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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.

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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100 People, 100 Places: Rays of Hope

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival has kicked off in London and on Saturday night I went to see What Tomorrow Brings, a documentary by Beth Murphy about a remarkable teacher in Afghanistan and the students in her school for girls. The struggle for education and equal rights may be well-worn territory, but the story…
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100 People, 100 Places: “This is The Night of the Lovers”

“You are listening to 98.1 Arman FM, Radio of the Hearts. This is The Night of the Lovers.” Love is in the air. The media’s success in Afghanistan has been one of the country’s positive success stories, and as the title above suggests even in this complex conservative country, tiny fragments of hope peak through…even the…
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100 People, 100 Places: Sexual Revolution

Remembering Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi changed the world. Rarely is that kind of hyperbole a statement of fact, but in this case, it’s true. Known as the Father of The Pill, he was the chemist who, in 1951 synthesised norethindrone, the key component in the birth control pill, ushering in the sexual revolution by finally giving women control over their own bodies. Carl’s home in…
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