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The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistanby Kim Barker
Synopses & Reviews
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.
A wisecracking foreign correspondent recounts her haphazard experiences in Afghanistan and Pakistan while sharing cautionary observations about the region in its first post-Taliban years, its ability to prevent a Taliban regrouping and the responsibilities of the U.S. and NATO.
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.
Table of Contents
Pt. 1. Kabul high. Welcome to the terrordome ; Montana ; American idiot ; There goes my gun ; One way or another ; March of the pigs ; Monkey gone to heaven ; Message in a bottle ; Let's get radical ; Hell yes ; My new house ; Barely legal — pt. 2. Whack-a-stan. Under pressure ; Highway to hell ; God save the queen ; Stray cat strut ; Lucky star ; Suspicious minds ; Rebel, rebel ; Why can't we be friends? ; London calling ; Deadbeat club ; Eye of the tiger ; Bad liver and a broken heart ; Young Americans ; When the man comes around ; Hotel California.
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