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Sultaani Munaadi A Tajik life no more... Rate Topic: -----

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 04:51 PM


Terrorist Awghan Taliban together with the occupying terrorist western basterds killed this distinguished Tajik journalist and interpreter.

His untimely and tragic death is a poignant reminder that Tajik nation is the first to suffer and is sacrificing the most.

Sultan Munadi was a true Tajik from the highest peaks of Hindu Kush Mountains, from Aastaana of Panjsher Valley.

In life he touched all those he met and in his death he has left all those who have known him in deep sorrow and mourning and they feel privileged to have met him.


Sultan Munadi...rest in peace...you're in our thoughts...




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From The Times September 10, 2009

Hell, no, I’ll never leave Khorassan permanently

Sultan Munadi

I grew up in the Panjshir Valley, in a place that is a three-hour walk from the nearest road. We don’t have a lot of iron there, we don’t have concrete, we don’t have these artificial things. It’s a completely natural place.

When I went to Germany to study for a master’s degree in public policy I saw concrete everywhere, a lot of glass, asphalt and artificial things. It was depressing, very boring for me. I was dreaming of the dust, I was dreaming of nature in my country, of the mountains. It’s really nice to be back for a while, it’s very hard to be away for two years.

If I were a teenager, it would be easier to be integrated into the society in Germany, but now at the age of 34, it is difficult to be away from my country. I would not leave Khorassan. I have passed the very darkest times of my country, when there was war and insecurity. I was maybe four or five years old when we went from my village into the mountains and the caves to hide, because the Soviets were bombing.

Now I am hopeful of a better situation. And if I leave this country, if other people like me leave this country, who will come to Khorassan? Will it be the Taleban who come to govern this country? That is why I want to come back, even if it means cleaning the streets of Kabul.

Being a journalist is not enough; it will not solve the problems of Khorassan. I want to work for the education of the country, because the majority of people are illiterate. That is the main problem facing many of Khorassanis. I am really committed to come back and work for my country.

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 04:53 PM

September 9, 2009, 6:50 pm

Colleagues Remember Sultan Munadi

By The New York Times

New York Times reporters reflect on their work with Sultan Munadi, an Afghan journalist who was taken captive with foreign correspondent Stephen Farrell in northern Afghanistan on Saturday. Mr. Munadi was killed in a commando raid early Wednesday morning that freed Mr. Farrell.


Barry Bearak, South Asia Bureau Co-Chief, 1998-2002

In today’s story, Sultan Munadi is referred to as a translator, and that’s true as far as it goes. He did translate. But Mr. Munadi, as well as the other “translators” who have worked—and continue to work—for The Times in Afghanistan are also skilled journalists. They accompany Western reporters into the field, leading as much as following. They are a walking Who’s Who, historian, guide, lie detector, supply sergeant, master of logistics, taking equal the risks without equal the glory or pay. One more thing: “translators” like Mr. Munadi take responsibility for the reporter’s life.


Sultan Munadi had the look of a scholar or a poet. He was tall and gaunt. His eyes were serious, though there was a twinkle to his smile.


When he first joined me on a story, I rather pedantically told him that we had to get quotes exactly right. “Yes, I fully understand,” he assured me and there was a confidence to his answer and a piercing intelligence to his face. Sultan looked smart, and he was. I thought to myself, “I may be giving the orders here, but this guy has got me beat by 40 IQ points.”

In 1996, when the Taliban rolled across the country and into power, Mr. Munadi was studying journalism at Kabul University. He also was teaching a course in English. With the Taliban in charge, his studies had to be suspended. He went to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the town of Gulbahar in Parwan Province, about 50 miles north of Kabul. This was near a front line, where the Northern Alliance had made their southernmost stand against the Taliban. Mr. Munadi served as the ICRC’s liaison with the alliance, forces under the command of the legendary guerrilla fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud.

