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The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban


From a beloved former NPR reporter comes a news-breaking eyewitness account of how the U.S. government and armed forces allowed, and even abetted, ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban

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  • An exceptional assessment of post 9/11 Afghanistan Aug 7, 2007
    by ryefish

    If your thinking about buying this book, do yourself a favor, BUY IT! Regardless of your motives, this book is worth reading.
    Sarah Chayes has produced a revealing and intelligent Occidental glimpse into post 9/11 Afghanistan.
    Chayes experiences reporting for NPR and her experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco has given her the deft to negotiate the notoriously suspicious and misogynistic culture that permeates the Middle East. She is an observant and adept diplomat who does not mince words or appear to be beholden to any government agency or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
    Afghanistan, Chayes observes, is ?an entire nation comprised of generations suffering the effects of PTSD.? I had never considered such a possibility and if Americans realized this concept, perhaps we could be a bit more productive in our re-construction and social efforts.
    For the military, Chayes?s analysis of the county?s centuries old ?yaghistan reflex,? which has salvaged generations of Afghans from raiding empires is both brilliant and of important note. Chayes also reveals the not-so-subtle influences of Pakistan on Afghan political and social instability.
    This is all wound around the story of Chayes?s experiences and her brief but telling assessment of Afghan history.
    Chayes includes a perceptive and frank quote by one of her associates, Ayse Yildiz, that could surmise the situation there at least as much as the book?s title, ?Here we are, a bunch of kids from dysfunctional families, working at a dysfunctional organization, trying to fix a dysfunctional country.?

  • If Afghanistan intrigues you, read this! May 26, 2007
    by MFEC

    Sarah Chayes is an extraordinary woman. I knew of her before I bought the book - first, through her NYT blog a year ago, then through Google.
    For anyone who is concerned or involved in Afghanistan currently, this is an important book. It will open your eyes to the politics that push and pull this country. It is also well written and moving. When I finished it, I immediately lent it to an advisor who is leading a capacity building project here.
    To Sarah, her soap cooperative, and her sincere attempts to help Afghanistan, Godspeed!

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