In 2014, Jere Van Dyk traveled to Afghanistan to try to discover the motives behind a kidnapping that had occurred six years earlier--his own. He was haunted by questions about why he was taken and why he was released
and troubled by the refusal of his friends, employers, and government employees to offer him a full account of what they knew. In pursuing his kidnappers, and the stories of the intermediaries and money men, Van Dyk uncovered not just the story of his own abduction, but the operation of what he calls the Trade: the business of kidnapping. Operating according to its own shadowy rules, the Trade has become a murky form of negotiation between criminal groups, corporations, families, and governments who have no formal lines of communication.
Jere Van Dyk was born in Washington state and raised in a family of Plymouth Brethren. He first went to Afghanistan in 1973 when he and his younger brother drove an old Volkswagen from Germany to Kabul. He returned in 1981 as a young reporter for the New York Times and lived with the mujahideen, our allies fighting the Soviet Union. There, and later when he became the director of Friends of Afghanistan, a non-profit organization overseen by the National Security Council and the State Department, he got to know the leaders who were linked from the beginning with al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, with Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and from which emerged the Islamic State. After 9/11, he returned to Afghanistan and Pakistan for CBS News, for which he covered the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl in Karachi. In 2008, he was the next American journalist kidnapped in Pakistan. He is the author of Captive and In Afghanistan.