A deeply personal, powerful and important travel book and memoir that reaches to the heart of Afghanistan's people - and their tragedy. Award-winning journalist Christina Lamb chronicles the human cost of decades of war in Afghanistan in an intensely moving and evocative book.
Lamb spent the last phase of the Soviet war in Pakistan, relying on her friendship with exiled Afghans to smuggle her in and out of Jalalabad. Some of these friends became key members of the Taliban regime, some their implacable enemies.
These contacts (which included the recently executed Al Haq) give her exclusive and critical insight into the brutalisation of this tragic, war-ravaged land. Her own professional history equips Lamb to discover the people no one else is writing about: the battered and abandoned victims of a quarter century of war.
These include people like Khalil Ahmed Hassani, a former Taliban torturer who admits to breaking the spines of men, then making them stand on their heads. A business graduate living in exile and with no strong religious convictions, his motives for joining the Taliban had nothing to do with religion. They had captured his 85-year-old grandfather and would kill him unless a male relative joined up.
Christina Lamb's reputation as a skillful chronicler of human stories, her unique perspective on Afghanistan, and her deep passion for the people she writes about make this the definitive account of the extraordinarily tragic plight of a proud people.