Chris Sands is a PhD student in the War Studies department at King’s College London. His research focuses on extreme acts of violence perpetrated and endured by the Taliban.
Chris lived in Kabul from mid-2005 to late 2014, working as a foreign correspondent for the international media. Prior to this, he spent time as a journalist in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Iraq. His book Night Letters: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Afghan Islamists who Changed the World was named one of NPR’s books of the year for 2020. As a magazine editor, Chris oversaw reporting on the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan and the radicalisation of international jihadists that was shortlisted for the 2022 Orwell Prize for journalism and highly commended at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022.
Chris’ work on Afghanistan and his interest in human rights led to him serving as an expert witness on behalf of Asadullah Haroon Gul, one of the last Afghans detained at Guantanamo Bay, in 2019. He has been a panellist in discussions about Afghanistan and war reporting hosted by LSE, Trinity College Cambridge, the Frontline Club, The Economist Educational Foundation and Freedom from Torture. Chris is now an editorial board member of Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal.
- Transitional/post-conflict justice
Title: Living with Killing
Research Question: How do the Taliban live with the consequences of extreme violence they perpetrated and endured as insurgents in post-9/11 Afghanistan?
Chris will look at how the Taliban live with the psychosocial consequences of extreme violence they perpetrated and endured during their 2001-2021 insurgency in Afghanistan. His thesis seeks to examine whether the post-conflict traumas and emotions we associate with conventional combatants are experienced by non-state actors of the global south with radical ideological beliefs.
- Dr Kieran Mitton, primary supervisor
- Dr Eleonora Natale, second supervisor