This coincided with Sultan’s allegiances. Like Massoud, he was a Tajik from the Panjshir valley. His father had fought in the jihad against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. The family worked a farm in the village of Astana. Their house was used as a command post for the mujahedeen and bombed by the Russians.

With the Taliban driven from Kabul, Sultan returned to his formal journalism studies while also working for The Times. When he was graduated, party was held at a newly-opened restaurant. I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Munadi’s favorite professor. “Sultan was the very best of my students,” he told me.


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Amy Waldman, South Asia Bureau Co-Chief, 2002-2005

My main memory of Sultan is laughing with him. He was extremely intelligent, scrupulous, honest, curious, dedicated, and fair, but he was also full of mirth – prepared to find almost anything funny, from a politician’s hypocrisy to the not-always-adept Afghan bureaucracy to my weak wisecracks. He had a very distinctive laugh – like a hard giggle, or a soft cackle, a hearty laugh from someone built like a beanpole.

When I was leaving South Asia in 2005 I went to dinner with Sultan and the other interpreters with whom I had worked. Somehow the conversation turned to all the collateral damage their bodies had sustained during the Talban years – another young Afghan had shot his knees crawling for months on the ground while working for a de-miner; Sultan had ruined his back lugging wood through the mountains of the Panjshir Valley. More than any of them, he seemed to find this hilarious – the way the Taliban had left them old men’s bodies — which only proved how little they had touched his spirit.

Like many Afghans he loved poetry and music and was thrilled – and a huge help — when I decided to profile a poet running for President or write a story about Ahmad Zahir, the “Afghan Elvis,” of whom he was a huge fan. He took me to Zahir’s grave, to his unofficial biographer.

When I wanted to write about Afghan women, he helped me find women who could work with me to interpret. He took me home to meet his sister, who he felt, by virtue of being a woman, was too often trapped in the house.

Sultan had the most erect posture of anyone I’ve ever met. It was regal, and it was revealing: he himself was so straight, quite literally upstanding. In his motives, his agenda, he had the clarity of water – there was nothing hidden. He was an entirely selfless man: he would do anything for us; for his family; for his country. He named his first son “Parsaa,” a Dari/Persian word that means, he wrote me, “one who avoids or refuses to commit any sin,” words that could apply to the father as well.

He would always pause for a second before starting to translate, as if thinking it over, making sure he had it right, then say, “Okay,” and launch in. If he’d realized he’d forgotten a detail he’d call or e-mail to make sure you had it, a kind of meticulousness that comes not from rote compulsion, but from a profound need to do justice to whomever or whatever we were writing about. That same sense of justice made him, despite his gentle demeanor, very forceful in arguing when he thought a wrong was being done, or information or access denied improperly. He was a Tajik, from the Panjshir Valley, but in relying on his political assessments, I never doubted his neutrality, his honesty. He was interested in truth, not tribe.

All of our interpreters, Sultan among them, were men in their 20s who had lost years to the Taliban, almost always leaving school or university and finding work to support their families. And so when Taliban rule ended, they began making up for lost time. In less than eight years Sultan became a remarkably skilled journalist, whose reporting skills I trusted as much as my own (more actually, since he knew Afghanistan in a way I never would), while also finishing university. He secured a house in Kabul. He got engaged, married (to a woman, he made sure I knew, who had finished high school and would be attending university) and fathered two sons. He left the Times to go work in the Afghan media even though it was, in his own words, “financially risky,” because he felt the country’s future depended on having a strong and independent indigenous media. He went on exchange programs to Europe; began a master’s program in Germany. He was ambitious, but only for Afghanistan. He should have had more time to make use of, to give Afghanistan use of, his many gifts; more time with his family; more time to savor his freedom.

When he finished university at the end of 2003, Sultan wrote me, as part of a conversation about what he would do next:

“…we are in a position to be surrendered to our destiny; [that] means whatever the life has brought on us, we’ve accepted or tolerated that.
Now with new things in Afghanistan, we also are deciding some new things; but so far I’ve not chosen where I should go to work in the future…. In fact I’m eager to work as a journalist, to be a bit free, to think of what should I write, to have free access in the society and so on…but I don’t know if I’ll have all these things in the future.”

