Under an Afghan Sky

Reporter Mellissa Fung's account of being kidnapped and held captive in Afghanistan for 28 days.

Mellissa Fung

In October 2008, Mellissa Fung, a long-time reporter for CBC's The National, was leaving a refugee camp outside of Kabul. Suddenly, she was grabbed by armed men claiming to be Taliban, stabbed, stuffed into the back of a car and driven off into the desert. When the group finally reached a village in the middle of nowhere, her kidnappers pushed her towards a hole in the ground.

For 28 days, Mellissa Fung lived in that hole, which was barely big enough to stand up or lie down in, nursing her injuries, praying, writing in her notebook and, as a veteran journalist, interrogating her own captors. Under an Afghan Sky is the gripping tale of Fung's days in captivity, and a powerful book about survival and the indomitable spirit of one woman in the most perilous of circumstances.(From HarperCollins Canada)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews | More about this book

From the book

I looked up from where he had pinned me to the floor of the car. It had all happened so fast. My heart was pounding, and I still wasn't sure what was going on, except that I was staring up the barrel of a Kalashnikov. There were two men in the back of the car with me and one in the front, in the driver's seat. The men in the back tried to cover me with my black scarf, which I wore over my head whenever I ventured out into the real streets of Afghanistan. I struggled, but it was useless. They were pressing my camera bag in my face in an attempt to cover me up, in case we passed any police while the car sped away from the refugee camp. I tried to look out from underneath the scarf. I wanted to see where we were going.

I suddenly noticed I was bleeding. Huge red bloodstains spread over my blue-and-yellow flowered kameez. Blood was pouring out of my right shoulder and my right hand. One of the two men in the back — the tall one — was on a cell phone, speaking loudly and rapidly to someone who was barking back in Pashto, the language spoken in the south of the country. I had no idea what they were saying, but I knew deep down that it wasn't good.

"What's your name?" asked the man.

"Mellissa," I answered, and he demanded to see my passport. I didn't want to give it to him, but he started to search me. I had it in the left pocket of my hiking pants and fished it out for him.

From Under an Afghan Sky by Mellissa Fung ©2011. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Author interviews 

Mellissa Fung discusses her abduction in Afghanistan in 2008

15 years ago
Duration 58:47
Featured VideoFreed CBC-TV reporter Mellissa Fung recounts her kidnapping and captivity in Afghanistan. Aired on Nov. 13, 2008 on a CBC-TV news special.

More about this book

Return to Afghanistan

10 years ago
Duration 15:21
Featured VideoMellissa Fung completes a story she began five years ago in Afghanistan that was interrupted by her kidnapping. (In collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.)