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The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan Cover

ISBN13: 9780385533317
ISBN10: 0385533314
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A true-life Catch-22 set in the deeply dysfunctional countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, by one of the region’s longest-serving correspondents.

Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job.

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban. And as her love for these hapless countries grows, her hopes for their stability and security fade.

Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffle unforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone.

Review:

"Barker, a journalist for ProPublica, offers a candid and darkly comic account of her eight years as an international correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Afghanistan and Pakistan, beginning shortly after September 11. With self-deprecation and a keen eye for the absurd, Barker describes her evolution from a green, fill-in correspondent to an adrenaline junkie who gets hit on by Nawaz Sharif, former Pakistani prime minister, and becomes adept in 'how to find money in a war zone, how to flatter a warlord, how to cover a suicide bombing, how to jump-start a car using a cord and a metal ladder.' Barker reveals how profoundly the U.S. continues to get Afghanistan wrong — that American personnel in the country live in a bubble, rarely dealing with Afghans, that they trample on local customs by getting routinely and 'staggeringly' drunk despite Islam's prohibition of alcohol, and throw offensive costume parties at the Department for International Development (DFID). In equal measure, Barker elucidates the deep political ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the U.S.'s role in today's 'whiplash between secularism and extremism,' and blasts Pakistan's leaders for destroying their nation through endless coups and power jockeying. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

About the Author

KIM BARKER joined the Chicago Tribune in 2001 and was South Asia bureau chief from 2004 to 2009. She currently holds the prestigious Edward R. Murrow press fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives in New York City.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Spence, March 10, 2011 (view all comments by Spence)
A good read and one I found as addicting as the war itself.

South Asia is not an area of study that one can just grab the Cliff Notes for and get easy insights to. It is an area that has never fit into Western dogmas. The Soviet Russians found this out the hard way in the 1980s. The region requires a nuanced understanding of human nature and the contradictory personalities that dominate the power structures of this region. Kim Barker offers a partial guide that will allow the reader to at least whistle pass the graveyard of empires while gaining some insights into it.

Her book perfectly captures the additive and corrosive nature of being in a war zone. She was with the Chicago Tribune in South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, & India) an awfully long time from 2002- 09 and there is something for every worldview in this book.

For the soldier there who thought that all the civilian and contractor Expats were Godless hedonists who flaunted the fact that General Order #1 (no alcohol and sex among other things) did not apply to them and want to see all the things that you knew were going on but couldn't be a part of then this is your book.

For the civilian aide workers and journalists who thought the military was filled with English-as-the-only-language brutes yelling at people who had no idea of what they were talking about and waving cash bundles at problems while trying to impose foreign values on people that did not understand them then this is your book.

For Americans who have never been to South Asia and are confused over the various the insights that escape this inscrutable region from various published reports and want to know if all the crazy and contradictory things about it are made up or real then this is your book.

In some ways it’s almost like reading about the decline of the Roman Empire without the togas… oh wait… there are togas in this book too.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385533317
Subtitle:
Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Author:
Barker, Kim
Author:
Barker, Kimberly
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
International
Subject:
General-General
Subject:
General Social Science
Publication Date:
20110322
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.59 x 5.8 x 1.27 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Asia » Afghanistan
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Military » Afghan War (2001-)
History and Social Science » World History » Afghanistan and Pakistan
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » India

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385533317 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Barker, a journalist for ProPublica, offers a candid and darkly comic account of her eight years as an international correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Afghanistan and Pakistan, beginning shortly after September 11. With self-deprecation and a keen eye for the absurd, Barker describes her evolution from a green, fill-in correspondent to an adrenaline junkie who gets hit on by Nawaz Sharif, former Pakistani prime minister, and becomes adept in 'how to find money in a war zone, how to flatter a warlord, how to cover a suicide bombing, how to jump-start a car using a cord and a metal ladder.' Barker reveals how profoundly the U.S. continues to get Afghanistan wrong — that American personnel in the country live in a bubble, rarely dealing with Afghans, that they trample on local customs by getting routinely and 'staggeringly' drunk despite Islam's prohibition of alcohol, and throw offensive costume parties at the Department for International Development (DFID). In equal measure, Barker elucidates the deep political ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the U.S.'s role in today's 'whiplash between secularism and extremism,' and blasts Pakistan's leaders for destroying their nation through endless coups and power jockeying. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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