Selected Stories

An up-to-date list can be found at the Longform Archive

The Master of Spin Boldak: Undercover with Afghanistan's Drug-Trafficking Border Police.

Harper's, December 2009

My breakthrough article tells the story of the rise to power of General Abdul Raziq, the most powerful warlord in southern Afghanistan, through his cooperation with the US military and his involvement in the opium trade. The article was eventually taught to US intelligence analysts as part of their training in the region.

Our Man in Kandahar

The Atlantic, November 2011

A finalist for the National Magazine Award, this article is a follow-up to the 2009 Harper's piece and reflects two years that I spent on multiple trips to Kandahar Province, gathering a conclusive dossier of evidence that General Abdul Raziq and his men have systematically murdered and tortured Afghans in the areas they control. This, in turn, suggests that US support for him may be illegal.


Jamming Tripoli

Wired, June 2012

I travel to Libya to report on dictator Moammar Gadhafi's secret Internet surveillance empire, and tell the stories of the activists his regime targeted. The article reveals that, with the assistance of Western technology companies, Gadhafi's spies were able to assemble a system capable of monitoring nearly all email and Internet traffic within the country. It's part of a disturbing new technological frontier of increasing government surveillance.


The Siege of September 13

GQ, March 2012

"The CRU men, exhausted, smoked their cigarettes in the bullet- and shrapnel-pocked hallways, crouching in strangely intimate proximity to their enemies."

 A by-the-minute account of a daring Taliban suicide squad's assault on the seat of US power in Afghanistan -- and of the counter-strike commandos  who went in after them.

Adam's Fall

The Coast, February 2008

When 19-year-old Adam Cashen inexplicably jumped off the Macdonald Bridge one warm summer morning, he did more than devastate his family. He also joined a long line of jumpers from Halifax's landmark suspension bridge.

This article--which won prizes from the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Atlantic Journalism Awards--explores the complex idea of 'suicide hot spots'. After its publication, barriers were installed on the bridge.


Disappearing Ink

Harper's, January 2011

Ten years since a US-led military invasion deposed the Taliban regime, Afghanistan still struggles to approximate a functioning democracy. In this article, I go inside the tangled web of politicking, back-room deals, and byzantine electoral laws that is the 2010 Parliamentary election.