By the time he died, he had decided that education, not journalism, was the better way for him to serve Afghanistan. But I don’t think he ever would have imagined, both because of his belief in journalism’s validity and his own trusting nature, that shouting “journalist” - and his voice is vivid enough in my head that I am haunted by knowing just how he would have sounded - wouldn’t have been enough to protect him.


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David Rohde, South Asia Bureau Co-Chief, 2002-2005

What I admired most about Sultan was his decision to leave The New York Times to work for an Afghan-run public interest radio station and production company. He was doing exactly what should happen in nations trying to rebuild themselves after war. An ambitious, intelligent young local journalist works with foreigner reporters, learns from them and then launches his own local media outlet. Afghan institutions and leaders have the best chance of stabilizing the country, not foreign ones.

Watching Sultan and other Afghans who worked with us learn, gain confidence and set out on their own was one of the greatest joys of my time in Afghanistan. When Americans asked me whether there was hope for the country, Sultan and his friends came to mind. Years of war robbed he and his generation of their youth. Yet they showed no bitterness or cynicism. They emerged from deprivation with a deep sense of responsibility toward family, friends and country.

Sultan, somehow, gently balanced Afghanistan’s harshness with its joys. His good cheer and laughter were infectious. When I left the region in 2005, Sultan — with his incandescent grin — was the first
person to take to the dance floor at my going away party. Coaxing others to join him, he quickly had every person who worked at the bureau dancing with him in a circle, clapping, smiling and singing.

His sudden kidnapping and death devastated everyone who worked with him. It also reinforced a perception among Afghans that Western lives are considered more valuable than Afghan ones. To me, it illustrated a point that seems to surprise many people in the United States. As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, many Americans ask me why Afghans are not doing more to resist the Taliban. In truth, vastly more Afghan soldiers, policemen and journalists have perished in the
struggle against the Taliban than foreigners. Sultan is only the latest example.

After learning that the Taliban had kidnapped Sultan and Steve, I felt camaraderie with them. Last November, the Taliban kidnapped me, an Afghan journalist, Tahir Luddin, and our driver, Asad Mangal, after inviting us to an interview. On June 20th, Tahir and I escaped from our captors after seven months in captivity. Asad returned home five weeks later.

After our escape, Sultan sent me a typically euphoric email. In the rush of events, I failed to answer him. After Sultan’s kidnapping and death, I felt enormous regret. Sultan deserved better from me. Sultan deserved better from the world. His email speaks for itself.

I felt I came out from a dark prison because I was feeling how difficult the last 7 months have been for you. Oh my God! I’m really really happy for this great news. I’ll thank billions of times the God for this freedom. I congratulate your freedom to you and your wife and all your family and freinds including myself. I’m extremely happy, wish you all the best. I really feel that you are born for the second time in this world.
Thanks God!

All of us who had the honor of being Sultan’s friends wish he had been born a second time as well.


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Ruhullah Khapalwak, Reporter, Kabul Bureau

Sultan Munadi was a good and close friend of mine. We spent almost four years working at the same office and after work we all would sit in the backroom of the office to listen to Sultan telling us the stories of his trips abroad when he visited Sweden in 2004 for a short journalism course. He was a very humble, kind, gentle and honest person. He would always talk about how the conflict could be ended in Afghanistan with negotiation and giving rights to everyone. He was very eager to complete his studies in Germany and return back home to serve the people of Afghanistan.

One most memorable trip with Sultan was in 2004 when he invited us to his home village in the Panjshir valley where we had to walk for four hours from the main road to reach his house at the top of the Hindu Kush mountains. Sultan made the journey in only two hours and he would skip away to visit friends on the way and then would be waiting for us higher up sitting on a rock as we climbed so slowly. His home was made of stone, and he and his father and brothers had rebuilt it by hand after the Russians bombed it during the 1980s.

