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A rat’s progress in Afghanistan

I wonder if everyone who goes to Kabul for the first time keeps a diary. I know I did. In Ballots, Bullets & Kabulshit, Toby Ralph writes about one of the most fascinating and frustrating countries in the world. He spent two weeks there as an electoral advisor the year before the 2009 Afghan presidential elections. Ralph has a wonderful turn of phrase, a wry eye, a lightness of touch, and a wicked sense of the absurd. He is side-splittingly funny, too.

‘Kabulshit’ is a good example (from the Lily Allen song?). Expats live in the well-known Kabubble and Kabulshit aptly sums up the many vagaries that pass for truth. Like most people who travel to Afghanistan for the first time his notions were “a curious amalgam of Kiplingesque clichés from my teens, grainy downloads of sword-wielding fundamentalists steadying on an infidel neck, and tempered triumphalism from Operation Enduring Freedom.”

To read the full story please visit On Line Opinion.

Originally published at On Line Opinion on the 5th of October, 2012.