Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 5, 2010.

Update #7

Mission Accomplished!


With a few hours more than a day to go, more than 200 supporters came through with the $25,000 I was trying to raise through Kickstarter.

At this writing, there is $25,845 in funding provided by 210 people. (Kickstarter allows supporters to make pledges over the funding amount; any funds over my initial $25,000 request will be used toward trip expenses that would otherwise have come out of my pocket.) Amazing!

Thank you to everyone who pledged funds toward my upcoming return to Afghanistan. I am in awe of your tremendous generosity and commitment to independent journalism, literally putting your money where my mouth is, at a time of extreme economic pain and when the mainstream media seems to have abandoned the search for truth in favor of access. I promise to work hard to justify your trust and faith in me.

I will be posting updates here and elsewhere to keep you advised about the progress of this project. In the next few months, I will need to obtain visas for Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including Iran, arrange flights and alert fixers, find the perfect hat to keep the desert sun off, and consider the painful prospect of growing the world’s ugliest beard. I’m currently planning for a trip throughout the month of August.

I will file blog entries from Afghanistan, and when I get back I’ll have a book to write. And hopefully I will find out some things worth knowing about a country the United States military has been occupying for nearly a decade—with no end in sight.

Update #6

Three More Days


So close! I'm seriously on pins and needles about this. It's hard to believe the whole $25K won't come through, but at this point it's a 50-50 guess either way. If you've been sitting on the fence, now would be a good time to clamber down and pony up (sorry for the mixed metaphors).

In other Afghanistan-related news, looks like I'll have at least one more cartoonist as a traveling companion (no, they won't be reporting from there, they're along for the ride).

Update #5

Heading Toward the Finish


My plan to return to Afghanistan this summer is halfway there--more than 140 backers have put up 50% of the $25,000 I will need (I'm also going to spend about $10,000+ of my own money) to get there and around. War zones are crazy expensive, and this is actually the bargain rate for this sort of journalism, particularly when one isn't backed by a major publication or broadcasting company.

This is the do-or-die phase. I'm halfway there, but there are less than two weeks left. Unless the pace of pledges accelerates, I won't make it. If you have been considering whether or not to participate, please think about it now!

As always, I remain ready, willing and able to answer any and all questions, comments, concerns, etc. about this project.

Update #4

Farrar, Strauss & Giroux To Pubish the Book


If this project is successful and I therefore make it to Afghanistan this summer--probably August--I have reached an agreement with Hill & Wang, a division of the major publishing house Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, to publish a resulting book in the format of a reporter's notebook/memoir.

In addition, I am working on the possibility of filing long-form reportage pieces from the frontlines for a major US newspaper.

So if this happens, there will definitely be some great coverage.

Right now, I'm on pins and needles. $11,000 is raised, but there are only 20 days left and $14,000 left to go. Crossing fingers...crossing fingers...Thanks to everyone who has pledged money so far, and feel free to contact me for any reason.

Update #3

Excerpt from "Silk Road to Ruin"


And here's an excerpt from "Silk Road to Ruin," about Central Asia (2006).

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    Receive blog updates about the project, dispatches from Afghanistan in real time, plus updates about the book and resulting articles after I return (this applies to all larger awards)

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    Get a copy of the book, personally signed with a sketch

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    You'll be personally thanked in the Acknowledgments section of the book, plus signed copies of the new book as well as To Afghanistan and Back and Silk Road to Ruin

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    You get the signed book, the thank-you in said book, plus an original piece of artwork from the book, plus signed copies of the new book as well as To Afghanistan and Back and Silk Road to Ruin

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    Pledge $5000 or more and I will meet you for dinner or drinks (and pick up the tab) anywhere in the New York City metropolitan area. Plus the books, thank-you, and original artwork!

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    Pledge $10,000 or more and I will travel anywhere within the continental United States to meet you for dinner or drinks. If you'd like, I'll present a talk and show about my experiences in Afghanistan to you, your friends and/or a local organization. Plus the books, thank-you, and original artwork.

Funding period

- (89 days)