Sultan Jan you will always be in our thoughts and memories. My prayers go to him and his family!


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Tyler Hicks, Photographer

I spent the past two months on assignment in Afghanistan for The New York Times. Last week I boarded a flight to Istanbul, and on my arrival read about an airstrike in Kunduz that killed more than 80 people. What I didn’t know was that yet another life would be lost just days later, that of my friend Sultan, a translator for the Times.

Working in Afghanistan is dangerous. We understand the reality of that, whether those risks involve patrolling with the American military on an embed or dashing out the door of our office in Kabul to a suicide attack. Joined by a driver and often a translator, you trust them with your life.

Sultan was among a small group of men I had grown to rely on for my work, but more importantly he was a friend with a drive to better his country. His motivation was not self-serving, but to gain knowledge
to bring back to Afghanistan. He was a patriot in the truest form.

The last time I saw Sultan was during breakfast at The New York Times bureau in Kabul. As I drank my coffee we talked about his village in Panjshir. He told me about how his family had worked to rebuild their home, a three-hour walk from the nearest road, after it was destroyed during the Russian occupation. His life was never void of war or conflict, yet his optimism and hope stayed with him to his death.


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Jane Scott-Long, Bureau Manager, Baghdad

I was utterly shocked and bereft when I heard about Sultan’s death this morning.

How could this have happened? Why did it happen? How could it have been prevented? These were some of the many thoughts that were racing through my mind early today when thinking of Sultan and our working relationship that went back a long way.

Without Sultan, The New York Times Kabul bureau would not be the place it is today. He and I worked together getting it up and running in 2002 after many months of terrible living conditions in The Guest House From Hell we were then residing in just around the corner. He was my eyes, ears and voice in unfamiliar territory after the fall of the Taliban. I trusted his judgment with negotiations, and I trusted him with my life. No question.

He took me once to the Panjshir Valley to visit Ahmad Shah Massoud’s grave and then on to his family in a remote area further up the valley — which we never reached because of the ruggedness of the terrain.
“No matter,” he said, “I’ll have my family walk down from the village to meet us on the road”, which he did, and we had tea on the hillside instead. Sultan was a gentleman through and through. He was very proud of his heritage. The bureau today is filled with hilarious stories of trekking to Sultan’s village — he wanted everyone to see where he belonged , and he told us, in the blog he wrote on the Times website on Sept. 2, that he that he never wanted to live anywhere but at home.

But as I think of Sultan today, it is with laughter as much as with tears. One day, not long after arriving in Afghanistan, I was heading out into Kabul to source materials for our new bureau. Without a bureau driver available for the daily cruise around the shopping district, he offered to chauffeur me around in his own vehicle, instead of using a taxi, which he thought would be much safer. But this seemed like rather less of a good idea after I caught sight of his vehicle, which looked like something out of the demolition derby.

There was one functioning door, one seat for the driver, a vacant space beside him, and a single backseat behind that which was permanently fixed in recline mode, in a sort of makeshift, backroads equivalent of business class. I looked at this, and launched into a polite back-and-forth:
Was the car licensed to be on the road? Did he have a driving licence?
Where were the seat belts? And more to the point, could he drive?
Sultan’s answers were not likely to have persuaded any traffic policeman, but he was proud of the fact that he had four good tires (by Afghan standards, anyway) and offered to follow a route where punctures were unlikely and a relatively quick return to the bureau was assured. So I clambered in. But, quickly, we went no-where; the vehicle wouldn’t start — and I thought, “there’s a god in heaven, after all.”

After a short stint back in Kabul myself recently, I left just before he arrived back from Germany. I’m so terribly sad too to have missed seeing him; that would have been the icing on the cake. He was, for me, a splendid, utterly solid character, the best of Afghanistan, and one of the finest people I’ve met in a lifetime of traveling abroad.
It’s a terrible loss.

