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Making Friends Among the Taliban

A Peacemaker's Journey in Afghanistan
Making Friends Among the Taliban

By author: Jonathan P. Larson
Product Code: 9665
ISBN: 9780836196658
Pages: 134
Binding Information: Paperback / softback
Size: 8.00 x 5.00 inches

Publication Date: 10/19/2012

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The Sharron Valley is as majestic, harsh, and remote as any in Afghanistan. In the summer, snowmelt feeds a silver ribbon of river, and the valley floor is strewn with stones and boulders. On each side, mountain walls rise steeply away to the crests of the Hindu Kush. As far as the eye can see, there is hardly any sign of human settlement. Not by chance is it home to the elusive snow leopard, ibex, and Marco Polo sheep.

On the silent valley floor, on a summer day in 2010, sits a caravan of three white Land Rovers. Closer examination suggests a desperate story. On small grassy mounds around the vehicles, bodies lie prostrate under a cobalt sky. Others are strewn in and under the vehicles where the victims took cover. All of them taken out execution-style. Ten in all.

The sketchiest outline of what happened there along the river emerges from the testimony of a passing shepherd who witnessed the events from the surrounding hills, and from the sole survivor, a young Afghan driver.

Making Friends Book Trailer

In Making Friends among the Taliban, childhood friend Jonathan Larson retraces Dan’s nearly forty years in Afghanistan and, through interviews and eye witness accounts, relays Dan’s incredible way of daily living. Facing famine, poverty, prison, and rifle muzzles—and across three decades of kings, the Red Army, warlords, the Taliban, and the American-led coalition—Dan found improbable friendships across the front lines of conflict and inspired small Afghan communities to find a better way of life. This inspirational narrative of Dan’s life and friendships offers a model for living authentically wherever we are.

Read a sample chapter here.

Free downloadable study guide available here.

Jonathan Larson and others share more captivating stories from Dan Terry’s life, in the complementary documentary, Weaving Life: The Life and Death of Peacemaker Dan Terry, available here.

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Foreword by Michael Semple

Map of Afghanistan
Introduction: Rescued Marbles

1. Chosen by Afghanistan
2. Kebabs with a Captor
3. The Dantri Road
4. Enfranchising Others
5. Unarmed and Dangerous
6. Delicate Transactions
7. Pathos in the Backcountry

Afterword: Knotted into the Same Carpet
About the Author

"In early August 2010, 10 aid workers were murdered, execution-style, in the province of Badakhshan, in northeastern Afghanistan. Among them were six Americans, two Afghans, a Briton, and a German, all part of a medical mission. It was the deadliest attack on aid workers the country had seen. Dan Terry, 63, an American humanitarian who, with his family, had called Afghanistan home for more than 30 years, was among the dead. What compels a person to risk his or her life in a foreign land so riddled with conflict? For Terry it was simple—he was called to a life of peacemaking and service..." Read more,/a> —Mary Kate MacIsaac, Unhindered Hope, published in Sojourners April 2013

"The more people find moral meaning in telling the stories of Dan Terry’s work, the better they are equipped to promote peace. I suspect Dan would not want us to remember him as a saint. But . . . we can certainly remember him as a hero of the age."
—Michael Semple, leading practitioner of conflict resolution in Afghanistan and South Asia; from the foreword

"Dan Terry sought the back seat in tea shops across Afghanistan to practice ‘small talk as peacemaking,’ insisting on the good in all people. A powerful and vivid tribute."
—Doug Pritchard, former co-director, Christian Peacemaker Teams

"Dan Terry proved that even the most desperate circumstances can yield hope and understanding. Jonathan Larson pays tribute to a remarkable man, recounting episodes that are as truly improbable as they are inspiring."
—Stephen Alter, author of Amritsar to Lahore: Crossing the India-Pakistan Border

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