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100 People 100 Places

To celebrate the release of my first book, Dispatches from the Kabul Café, I’ll be releasing a series of shorter dispatches introducing some of the people and places I encountered during my times in Afghanistan. 100 People, 100 Places are short, personal insights into Afghanistan (and sometimes beyond), revealing the people and the parts of the world that have mattered to me, and perhaps in some way, show who I am.

Whatever Happened to Olga?

By Heidi Kingstone Do you find yourself, like me, longing for the days of the Soviet Union and dreaming that sometime in the not too distant future the Iron Curtain will once again descend?  While communism holds no special appeal for me, the women so beloved of the eastern bloc do. Walking around the old…
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Heaven or Hell?

Vassula Rydén has written a book called Heaven is Real But So is Hell about the conversations she has had with God, Jesus, and Daniel, her guardian angel since 1985. Remarkably, it has sold 50,000 copies in the USA, so in preparation for our interview I read her book, researched her life, learned about her…
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Elephant Chickens

Landing in Kabul always rattled me, with the slight uncertainty of what lay ahead. But on the November day that I re-entered I quickly dropped my suitcase at my house, called a taxi, and headed over to the American embassy compound. Other Heidi, who I had met a few years earlier at an Anzac Day…
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100 People, 100 Places: Ahmad Chalabi

Ahmad Chalabi sat on the back of the sofa in the makeshift HQ in northern Iraq in early 2003, weeks before the impending invasion into Iraq. He had just come back inside the large house crammed full of people after taking a satellite call from Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of Defence, and part of President…
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From Baghdad to St Bride’s

The car bomb in Baghdad killed Ammar Al Shahbander in what has become an all too common occurrence of violence in Iraq. I first met Ammar in the late nineteen-nineties in London, Saddam Hussein then governed Iraq, and Ammar was a member of the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition group of exiles fighting to free…
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100 People, 100 Places: Cindy Crawford of Kabul

Dispatch No. 30

Jogging on the streets and up the hills of the Afghan capital was not something I wanted to do – not least because I dislike running, but it also wasn’t culturally appropriate. Getting fit proved a challenge for me in Kabul.  I found it was difficult to be active and difficult to eat healthily and…
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