Afghanistan’s Bandit Tradition


While decades of conflict have created a degree of anarchy and lawlessness across Afghanistan, within Afghan culture there have long been romanticized portrayals of bandits that continue to the present day. Pashtun culture in particular is highly egalitarian, with strongly pronounced streaks of both individualism and justice. The ideal Pashtun male is someone who is … Continue reading Afghanistan’s Bandit Tradition

Traces of Alexander the Great


Afghanistan has suffered from many invasions over the millennia, but perhaps the most famous of them all is that of Alexander the Great and his armies. I was familiar with this episode in history before I first visited Afghanistan, though my knowledge grew as I walked the ground. Something I began to wonder, however, was … Continue reading Traces of Alexander the Great

Review: Descent into Chaos


Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid leapt into prominence outside of his home country when, post 9/11, Western journalists poured into Afghanistan to report on the conflict there. Little had been written about the Taliban at that time, and so many of them clutched Rashid’s first book published in 1999, “Taliban.” Since that time, Rashid has become … Continue reading Review: Descent into Chaos