The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne SeierstadIn spring 2002, following the fall of the Taliban, Asne Seierstad spent four months living with a bookseller and his family in Kabul.
For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities—be they communist or Taliban—to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists, and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock—almost ten thousand books—in attics all over Kabul.
But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and his hatred of censorship, he also has strict views on family life and the role of women. As an outsider, Asne Seierstad found herself in a unique position, able to move freely between the private, restricted sphere of the women—including Khan’s two wives—and the freer, more public lives of the men.
It is an experience that Seierstad finds both fascinating and frustrating. As she steps back from the page and allows the Khans to speak for themselves, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment. The result is a genuinely gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history. to This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details—a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today’s Afghanistan.
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Coalition casualties in Afghanistan
Unknown gunmen killed two people, a German woman and an Afghan guard, and abducted a Finnish woman in Kabul on Saturday evening, according to officials. On Saturday evening, the attackers entered a compound housing employees working for Operation Mercy, a Swedish charity, in a residential area off Darulaman Road in western Kabul. An interior ministry spokesman, Najib Danish, said an investigation was under way. No group immediately claimed responsibility, and the motive for the attack was unclear. According to the Afghan interior ministry, at least two other foreigners escaped the attack. The German foreign ministry had yet to release a statement, but western sources in Kabul confirmed the nationality of thewoman who was killed.
Tuesday 24 September 2019
The two women were aid workers employed by Operation Mercy, a relief and development NGO which has over staff worldwide. Their names are still being withheld at the time of publication. The guard, who was beheaded, was employed directly by the residents of the compound, not by the aid agency. The German woman had been working in Afghanistan for 13 years with Operation Mercy since and headed a literacy project. Her Finnish colleague was studying Dari Afghan version of Persian , preparing for a first assignment.
In addition to these deaths in Afghanistan, another 55 U. The total also omits the 62 Spanish soldiers returning from Afghanistan who died in Turkey on 26 May , when their plane crashed. During the first five years of the war, the vast majority of coalition deaths were American, but between and , a significant proportion were amongst other nations, particularly the United Kingdom and Canada which have been assigned responsibility for the flashpoint provinces of Helmand and Kandahar , respectively. This is because in , ISAF expanded its jurisdiction to the southern regions of Afghanistan which were previously under the direct authority of the U. As Robert Gates pointed out on 10 June , in his "last policy speech" as U.