APDR’s web editor Matt Driskill is joined on The View From Here by award-winning correspondent Lynne O’Donnell, who is in Kabul covering the withdrawal of US and NATO forces. O’Donnell has spent many years as a foreign correspondent, including more than a decade based in China. After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, she began covering terrorism, conflict and war across Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, including the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan that drove the Taliban from power, and the 2003 war in Iraq that ended Saddam Hussein’s rule. Between 2009 and 2016, O’Donnell ran busy frontline multi-media bureaus in Kabul for, first, the French news agency AFP, and The Associated Press, the world’s biggest news organisation.
O’Donnell won the 2011 Amnesty International Human Rights Press Award for her series of stories on Afghan women. In 2017 she became a fellow of the Dart Center at the Colombia Journalism School in New York and she has an MA in War Studies from King’s College, London.
Her book, High Tea in Mosul: the True Story of Two Englishwomen in War-torn Iraq, tells the story of the brutality of Saddam’s rule of that country through the eyes of two women from the north of England who married Iraqi men and returned with them to their hometown.
The book tells the extraordinary and emotional story of the two women who assimilated, learned Arabic, raised families and lived within traditional Iraqi family structures. But they also endured the rigors of Saddam’s regime: food rationing, thought police, anti-Western discrimination, and almost constant war. As well as revealing life in Iraq as never before, their stories, as documented by O’Donnell, tell an extraordinary personal journey.
In addition to covering the latest news in Afghanistan, O’Donnell is working on a book called Women At War, about notable women war correspondents. O’Donnell also hosts a podcast series called The Warcast covering themes of war and the people who live it, cover it and fight it.