A thrilling and emotional story about the bonds forged in war and good intentions gone wrong.
In the early days of the Afghanistan war, Jeff Stern was scouring the streets of Kabul for a big story. He was accompanied by a driver, Aimal, who had ambitions of his own: to get rich off the sudden infusion of foreign attention and cash.
In this gripping adventure story, Stern writes of how he and Aimal navigated an environment full of guns and danger and opportunity, and how they forged a deep bond.
Then Stern got a call that changed everything. He discovered that Aimal had become an arms dealer, and was ultimately forced to flee the country to protect his family from his increasingly dangerous business partners.
Tragic, powerful, and layered, The Mercenary is more than a wartime drama. It is a Rashomon-like story about how politics and violence warp our humanity, and keep the most important truths hidden.
Jeffrey E. Stern is the author of The Last Thousand: One School’s Promise in a Nation at War. He has been named both a Pulitzer Center Fellow for Crisis Reporting, and a Graduate Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation. Stern’s reporting has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Slate, Time, and The New Republic. He has also been featured on PBS News Hour, NPR Morning Edition, and Morning Joe among others.