The official Sebastian Junger community
Hi Sebastian, I was really impressed with restrepo, and am about to start reading "war" which I think will be just as good. You've become one of my most respected journalists recently, I really liked the anthropological angle you brought to Restrepo and from what I hear in your book as well. Congrats on the nomination,
I just saw your interview in Australia on Lateline, and was wondering where the source for the stat of 400,000 deaths in Afghanisatn in the 90's came from? I hadn't heard that statistic before and think it deserves much wider coverage in the debates about the current situation in Afghanistan. I think most people are unaware what it was like in the 80's during the Societ Invasion, let alone the civil war that followed.
I've been able to trace it to a 2001 Scott Baldauf article in Christian Science Monitor in 2001. The same stat is attributed to Human Rights Watch in a September 2010 article in the Propagandist by Melissa Roddy.
I can't seem to find it on the HRW website after quite a bit of searching. Was wondering if you knew the source for the CSM article? Would be helpful as I like to rely on primary sources if I can.
Hi Ben -
Thank you for that...the civilian casualties are such an important part of this whole conversation, but they tend to get lost in the broader ideological debate about war and intervention.
Your research has taken you in the same circles as Melissa's and mine. I think the 400,000 figure is at best a guess, but I dont know what the primary source was for the CSM article. I was in the middle of my book tour when I was trying to check those figures so i wasnt able to dig very deep, and it may not be an answerable question anyway. I think the best thing you could do would be to bounce the figure off Afghans who were there at the time and see if it seems in keeping with the levels of violence they were experiencing. Good luck with it.