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April 18th, 2011
08:25 AM ET

Bergen on Mortenson's 'Three Cups of Tea': 'This is totally false and he is lying. He was not kidnapped.'

(CNN) - Greg Mortenson, the high-profile advocate of girls' education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been forced to defend his best-selling book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time," against charges that key stories in it are false.

Mortenson shot to international fame with the book, which describes his getting lost in an effort to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, being rescued by Pakistani villagers in the village of Korphe and vowing to return there to build a school for local girls.

He also claims to have been captured by the Taliban and held for several days before being released.

Another best selling-author, however - Jon Krakauer of "Into Thin Air" fame - told a CBS "60 Minutes" investigation that aired Sunday that the story is not true.

"It's a beautiful story, and it's a lie," Krakauer tells the program. CNN's national security analyst, Peter Bergen, shares that belief on CNN's American Morning.


Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. The Dirty Paki

    For all the naysayers just keep this in mind. When government funded charities/organizations spend MILLIONS of dollars to build ONE school in Afghanistan and CAI does it for a fraction of that a few villages away and without one PENNY of government money that tends to make some powerful enemies. USAID alone doled out $500 million in Education spending in Afghanistan from 2002-2009. I guess I will hold my breath waiting for the 60 Minutes “investigation” on that

    April 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Regina

    Whether or not he was truly kidnapped by the Taliban, the basic premise of the book is that providing education for indigenous children is the opportunity that America missed. Instead of "shock and awe" and leaving, we should have helped in rebuilding communities. Basic concern for children's welfare and future is the cornerstone of Mr. Mortenson's work, a lesson he learned from the the people of Pakistan. The Taliban has been providing that for these poor communties. Since they established the schools, they can dictate what is taught there, thus turning them into radical academies. Mr. Mortenson's work trying to provide an alternative to these academies.

    April 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  3. R A Williams

    That's a pretty serious accusation for any author to make unless he's got solid evidence to support what he says.

    April 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm |