Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reeves has spent two and half decades working as a journalist overseas, reporting from a wide range of places including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia.

He is a member of the NPR team that won highly prestigious Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards for coverage of the conflict in Iraq. Reeves has been honored several times by the South Asian Journalists' Association.

Reeves has been covering South Asia for more than 10 years. He has traveled widely in Pakistan and India, taking NPR listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after 17 years as a international correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

Over the years, Reeves has covered a wide range of stories - from Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, the rise and fall of Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf, conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Reeves holds a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University. His family originates from Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Fernando Rojas is holding up a photograph of a pocket of countryside, between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, that has been his home, his livelihood, and his passion for all of his 74 years.

His picture shows a lake, brimming with water, in front of a range of hills that are silhouetted by the sun. In the foreground, by the water's edge, there's a small boat, ready to set sail. Next to that, there's a wooden jetty, jutting out into the waves.

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Up first, this day marks the anniversary of the start of Venezuela's struggle for independence in 1810. We normally wouldn't mention that here this morning but many Venezuelans plan to spend this day protesting their government.

Brazil has long been awash with corruption scandals, but the latest to erupt is about an issue that is particularly close to the nation's heart and stomach — and its wallet.

Few people are more prolific meat-eaters than the Brazilians, and few are more passionate about the merits of the barbecue, or churrasco.

They grill with gusto at almost any opportunity — on the beach, the sidewalk, at soccer games and even at protest rallies, where the whiff of sizzling sausage competes with the eye-watering stink of tear gas.

Carlos Roberto Gomes spends his days leaning on a stone wall with a big, brightly colored sign around his neck.

His sign advertises the services that he offers to passersby on the downtown street where he earns his living.

It says that Gomes buys gold. He can fix you up with a tattoo or some body piercing.

Read the sign closely, and you'll also see that he might be willing to lop off your hair and purchase it from you.

Top-quality human hair from Brazil fetches a good price in Europe's salons, where it's sold as extensions and wigs, explains Gomes.

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Now let's go to a small state in southeast Brazil, a state where NPR's Philip Reeves reports troops and armored vehicles are on the streets.

When Donald Trump finally has his feet under the desk in the Oval Office and opens the files marked "Afghanistan" and "Pakistan," he will find much to worry about.

Relations between Pakistan and India, which both have big nuclear arsenals, are in crisis. These days, their armies regularly trade shots along the Line of Control, the de facto border in disputed Kashmir — sometimes with fatal consequences.

Fears abound that Afghanistan could melt down into violent chaos that could spill beyond its boundaries.

Aizaz Azam is a young police detective in Pakistan whose brief career has been devoted to busting minor prostitution and gambling rackets and sorting out street brawls.

Now, though, he's slogging away for up to 20 hours a day, working his first major case. It involves a crime so ruthless that Azam says he and his fellow cops feel "strangely unsettled in our souls."

Cyril Almeida has a reputation for being one of Pakistan's most astute political observers. His columns for the venerable English-language Dawn newspaper are widely read by South Asia-watchers. More than 100,000 people follow his tweets.

So it was inevitable that the decision by the Pakistani government to ban him from leaving the country would be met with widespread indignation.

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The home in which Pakistan's social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her brother has none of the wicked glamour that was her hallmark within her make-believe cyber-world.

She died in a small concrete house, a $100-a-month rental at the end of a cobbled alley inside a half-built housing estate, not far from the central city of Multan. Goats, chickens, street hawkers and kids wander around amid puddles of mud — it is monsoon season — and oceans of trash.

A few months back, I asked a favor of my friend and NPR colleague Zabihullah Tamanna. We'd just spent a busy day going from interview to interview in Kabul. I had some urgent writing to do. Would he mind going out onto the streets and taking some photographs?

For those who live and work in conflict zones and war zones, it's easy to become somewhat numb. Violence and danger can corrode your sense of humanity. But the pictures that Zabihullah took that day were the work of a journalist whose compassion was entirely intact.

If you drive around Kabul long enough, you will eventually see what must be the most cheerful slogan in Afghanistan.

Cars traverse the city bearing a happy little window sticker about the best way to approach life in a country beset by deep — and, in the eyes of most Afghans, worsening — trouble.

"Enjoy Today!" it reads. "Forget Tomorrow!"

That's harder than it sounds.

A few months ago, the U.S. military gave Zabihullah Niazi $3,000. He lost his left eye and left arm when an American AC-130 gunship repeatedly fired shells into the hospital in which he worked in northern Afghanistan.

The money was what officials term a "condolence payment," an expression of sympathy and sorrow for injuring Niazi when the U.S. military mistakenly hit the Kunduz hospital, killing 42 people.

A strange new shrine has appeared on the eastern edge of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, amid the low hills that roll towards the Himalayan mountains.

Within a small gazebo, crowned by a green dome, there is a grave, decorated with silver tinsel and surrounded by flowers and richly patterned red carpets.

Inside lies the body of Mumtaz Qadri, a former policeman whose recent hanging for murder suddenly galvanized the mass forces of Pakistan's religious right into a fresh, potentially destabilizing, confrontation with the state.

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Lahore Bombing Update

Mar 27, 2016

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Transcript

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It took Abdul Arian months to realize that his decision to migrate from his home country, Afghanistan, to Germany was a huge mistake.

He set off nearly a year ago, hoping to be granted asylum so he could attend a university and study psychology.

His journey, organized by smugglers, was long and perilous. Arian, 24, says he nearly drowned off the shores of Greece, when the inflatable dinghy he was traveling in capsized.

He says he and his fellow travelers got lost somewhere in Hungary and walked through the rain for 24 hours before they found the path again.

Mohammed Sayed is not one of those people who particularly relish the prospect of hitting young men on the butt with a big stick.

But he is certainly prepared to do so to defend the girls and women who frequent the neatly groomed, palm-dotted municipal park in the Pakistani city of Gujranwala where he works as a guard.

The park was designed as a place for relaxation and family recreation (it even includes some ramshackle carnival rides). But it had turned into a prowling ground for young men.

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Transcript

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In Pakistan, there aren't a whole lot of stand-up comics.

"When it comes to satire, I think as a culture, we kind of struggle with it," says Pakistani stand-up pioneer Saad Haroon.

His humor shines a light into some delicate areas.

"I wrote this song called 'Burqa Woman,' which is a parody of 'Pretty Woman,' " Harron says.

He gives the audience a taste of his act:

Burqa woman, in your black sheet

Burqa woman, with your sexy feet

Burqa woman, my love for you, it grows

Every time I see your nose

Some airlines are just airlines.

But others mean a lot more than that to the people they serve.

Pakistan's national carrier was long a source of patriotic pride, a symbol of unity in a divided country. Now that airline is in big trouble.

Islamabad can seem a dull place, full of retired civil servants sipping tea in villas, and with a night scene that's about as lively as lawn bowls. But you can at least get a good sleep.

While other Asian cities gossip, munch and rattle through the night, a hush descends on this modern government town.

In my neighborhood, dusk creeps in to a chorus of birdsong. Dawn is heralded by the rich and multilayered cadences of the call to prayer from the nearby mosques.

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