The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Reporter Michael Phillips Talks of Effects From Reporting in Afghanistan


Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Phillips presented his stories from working as a journalist in Afghanistan to students from DC schools through his keynote presentation with photos from Afghanistan. He told the audience at GIN of the aftermath and effects war has on people and told his story.

Phillips has spent over 18 years overseas reporting conflict within the borders of Afghanistan and has experienced a majority of the battle between the Taliban and the U.S. with front line Marines. Phillips has focused on writing on the aftermath of the war and how war can affect those inside the conflict zone and out. People affected consist of close friends and family members of the marines and the physical and emotional outcomes have had many negative endings.

Phillips wrote about the issues family members face when something happens overseas regarding the soldiers. “The family members have been in shock or depressed about what happened, they themselves either try to or even succeed in suicide,” Phillips said.

Phillips also finds himself facing issues regarding his family due to his frequent visits to Afghanistan.

Story continues below advertisement

“It has been my children’s entire lives I’ve been doing this… so I’ve been gone as long as they’ve (his children) existed and they’re just used to it, I don’t think they worry about the danger… they’re used to me being gone for a period of time.”

The Afghanistan War has been going on constantly since 2001 and it has been found that people are recruiting to fight who weren’t even alive during the devastating attacks of September 11. The U.S. has been in conflict with the Taliban, an Islamic extremist group which took over Afghanistan and allowed Osama Bin Laden to set up bases across the country. Throughout the years the Taliban have gotten smarter and have found ways to counter many of the American’s methods, an example would be the Taliban finding ways to trick Marines into thinking that a land mine is in one place but it is really in the other.

During one of Phillip’s trips to Afghanistan, he stopped in the town of Zaranj and everything seemed peaceful until one day the Taliban sent out a member accompanied with an explosive lined pushcart which then exploded next to an unarmored police van which was used to transport marines around the town.

Phillips explains how everything happened so fast and all at once. “Taliban fired with a pushcart the size of an ice cream cart filled with explosives and ball bearings, rammed it into the second pickup truck, the one directly behind us.”

After the incident of the suicide bombing, Phillips had contemplated if he should stop travelling to Afghanistan but he got over these contemplations due to the fact that he’s been overseas from the start of the war and he wants to see how it’s all going to end.

Phillips explained the reason for him always coming back for more is because “There is a little bit of an addictive quality to going there because everything matters, everything is very vivid… you feel like you’re in the middle of something historic and important and you’re able to sort of be a part of it without participating.”

Throughout all of Phillips time in Afghanistan, there was a realization that journalists are targets as well. Phillips had this moment of realization when a journalist was murdered within a conflict zone.

Phillips ended his presentation with a strong statement regarding press safety in conflict zones. “We’re targets now and we can’t pretend that we’re not anymore and that’s… that’s just the reality of what we face now”.

by Peter Sloboda

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *