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October 13, 2014

In Afghanistan, Mortenson Resumes Work and Recounts Mistakes

The Washington Post accompanies Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson on a trip to Afghanistan to visit schools built by his nonprofit Central Asia Institute, a first step in the writer and philanthropist's tentative return to public life after a scandal over deceptions in the book and his charity's questionable spending.

The Bozeman, Mont.-based institute constructs schools, primarily for girls, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. While Mr. Mortenson has quietly visited Afghanistan several times since his fall from grace in 2011, the Post article follows the first such trip on which he invited a reporter.

Mr. Mortenson admitted his book's claims about the experiences that led to the charity's founding were misleading and said his own managerial and organizational failings fueled concerns over how it used donations, which have plummeted from $23-million in 2010 to $3-million last year. His reputation remains high in Afghanistan, where the institute forged bonds in communities where it erected schools.