Rest in peace Sultan.


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Khaleeq Ahmad is the former deputy director of communications and spokesman on international affairs for the Office of the President of Afghanistan.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up in Kabul in fear, expecting reports of riots and demonstrations, as the elections commission had declared President Karzai, the winner of the second elections the day before. However, what I heard was a different tragic news, the untimely death of a great Afghan journalist, Sultan Munadi. Munadi worked with the New York Times and was killed during a rescue operation by the British Special Forces.

From 2002 to 2007 working as a Press Officer for the President’s Office in Kabul, I interacted frequently with Afghan nationals who worked for the major international media outlets. Most of the time, I found them to be more useful and easier to work with than their international counterparts, as they were always in Afghanistan while their international counterparts came for short visits from time to time. I found many of these Afghans as the true voice of the international media, bearing all difficulties in this war torn country to provide accurate news to the world. They were different from many of the local Afghan media groups, as they were not politicized, all were educated and independent in their thinking. Many of the local media groups in Afghanistan are driven and owned by warlords or wealthy businessman promoting their own agenda and interests.

Most of the international media calls the group of people like Sultan Munadi, as “fixers” or “translators”. I found them to be the actual reporters, because it was them who gathered information, interviewed people and briefed their counterparts and helped them understand the situation.

I also felt that they did not get the respect they deserved, not only from their international counterparts but also from some of the Afghans. Today, this group of Afghan journalists working with international media outlets came together to mourn Sultan’s tragic death. I joined as well. We all met at a roundabout in Kabul and drove to his house. As everyone was trying to console his father, he kept asking, “tell the British to bring back my son, tell NY Times to bring back my son”. He held me in despair and said, “Please, can they bring back my son?” I had no answer for the devastated father.

As tears started falling from my eyes, I started to look around the room. All of Sultan’s counterparts working for international media agencies were sitting there. They were all shocked and were probably wondering that Sultan could have been one of them. Mr. Farrell, in his account of the kidnapping, said that a Talib told Sultan that they could get a prison exchange for Mr. Farrell but nothing for him. The same has been the case of other Afghan journalists who have been kidnapped Talib narrated the story of Ajmal Naqshbandi, another Afghan journalist, who was brutally killed in Helmand while the Italian journalist was spared during a heavy debated election time in Italy. I was sure that everyone in the room was wondering how long would it take for the western world and the Taliban to respect Afghan journalists and spare their life even if they cannot be used to exchange prisoners with or in case of the western world be used by governments for public support during election time.

I spoke to his closest friends. They were all furious and deeply saddened by his death, especially when his body was left behind and not flown back with the international journalist who was rescued. For them it didn’t matter who killed him, whether he was killed by the Taliban or the British special forces, what was important for them was why a sketch or picture of Sultan was not given to the Special forces, and also why did they have time to bring back one of their own soldiers who died, and rescue the British journalist, but left Sultan’s body to rot at the house. Sultan was buried right away when his body was brought back to Kabul. His close friends that saw his body in the white shroud, that Muslims wrap bodies before burial, say that the shroud was soaked in red because of his blood, and his body and face could not be recognized. To them this was the sign of utmost disrespect, as they found it to be inhumane and some were saying that we think the Taliban wouldn’t be this heartless.

As everyone around me at the burial service were wondering what they wanted to do next and whether their voice was going to be heard and how were they going to bring justice to his family, at the same time they all felt that nothing was going to be done. He was just an Afghan. Next week he would be just another forgotten story.

I have met many great international journalists in Afghanistan, who realize and understand the importance of their Afghan counterparts and literally become a family. I hope the many different countries working in Afghanistan show the same respect to their Afghan counterparts and threat everyone equally. As Martin Luther King once had a dream about the way Americans lived their lives, many Afghans have similar dreams. But their dreams are not just about living peacefully among each other and the world. Theirs are about the world starting to respect Afghan life, the same way as they would respect one of their own.


