National Geographic : 2011 Feb
EDITOR'S NOTE PHOTO: NICK HORNE Linda Norgrove was taken hostage by the Taliban in September and died during a rescue attempt. Local intelligence is everything when it comes to traveling in difficult conditions and dangerous places. Fixers, inside sources, and guides are the unsung heroes of every coverage. They point you in the right direction. They watch your back, saying, "Careful, not that close." They tell you, "Go there," or perhaps, "Don't go there." Covering this month's story on opium, writer Robert Draper and photographer David Guttenfelder depended on many people, including Linda Norgrove---the Scottish aid worker taken hostage by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan and killed in a failed rescue attempt in October 2010. Norgrove, Draper reports, spent evenings advising them on which of her projects to visit around Jalalabad's outskirts---com- munities that had once relied on opium for subsistence---and which areas to avoid. "More than once," he says, "Linda reminded us that certain roads were unsafe to travel. Sometimes, we had to take them anyway. Sometimes, she did too." Draper and Guttenfelder were seldom out of danger. Kidnapping and being killed were constant threats for them and their sources. In Kabul a former government official allowed himself to be interviewed, knowing that if he was found out, he and his family would be killed. "Covering this part of the world is a crucial undertaking," Draper says. "But I confess I spent the entire month with my heart in my throat."