When Western journalists go to conflict and war zones abroad there is no
one there more vital to their security and the success of a story than
fixers. They are reporters’ eyes and ears, they make the fascinating
articles we read in the papers happen. Ian Olds’s Fixer: The
Taking of
Ajmal Naqshbandi
, a documentary which airs on HBO August 17, is
a story of one such
relationship between a Western journalist, The Nation‘s Christian
Parenti, and his fixer in Afghanistan Ajmal Naqshbandi, “the best fixer
in Afghanistan.” Naqshbandi helped Parenti to work on all of his Afghanistan stories for The Nation in the wake of
the US
invasion: “Who
Rules Afghanistan”
; “Afghan Poppies
Bloom”
; “Afghanistan: The
Other War”
; and “Taliban
Rising”
.

In 2007 Naqshbandi was kidnapped together with a driver and an Italian
reporter when the three went to a southern province of Afghanistan on
assignment. “I lost the trust,” says Naqshbandi’s friend, also a fixer, fully realizing the
dangers of what he was doing. “I’m a hundred percent sure that if I’m
kidnapped, I’m gone.”

Olga Razumovskaya

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