Quil Lawrence

David Aquila ("Quil") Lawrence is an award-winning correspondent for NPR News, covering the millions of Americans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as they transition to life back at home.

Previously, Lawrence served as NPR's Bureau Chief in Kabul. He joined NPR in 2009 as Baghdad Bureau Chief – capping off ten years of reporting in Iraq and all the bordering countries. That experience made the foundation for his first book Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East, published in 2008.

Before coming to NPR, Lawrence was based in Jerusalem, as Middle East correspondent for The World, a BBC/PRI co-production. For the BBC he covered the fall of the Taliban in December 2001 and returned to Afghanistan periodically to report on development, the drug trade and insurgency.

Lawrence began his career as a freelancer for NPR and various newspapers while based in Bogota, Colombia, covering Latin America. Other reporting trips took him to Sudan, Morocco, Cuba, Pakistan and Iran.

A native of Maine, Lawrence studied history at Brandeis University, with concentrations in the Middle East and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Arabic.

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Afghanistan
12:01 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Afghan Civilians Allegedly Forced Onto Mined Roads

Afghanistan's Panjwai district, southwest of Kandahar city, was a Taliban stronghold until the U.S. troop surge in 2010 began to displace the insurgents.

Allauddin Khan AP

Villagers from a violent part of southern Afghanistan say that Afghan troops, along with several American mentors, forced civilians to march ahead of soldiers on roads where the Taliban were believed to have planted bombs and landmines.

No one was hurt. But if the allegations are true, the act would appear to violate the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of civilians. The episode also raises questions about how civilians are caught between the two sides in the war.

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Afghanistan
4:06 pm
Fri October 7, 2011

In Afghanistan, Performance Artist Packs Up His Bling

Aman Mojedidi, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to Afghanistan in 2003 because he thought his homeland was finally on the mend. The guerrilla artist is also known as the Jihadi Gangsta, and he has provoked controversy and laughter with his work.

Courtesy of Aman Mojedidi

Performance artist Aman Mojedidi moved from the U.S. to Afghanistan in 2003, as one of what he says were many Afghan-Americans and Afghan-Europeans who thought their homeland was finally on the mend.

"It was really part of that wave of hyphenated Afghans and internationals wanting to come to Afghanistan, post-Taliban, [to] do something, rebuild, reconstruct, that kind of thing," he says.

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Afghanistan
8:00 am
Sun October 2, 2011

Karzai Breaks Off Talks With The Taliban

In a surprising about-face, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears to be abandoning his government's long-standing effort to hold peace talks with the Taliban in Pakistan, saying they aren't serious about negotiations. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.

Afghanistan
4:01 am
Fri September 30, 2011

Afghan Factions Vie For Position Amid Civil War Fears

Afghans hold portraits of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, as they shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration in Kabul on Tuesday. Last week's killing of Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, was the latest targeting his party and it has stoked fears of increased factionalism.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 2:54 pm

Last week's assassination of the former Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, not only dashed hopes for peace negotiations, it also increased the talk of civil war.

It came at the time that American troops are preparing to begin a gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan, exposing deep anxiety among Afghans about what lies ahead.

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Afghanistan
2:45 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Killing Deals Another Blow To Afghan Peace Talks

Afghans carry the coffin of Afghanistan High Peace Council head and former President Burhanuddin Rabbani during his burial ceremony in Kabul, Sept. 23. A suicide bomber assassinated Rabbani on Sept. 20, which further complicates the thorny issue of negotiating with the Taliban.
Ahmad Masood AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 8:22 pm

Afghanistan buried a former president last week, but there is concern in Kabul that something else may have been buried as well: the peace process. In nearly two years since the U.S. opened the prospect of negotiations with the Taliban, progress has been hard to discern.

The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was also the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, may have quashed any negotiations that were under way. It also may have given new strength to those who never supported the idea of talking with the Taliban.

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