Greg Mortenson, an author of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea, is also charged by CBS that he is using his foundation as “ a personal ATM” and that a number of his personal stories in Afghanistan and Pakistan were false. According to the book Mr. Mortenson was kidnapped in Waziristan for eight days and later released when he won the trust of kidnappers by asking for the copy of Quran.
Mortenson, 53, founder and executive director of the Central Asia Institute, defended building schools for children, especially girls, in remote Pakistani and Afghan villages.
“I hope these allegations and attacks, the people doing these things, know this could be devastating for tens of thousands of girls, for the sake of Nielsen ratings and Emmys,” Mortenson told the Chronicle in a phone interview Friday.
“I stand by the information conveyed in my book,” he wrote in a statement, “and by the value of CAI’s work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students.”
Mortenson said CAI’s success in fundraising, $23.7 million last year means it can build 63 new schools this year, in addition to more than 170 already established.
He denied several “60 Minutes” allegations, and defended his financial dealings, but appeared to concede that one key story in his book was not literally true.
“I stand by the story of ‘Three Cups of Tea,’” Mortenson said in a written statement,“As the co-author of the book, along with David Oliver Relin, I am responsible for the content in the book. There were many people involved in the story and also those who produced the manuscript. What was done was to simplify the sequence of events for the purposes of telling what was, at times, a complicated story.”
Now that the allegations are out there, surly Pentagon will investigate the matter. As far as the Government of Pakistan is concerned they should also investigate before bestowing someone with the Sitara-i-Pakistan.
The book is no doubt a good read and hopefully Mr. Mortenson will be more vigilant and continue building 63 much needed schools this year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.