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Reporters on the Job

Men of Faith: Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that reporting about one of the founding fathers of the Afghan constitution (page 1) - a former Taliban official - took some effort. His subject, Abdul Hakeem Muneeb, wasn't eager to open up about personal matters. The thing that opened the door was a conversation about religion. "Muneeb asked me about Christianity, and whether Christians really believe that Jesus was the son of God," says Scott. "I dived into a long rambling lecture on the main sects of Christianity, that some sects believed that Jesus was the son of a virgin birth, while other groups believe that Jesus was God Himself come to earth in human form," Scott says. "Silently, I thanked my parents for sending me to a Protestant Sunday School and a Catholic high school. By the time my interpreter translated my stream of consciousness into Pashto, Muneeb chuckled and said, 'So, is that a yes or a no?'

"From that point on, we hit it off," says Scott. "I think it was easier for a religious man like himself to talk with someone he saw as a person of faith."

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Humor in the Ranks: Even life-and-death military operations, notes reporter Ann Scott Tyson, have their humorous moments. During a recent operation in Afghanistan (this page), troops from the 10th Mountain Division bedded down in an almond orchard, only to be doused by a primitive irrigation system in the middle of a cloudless night. "Sir," the radio operator told his commander. "We're being flooded."

David Clark Scott
World editor