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Category Archive for: ‘Blog’

The Last Breath

I’ve seen violent death and I was able to go on scarred but functional. But the death looming before me these days is the hardest to bear. It’s a family picture with the patriarch slowly fading. The head, the arms, the body. You try to stop the eraser with your memories but there’s no stopping it. It only hurts more …

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Heading East Again

It’s safe, sunny and quiet. My girls go to a decent school. We own a home, a business and my extended family lives nearby. The largest Afghan community in the U.S. is here – Little Kabul in the San Francisco Bay Area. This multicultural, thriving hub buzzing with new technology is where I should belong. And I do belong. But …

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Justice for Afghanistan’s disappeared: Q and A with Dutch police

On September 18, 2013, Dutch authorities released a death list of Afghanistan’s disappeared that threw Afghans into a frenzy. The list opened old wounds. Families held funerals and called for justice. There were nearly 5,000 of those on the list who disappeared under the communist regime from 1978-79. Brutal ruling regimes from the communists, the Mujahideen, the Taliban and the …

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Darya’s fate

Today is International Women’s Day and I dedicate today to Darya, the heroine opium bride in Opium Nation. I found Darya after nine years of searching. She was 12 when I met her. She asked me to help save her from a forced marriage to a 46-year-old drug smuggler. She’s now 21. My book needs a new ending but until …

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Highlights from a year on book tour

-Learning to speak to Italians via Google Translate. I got dozens of emails in Italian from readers who were touched by the book. In Italy, the book was published hardcover with a cover of a woman in niqab and titled The Afghan Wife. I had nothing to do with any of it except the words on the inside pages. -I …

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Reflections of a year on book tour

From New York to Los Angeles, Seattle to Phoenix, to the nation’s capital, I stood before Americans for the last year and told the story of Afghanistan’s drug trade, the story of its women, its drug lords, its heroes and criminals. I told my own story of an exile returning to my homeland, traveling in the region for seven years …

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Why I voted for Obama

Obama’s foreign policy decisions do not impress me. But Obama’s foreign policy record is another blog. I didn’t vote for him because he’s bringing peace or resolution to the world. I voted for Obama because inside the US, he’s doing what must be done to heal the country. He’s trying to regulate the economy while the Republicans continue to support …

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Response to critiques of ‘How Iran controls Afghanistan’

Afghans who read my article “How Iran controls Afghanistan” for Foxnews.com in January critiqued the piece, and the Hazaras took particular offense.  I promised a response — it took awhile due to health issues I’ve been struggling with, but here it is. My article is a short opinion piece focused on how Iran influences Afghanistan based on my own travels …

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The dangers of traveling through Afghanistan’s drug trail

For five years, I traveled on the bumpy roads of Afghanistan discovering the underworld of the illicit narcotics trade. I had many close calls with death, mostly having to do with bad drivers and bombed out highways, but I survived to write my book Opium Nation, just released by HarperPerennial. My biggest fear was not being killed, but being kidnapped …

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Poop, projectile and poppies

I’m learning to manage a 3-year-old, an infant and a career — a juggling act that women in the workplace have been practicing in the U.S. for the last 60 years. With my first book on the Afghan poppy trade about to launch, marketing is a full-time job. But my motherly duties come first. Just when I think I have …

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