghanistan to be used as a base for operations against third countries.

That looks like a smart strategy — yet we’ve just seen a striking departure from this pattern.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kaneez Sughra, wife of kidnapped Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan, shows a photo of her husband to journalists in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 21, 2020. (Anjum Naveed/AP)

Sachal is a 3-year-old Pakistani boy. Lately he has spent long hours sitting outside a court in Islamabad with his grandmother, waiting to hear news of the father who was snatched from him when he was just a few months old. Sachal’s father, the journalist and poet Mudassar Naaru, suddenly disappeared when the family was on holiday in August 2018. He hasn’t been heard from since. Sachal’s mother, Sadaf, who led a brave and determined search for answers, passed away last month. The pain of the past three years was too much for her to bear, contributing to a fatal heart attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pakistani journalists and members of civil society take part in a demonstration to condemn attacks on journalists, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28. (Anjum Naveed/AP)

For some elements in Pakistan, it is not enough that I have been taken off the air. They want to see me behind bars. Last month, I was banned from appearing on the talk show I have hosted for two decades, “Capital Talk,” on Geo News. I was also stopped from writing my column in Pakistan’s most popular Urdu-language newspaper, Jang. Now I face the prospect of sedition charges. The maximum punishment under the law is life imprisonment.

My apparent crime was a speech I gave at a protest in solidarity with journalist Asad Toor last month. On the night of May 25, three unidentified men entered Toor’s apartment, tied him up and tortured him.…  Seguir leyendo »

A shopkeeper watches Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan on television, Karachi, March 2021. Photograph: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Once upon a time, Imran Khan and I used to fight for press freedom together in Pakistan. In November 2007, when then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency and banned me from appearing on television, Khan was among the few politicians who stood by me. I took my popular political talkshow on to the streets of Islamabad, where large crowds would come and hear us speak live, and Khan was a regular guest. “When I become prime minister,” he promised, “journalists will have true press freedom.”

Now I have been taken off the air once again, but this time Khan is the prime minister.…  Seguir leyendo »