Graeme Wood

Icon

Policing Afghanistan

Originally appeared in The New Yorker.

Letter from Pashmul

An ethnic-minority force enters a Taliban stronghold.

In late 2007, in Pashmul, a tiny cluster of villages in southern Afghanistan, Muhammad Khan began his tenure as the police commander by torching all the hemp in a farmer’s field. Farmers in the area had grown plants up to seven feet tall, and, being teetotallers, like many Afghans, they smoked hashish constantly. Afghan soldiers and policemen in the area also smoked, to the exasperation of the NATO troops who were training them. But Khan wasn’t from Pashmul and he didn’t smoke. He ordered his men to set the harvest ablaze, moved upwind, then turned his back and left, with an expression of indifference. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Filed under: New Yorker, , ,

@gcaw

  • RT @Hegghammer: Some important limitations here: 1) uses data from 1980 to 2004; 2) counts executed attacks, not plots; 3) measures inciden… 7 hours ago
  • Mark Kleiman (RIP) was a genius. He could be generous and cranky, usually in the right measures and at the right ti… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 19 hours ago
  • The literary critic Christopher Ricks personally prevented Karen Armstrong from completing her doctorate in English… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 day ago
  • RT @rcallimachi: The thing that’s stunning about this case of an American citizen who became an ISIS emir is that no one I know who follows… 2 days ago
  • RT @CaitlinPacific: There is some confusion about Cats. How can I explain it? It was based on a twee collection of TS Eliot poems and it wa… 2 days ago