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Reporters on the Job

Best Laid Plans: Correspondent David Montero had a reminder recently that last-minute changes in plans can sometimes be a good thing. In order to report today's story on the changing role of tribal elders in Pakistan's Waziristan region, he had made plans to go to the town of Bannu on a Friday morning. Located just on the edge of tribal areas, many people from south Waziristan have migrated there.

"I was looking forward to it, excited to meet people there," says David. But on Thursday night another journalist called to tell him that a number of elders from Waziristan were coming to Peshawar Friday morning, and suggested he just meet them there. "I kept thinking that I wanted to go to Bannu, but then another journalist called and said he had set up a meeting in Peshawar for me with some elders, and again suggested I stay. Finally, after a good deal of hemming and hawing, I decided to stay."

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As it turned out, it was a good decision. At 9 a.m., when David was supposed to be in Bannu, there were two attacks on a military checkpoint there, and a military convoy was attacked hours later. The elders he was hoping to meet in Peshawar also went right back to see what happened, so David wasn't able to meet that particular group either. But no regrets. "I was glad I'd gotten the call saying to stay put," says David.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor


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