AFGHANISTAN - During a visit to Dutch troops in Afghanistan in 2006, journalist Bette Dam discovered how little the military knew about their enemy. She left the military camp to investigate the feared taliban leader mullah Omar.

In search of the enemy is the report of a breathtaking journey, which led her to the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan to learn all about Omar's first Koran lessons, the jihad against the Soviet Union, his revolt against violent warlords, his hope for help of the international community and his bitterness about what the Americans have been doing since 2001 in his country.

Dam is the first Western journalist to reconstruct Omar's life and makes pioneering discoveries about a regime, about which many assumptions exist, but that has not been studied in a concrete way. Based on risky fieldwork and thorough research, Dam places the Taliban in a new perspective. She shows how the Taliban, within the framework of the war on terror, were made by Western governments and media from potential ally into an enemy that should be annihilated. Dam describes how a country and its population were disrupted with brute force and ended up in a war that was unnecessary.

Team members

Bette Dam

The Dutch journalist Bette Dam lived in Afghanistan for four years, where she worked as a correspondent for NRC Handelsblad and Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Bette Dam
A working grant of 15.000 € allocated on 12/04/2012.


  • Title: Looking for the Enemy: Mullah Omar and the Unknown Taliban
    Author: Bette Dam
    Language: English
    Publisher: HarperCollins India
    Paperback: 352 pages
    Price: $42.99
    ISBN-10: 9354892795
    ISBN-13: 978-9354892790
    Publication: 15 Dec. 2021
  • Title: Op zoek naar de Vijand
    Author: Bette Dam
    Language: Dutch
    Publisher: De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam
    Pages: 240
    Price: € 19,99 
    ISBN: 978 94 031 4420 7
    Also available as ebook
    Publication: 21 Feb. 2019

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