Veteran Boston Globe reporter Brian MacQuarrie ’74 often is dispatched to scenes of tragedy, catastrophe or simple human drama. When Gianni Versace was murdered, it was MacQuarrie who was sent to Miami. When a man went on a shooting rampage in Colebrook, N.H., MacQuarrie was writing from the stunned community within hours. When a Swissair jet crashed in Nova Scotia in 1998, killing 229 people, MacQuarrie flew to Bangor, rented a car and drove the rest of the night to Halifax.

He worked all that day, filing stories that night for the Globe.

“I think it’s prepared me to go in cold,” MacQuarrie said. “You have only a few facts. You just have to think on your feet and think of the best way to file, who to see, how to arrange your interviews.”

And if your assignment is particularly farflung, you hope to hire a good “fixer.”

MacQuarrie did just that in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he found himself with the same driver who had ferried Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl through the city in the days before his death. What follows is MacQuarrie’s account of his weeks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he tried both to report on the day’s news and to divine the motives of friend, foe and those who fell mysteriously in between.


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