New York Times: Kabul in Winter

Ann Jones flew to Afghanistan in December of 2002, and volunteered her services to a small charity. Based on her many observations, she has now written a book: "Kabul in Winter" , available at Amazon.com. In my honest opinion, this is the very best description of the state of that war-torn country, though she begins her narrative from a political position many of her readers will distrust. She views the United States as an imperialist power, bent on shaping the world to our narrow interests, and imposing free-market economics on the oppressed peoples of our world. As an observer and analyst of Afghan society, and its many problems, she can be eloquent and persuasive. Above all, she is an observer and analyst of Afghan society, but also a compassionate voice for the plight of Afghan women. Wife-beating is universal, and many young women, in despair at being married to a man they fear and loathe, douse themselves with gasoline and light a match. The hospitals in Afghanistan are filled with such tragic cases. Western aid organizations, who pay high salaries by Afghan standards, distort the local economy. Though there are some bright spots, nostalgia for the days of Soviet occupation is growing: At least, the Soviets put up some apartment buildings!

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