Translators Sought -- Job Opening

I'm about to start a large archive translation project (together with Felix Kuehn and Anand Gopal). We're looking for some high-quality translators to work full-time on a project translating old newspapers and magazines from Pashto (and a small amount of Dari) into English.

The work would be 5 days per week, but you will be free to work from home. I.e. there will almost certainly not be any office for you to work from.

The project will take place over the course of a year, with a possible extension to a second year. We would initially hire you for a trial period before committing to hire you for the full year.

If you're interested, please head on over to the form here and fill it out. We'll get back to you in due course, if and when we're ready to start the hiring process.

UPDATE (JULY): We've stopped taking applications and are working on finalising the hiring process. Thanks for all your interest!

Writing the history of the Taliban movement

Conversations in corridors, in queues for food, or whispered at the back of the auditorium are the lifeblood of conferences. A recent event hosted by the Forum for Arab and International Relations was a good chance to meet some friends and fellow researchers. One discussion ended with the realisation that the definitive history of the Taliban would probably only be written 15 or 20 years from now. It's a sobering thought, although the fact large multi-volume histories of the Second World War continue to be written should temper our surprise.

The problem is one of sourcing. Almost everything so far written about the Taliban -- and I am talking primarily about the pre-2001 period -- has been done on the basis of ad hoc oral history interviews conducted with practitioners within the movement. I cannot think of a historical work that has taken the large written corpus of materials from this time as a source. Similarly, we are still waiting for the institutional history of the movement to be written, one that can explain how the mechanisms of government (such as they existed) functioned during the late 1990s.

In many ways, it is exciting as a researcher to be confronted with such a landscape: almost everything you unearth and touch is of some significance. Certainly, there are many PhDs worth of material still to be written up. A joint translation project (with myself, Felix Kuehn and Anand Gopal) of Taliban primary source material will start work soon, and we hope the provision of originals texts and translations can stimulate some new research and analysis.

There is much work to be done. The history of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan is still to be written.

FT does Kandahar

Good article in yesterday's Financial Times newspaper on Amir Mohammad Agha, very much a so-called 'key player' in Arghandab district of Kandahar province.  Matt Green outlined why he might be important to the viability of US forces in the district, possibly (although I don't know this) invited down there by the 82nd Airborne to impress on Amir Mohammad Agha the importance of which way he decides to choose.  In any case, I don't imagine any 'decision' taken by Amir Mohammad Agha to be public and clear-cut. I was greatly disappointed, however, that Matt missed out on the key point when it comes to Amir Mohammad Agha -- he is Mullah Mohammad Omar's father-in-law.  (and with that, he also missed the extremely important 1980s context and just how involved Amir Mohamad Agha was involved in the early years of the Taliban movement post-1994.