For twenty years, the Taliban was the number one enemy of Western forces in Afghanistan. But it was an enemy that they knew little about, and about whose founder and leader, Mullah Omar, they knew even less.
Armed with only a fuzzy black-and-white photo of the man, investigative journalist Bette Dam decided to track down the reclusive Taliban chief a decade back. But in the course of what had seemed an almost impossible job, she got to know the Taliban inside out, realized how dangerously misinformed the global forces fighting it were, and made a startling discovery about the elusive Omar's whereabouts.
The outcome of a five-year-long pursuit, Looking for the Enemy is a woman journalist's epic story that takes the reader deep into the dangerous mountains and war-ravaged valleys of Afghanistan as it throws up several unknowns about an organization that is now once again at the helm in one of the world's most fragile states.
"One does not have to like the Taliban to see that Dam offers sound policy counsel ... Dam's richly detailed study, based on years spent tracking the Taliban as an investigative journalist, exposes many of the inner workings of the group - and highlights how little the West truly understands about how the movement functions. Offering a far more nuanced view of the group than has generally been portrayed in the West, her research suggests that policymakers should neither attempt to marginalize the regime completely nor expect the Taliban to bow to international demands. Rather, policymakers should aim to craft an open-minded but clear-eyed policy that avoids overly punitive actions while taking time to understand the organization and identify areas where cooperation is feasible." - Foreign Affairs