Journalism

Sean has written extensively over the years for a variety of media outlets, here is a selection of some his more relevant published pieces in chronological / descending order.

Tracking down Tina

Tina Fey stars in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the new war film whose male lead is based on Sean Langan. So how could the two fail to hit it off when they met?

This article was first published in Spectator Life, 26th March 2016

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I was released by the Taliban… and then my troubles really started

I WATCHED Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s handover by the Taliban last month with a mixture of joy and profound sorrow. Coming home, as I discovered, is far harder than captivity. As I write, the American intel guys will be breaking every detail of Bergdahl’s story down and pulling it apart. I’ll be surprised if he even makes it out of his debriefing room in one piece..

This article was first published in The Australian, 21st June 2014

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I longed for US special forces to rescue me

Every day I was held captive, I hoped the door would burst open and that special forces would arrive to rescue me. I used to prepare myself for what I should do if they did come – sit still, shout in English that I was the hostage, and keep my arms by my side: the things I had picked up after working closely with military for 10 years.

This article was first published in The Guardian, 12th October 2010

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War correspondent Sean Langan’s made it through his latest challenge: Disney World with his two boys, aged 5 and 6

When I told friends about my holiday plans, they reacted as though I was heading to a labour camp. “Disney World in Florida? Just you and the kids? Are you insane?” Others thought that I was committing some kind of social crime: “What about the queues?” they wailed, “and the hordes of chavs?”

This article was first published in The Times, 28th November 2009

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I know I’m beginning to sound like a kidnap bore. But I promise this is the last time I bring it up

I would stare at death on my doorstep. It had a beneficial impact on my life. Poor people in the developing world don’t know how lucky they are. They might be starving, or dying of curable diseases, or living in fear for their lives. But at least they’re not suffering from a nagging sense of dissatisfaction, or a mild anxiety brought on by having to choose between a plasma and a flatscreen LCD.

This article was first published in The Guardian, 11th December 2008

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At least I was never forced to eat eyeballs when I was kidnapped by the Taliban…

The Taliban commander had heard about our freedoms and asked if it was true that women in the west could marry animals… even small animals. It’s easy to mock the seemingly endless supply of second-rate celebrities in Britain today. But as I watched Nicola McLean, a former glamour model with fake breasts, talking about the harsh realities of life in the jungle on this week’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, I realised that perhaps I was wrong.

This article was first published in The Guardian, 4th December 2008.

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It’s their families who suffer the most

When people read that a British hostage has reportedly taken his own life, their greatest mistake would be to think of hostage situations in terms of strength and weakness; that the person who survives is strong and the person who doesn’t, or who ends his own life, is weak.

This article was first published in Mail Online, 21st July 2008.

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Welcome to Hell (Part 2) : Meeting the Taliban

The battle of Garmser was a strange experience, especially as I had met one of the Taliban commanders on the other side. The meeting had taken place a few weeks before, outside Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand, about ten minutes away from a British base. I had been told to wait in a compound by the side of the main road leading into town, and to expect up to six Taliban. But the commander, Mullah Ibrahimi, turned up in broad daylight with nearly 100 men.

This article was first published in GQ (UK), January 2007

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Welcome to Hell (Part 1) : Fighting the Taliban

The subtle click and soft fizz of a trip flare igniting in the middle of the night are enough to wake a man from sleep, but not quite loud enough to jolt him out of his dreams. And that night, as we slept in our boots by the side of the Helmand River, most of us were dreaming of the Taliban. I was with 17 British soldiers on the edge of a town called Garmser, in the southern Afghan province of Helmand near the border of Pakistan. The British troops, leading a force of 100 Afghan soldiers and police, and supported by a tiny contingent of eight Estonian soldiers, had fought their way into the centre of town. It was supposed to be a one-day operation. But six days later, we were still pinned down.

This article was first published in GQ (UK), January 2007

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Our Man In Baghdad

It took just five weeks to liberate Iraq from Saddam’s brutal dictatorship. Fourteen months on, the fragile peace has killed more Iraqis and Coalition troops than Operation Enduring Freedom itself, while the battle for hearts and minds is being lost at home and abroad. For this exclusive GQ report, Sean Langan travels to US-controlled Iraq and witnesses the united Sunni and Shia resistance to the Coalition Provisional Authority as it prepares the country for the handover of sovereignty on 30 June.

This article was first published in GQ (UK), July 2004

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