NBC Universal Excutives
Dan Nelken  /  NBCU
Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent
updated 10/19/2011 12:44:43 PM ET 2011-10-19T16:44:43

Richard Engel is widely regarded as one of America’s leading foreign correspondents for his coverage of wars, revolutions and political transitions around the world over the last 15 years. Most recently, he was recognized for his outstanding reporting on the 2011 revolution in Egypt, the conflict in Libya and unrest throughout the Arab world. . 

Engel was named Chief Foreign Correspondent of NBC News in April 2008. His reports appear on all platforms of NBC News, including “NBC Nightly News,” “Today,” “Meet the Press,” “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” “Dateline,” MSNBC, and msnbc.com.

Engel, one of the only western journalists to cover the entire war in Iraq, joined NBC News in May 2003. He previously worked as a freelance journalist for ABC News, most notably during the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq. He remained in Baghdad as NBC's primary Iraq correspondent until his appointment as Senior Middle East Correspondent and Beirut Bureau Chief in May 2006. Engel also covered the war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 from Beirut and southern Lebanon.  

Prior to working for ABC News, Engel served as the Middle East correspondent for "The World," a joint production of BBC World Service, Public Radio International (PRI) and WGBH-Boston radio from 2001-2003. He has also written for USA Today, Reuters, AFP and Jane's Defense Weekly, a British publication in which he authored the magazine's in-depth profiles of Egypt, Yemen and al-Qaida.

Engel’s work has received numerous awards, including five News & Documentary Emmy Awards.  In 2011, he was honored with the Daniel Pearl Award, the David Bloom Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in recognition of his coverage of the war in Afghanistan.  In 2010, Engel received a Gracie Award for his work on “Unlikely Refugees,” a “NBC Nightly News” story about Afghan women who are treated as criminals for attempting to leave abusive marriages. Engel was honored in 2009 with the George Foster Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Society of Professional Journalism Award for “Tip of the Spear,” a series of reports from Afghanistan that focused attention on the hardships and dangers faced by American soldiers. Engel also received the 2008 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, the first ever given to a broadcast journalist, for his report "War Zone Diary." The one-hour documentary, compiled from Engel's personal video journal, gave a rare and intimate account of the everyday realties of covering the war in Iraq. In 2006, Engel received the Edward R. Murrow Award for his report "Baghdad E.R.," the first ever to win in the category "Feature – Hard News."

Engel has lived in the Middle East since graduating from Stanford University in 1996 with a B.A. in international relations. He speaks and reads fluent Arabic, which he learned while living in Cairo. Engel has also traveled extensively in the Middle East and can comfortably transition between several Arabic dialects spoken across the Arab world. He is also fluent in Italian and Spanish. He is the author of two books, “A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest” and “War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq,” which chronicle his experiences covering the Iraq war.

Video: Battles with Taliban take heavy toll

  1. Transcript of: Battles with Taliban take heavy toll

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: The war in Afghanistan has been going on so long now that many of the men and women fighting it were still in grade school when it started. The war has receded into the background for many Americans , preoccupied with daily life

    and caught up in other news: lingering high unemployment, the disaster in the gulf. But nine years in, this war has now hit a new level of ferocity as US forces meet the Taliban head on and casualties mount. What are Americans there going through now? An answer to that question tonight from our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel , embedded with the 82nd Airborne near Kandahar . And a warning, some of the footage you're about to see may be disturbing for some viewers.

    RICHARD ENGEL reporting: Just before dark Saturday, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fight off a Taliban surprise attack on an American outpost in the Arghandab Valley . The battle is fierce. Twenty Taliban fighters are just a hundred yards away. This place has come under heavy attack. Already one soldier has been severely injured. Two more Americans are wounded before the fight is over. They'll all survive.

    Unidentified Man #1: Get some ammo!

    ENGEL: But battles like this one are picking up and taking a toll. On many patrols here, Sergeant Lewis Loftus is the pointman. If there's an IED in the ground, he'll most likely see it first -- or step on it.

    Sergeant LEWIS LOFTUS: You got him?

    ENGEL: Twenty-two -year-old Loftus volunteers for the job.

    Sgt. LOFTUS: I'm thinking about, you know, just getting to where we're going the safest route possible. I really don't dwell on, you know, this could be my last patrol.

    ENGEL: The Arghandab is among Afghanistan 's richest farmland. The dense vegetation provides ample cover for the Taliban to hide IEDs . To avoid them, soldiers stay off the main roads, trudging through humid fields and over walls to keep the Taliban guessing where they're going. Soldiers here say the best defense against IEDs is unpredictability. Watch where you step and never use the same trail twice. Still, troops in this area have suffered 60 injuries, a third of those losing limbs. Back on base, Loftus , from Akron , Ohio , looks at photographs of the girl he wants to marry after he goes home in a few months. When I ask him about a fellow soldier killed last week, it's clear how deeply these troops feel about the growing casualties here.

    Sgt. LOFTUS: Right now I'm kind of numb to it. Like to be honest, I just don't really feel much. I pray for his family, I pray for his soul that he, you know -- yeah. You see, I try not to think about it because when you think about it, then I get like this, and it's not -- you're not -- yeah. So, yeah, you know, everyone deals it their own way. I try to hide it, I try not to think about it because I got to stay 100 percent. You know, I got to -- I got to keep a good example in front of the other soldiers. I'm sorry.

    ENGEL: But when the base was attacked yesterday, emotions are put aside. Loftus fires away on a machine gun, side by side with his unit, still in the fight. Richard Engel , NBC News, Arghandab .

    HOLT: We'll be right back.