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David Loyn

David Loyn

  • Visiting

Senior Visiting Research Fellow

Research subject areas

  • History
  • Conflict and security
  • Arts, culture and media


David Loyn holds an MA degree in Modern History from Oxford University, and is a qualified barrister. He has won awards in both Radio and Television reporting, including Journalist of the Year from the Royal Television Society for his reporting of the Kosovo conflict. He is a member of an advisory panel to the Foreign Office on South Asia policy, and a lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy. He joined the War Studies Department at King’s in September 2016.

Areas of expertise

  • Afghanistan and South Asia
  • Strategic communications
  • History of war reporting
  • International development
  • Intervention doctrine


From 2017-2018 David Loyn worked as Strategic Communications adviser in the office of the Afghan President. He worked for the BBC until 2015, after a 37-year career as a foreign correspondent. His last post was as correspondent in Afghanistan, a country he has been visiting since 1994, including several trips during Taliban control. He has also lived as BBC correspondent in Delhi, and from 2001-2013 was International Development Correspondent, travelling frequently to Asia and Africa. Apart from Afghanistan he has covered conflict in Iraq, Libya, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Congo, Northern Uganda, Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Northern Ireland.

Other Activities

He has been adviser to a number of theatre and dance productions. These have included

  • adviser to Another World – Losing our Children to Islamic State by Gillian Slovo, directed by Nicolas Kent at the National Theatre; 2016
  • co-devisor with Darshan Singh Bhuller and Lindsey Butcher of Rites of War, a dance production linking World War I and the Iraq war; 2014
  • adviser to the Great Game series of Afghan history plays directed by Nicolas Kent at the Tricycle Theatre; 2009
  • adviser to Black Watch, a National Theatre of Scotland play about the experience of the Scottish regiment in Afghanistan; 2008

He is on the Advisory Council of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life at Oxford University. He makes frequent appearances as a foreign affairs analyst on the BBC, Huffington Post, and other international broadcasters.

Recent Publications


  • Butcher and Bolt – Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan; (London: Hutchinson, 2008; US edition In Afghanistan, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2009)
  • Frontline – Reporting from the World’s Deadliest Places; (London: Michael Joseph, 2005; updated edition Chichester: Summersdale, 2011) Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Chapters and Papers

  • “The Last Kings of Afghanistan” (chapter about Afghan reform movements in the twentieth century) in Jules Stewart and Lisa Choegyal (eds.) Afghanistan Revealed (London: Afghan Appeal Fund, 2013)
  • “The Emergence of the Taliban”in Morten Tinning and Signe Lund (eds.) The Distant War – 17 perspectives on Afghanistan (Copenhagen: Statens Forsvarshistoriske Museum, 2014)
  • “Afghanistan 1989-2001, the rise of the Taliban” in Desperta Ferro (Madrid: No 14, 2015)  
  • “The Taliban’s One-Eyed Strongman Hides in His Lair” in John Elliott, Bernard Imhasly, Simon Denyer (eds.) Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia (New Delhi: Penguin Viking, 2008)
  • “Good Journalism or Peace Journalism” in Peace Journalism and its

Discontents (conflict & communication online, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2007)


  • “Media” in Jean Seaton (ed.) collection of responses to the Chilcot Inquiry, Political Quarterly (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, October 2016)
  • “Afghanistan is not a lost cause” in Prospect Magazine (February 2015)