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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.

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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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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100 People, 100 Places: Where Am I?

Dispatch No. 29

It’s a very odd experience being interviewed instead of conducting the interview, but I have enjoyed them all so far. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was surprised that a seasoned journalist who had interviewed me was fascinated by the life I had in Kabul. Although the reason I wrote the book was I…
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100 People, 100 Places: Vodka in Evian Bottles

I’ve been thinking about some of the strange and interesting experiences that I had in Kabul, a place where many people had graduated from contracting in Iraq to contracting in Afghanistan. One ordinary night, someone I had recently met, asked if I’d like to come along as she delivered portable loos to an American base,…
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100 People, 100 Places: From Farm to Table

The factory simply gleamed, there was a surgical theatre spotlessness that made it sparkle with cleanliness, hygiene and efficiency, which perhaps would not have been that surprising had the location not been in northern Afghanistan. The factory produced fresh pasteurized milk, cream, cheese, butter, buttermilk, yoghurt, and chaka (quark). While it was supported by foreign…
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