Colleagues remember

Sultan Munadi.

Barry Bearak, South Asia Bureau Co-Chief, 1998-2002: “Mr. Munadi, as well as the other “translators” who have worked—and continue to work—for The Times in Afghanistan are also skilled journalists. They accompany Western reporters into the field, leading as much as following. They are a walking Who’s Who, historian, guide, lie detector, supply sergeant, master of logistics, taking equal the risks without equal the glory or pay. One more thing: “translators” like Mr. Munadi take responsibility for the reporter’s life…With the Taliban driven from Kabul, Sultan returned to his formal journalism studies while also working for The Times. When he was graduated, party was held at a newly-opened restaurant. I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Munadi’s favorite professor. “Sultan was the very best of my students,” he told me.”

Amy Waldman, South Asia Bureau Co-Chief, 2002-2005: “My main memory of Sultan is laughing with him. He was extremely intelligent, scrupulous, honest, curious, dedicated, and fair, but he was also full of mirth – prepared to find almost anything funny, from a politician’s hypocrisy to the not-always-adept Afghan bureaucracy to my weak wisecracks.He had a very distinctive laugh – like a hard giggle, or a soft cackle, a hearty laugh from someone built like a beanpole…When I wanted to write about Afghan women, he helped me find women who could work with me to interpret. He took me home to meet his sister, who he felt, by virtue of being a woman, was too often trapped in the house…All of our interpreters, Sultan among them, were men in their 20s who had lost years to the Taliban, almost always leaving school or university and finding work to support their families.”

That’s just a sample – read the whole thing. It’s heartbreaking.

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