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Dr. Dietmar Herz, Director, School of Public Policy, University of Erfurt

Sultan Mohammad Munadi studied at the Erfurt School of Public Policy. On Sept. 9, 2009, when he was visiting his family during the summer vacations, he was killed nearby Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan. Since Saturday the 5th of September he was in captivity under the Taliban together with a reporter of the New York Times. British commandos freed the hostages and during the combat Sultan Munadi died.

Sultan Mohammad Munadi was born on the 22nd of November 1976 in the Panjshir Valley. He belongs to the generation of Afghans who remained in the country throughout the war. Despite the vicissitudes of the war, he studied journalism at the University of Kabul. He wanted to have an impact on his country. After his graduation in 1997, he started working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in his home province. As a reporter, interpreter and manager of the New York Times office in Kabul, he gained further journalistic experience. He showed particular talent as a journalist, but he went even further: After five years he established his own video and radio production company. Within two years he managed to employ 30 journalists who produced documentaries and radio reports about narcotics, the construction of the Afghan Army and the general situation of the country.

To him these accomplishments were not sufficient. Sultan saw that the key to sustainable reconstruction and the fight against poverty lies in education. About the people in Afghanistan and the chance for peace he said, “We have the same body, the same hands, the same feet; now the only thing we need is the knowledge to know how the world functions.” He did not get weary of saying this.

With this in mind, he wanted to prepare himself better for his work in Afghanistan. He started his Master at the University of Erfurt (Erfurt School of Public Policy). After the Master in Public Policy he planned to employ his knowledge in the government –- preferably in the educational sector. He often spoke about establishing a Nongovernmental Organisation for street children.

Sultan was selected among 60 applicants not alone because of his education in journalism and his respective professional experience but also because he distinguished himself through his openness, kindness and foresight. He was –- in his young age — a mature man.

He will remain in our memories as a student, friend, and journalist and a thoughtful person. May his hopes and wishes for his country once come true.

We offer our sincerest condolences to his relatives and friends, above all his wife and two children.

We will have a small gathering in remembrance of Sultan at the beginning of the semester in October.

— Dr. Dietmar Herz, For the Teachers, Staff members and the Students of the Erfurt School of Public Policy



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Many readers have inquired about making contributions to the family of Sultahttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00611/farrel_1_611281a.jpgn Munadi, the slain Afghan journalist. That money, along with funds contributed by the company and its employees, will be forwarded to his family.

Instructions for a wire transfer (recommended outside U.S.).

If you would like to contribute via mail, please send your check to:

Sultan Munadi Fund/The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Fl.
New York, NY 10018
Attention: Foreign Desk
Checks should be made payable to “Sultan Munadi Fund/The New York Times,” noting Mr. Munadi’s name in the memo field.

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Omar Sobhani/Reuters)
Farrell with Munadi during the trip to Kunduz: the British journalist defended the decision to go against military advice




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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:38 AM

are u trying to say taliban and west are working together? 'cause that would really make no sense at all. pakis know what taliban are about and they are more than happy to kill anyone in afghanistan. may he be tajik, may he be pashtun. same like they did to another reporter in karachi or something. and by the way buddy, everyone in afghanistan is suffering while our government just enjoy the money which west gives them and which make them loyal dogs to usa and britain. we are lucky our areas dont get bombed daily like the southern of afghanistan does
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Posted 09 October 2009 - 03:12 PM

Oho!! Great loose.
May God bless him (Aamin)
"Created,to create something special in reward"
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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:00 PM

When this sad event occured i was in Afghanistan. I am sure that he was killed by British soldiers. It was clear for everyone who they search this event and this fact also expressed in TV programes too..
آتش بگير، تا كه بداني چه مي‌كشم
احساسِ سوختن، به تماشا نمي‌شود
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Posted 22 October 2009 - 09:07 PM

In return there dying everyday 100 of Pushtuns. Godallmighty will not forget the mistreathened victims.
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