#Kabul #Afghanistan: Jihad for Dummies, Spring Hopes Eternal

Happy Persian New Year 1394! I celebrated it last year in first-cousin fortress Kabul, behind enemy lines, me and Brian Williams, the biggest celebrations at the Serena Hotel, where foreign journalists and dignitaries felt safe until Talib and the Taliban bluffed their way past Checkpoint Charlie, killing several before it was all over while I slept soundly (gulp) in another neighborhood… What a difference a year can make!

Hyper-Travel: Karma Bum, Dharma Dawg, and the Ballot-Proof Monk

God & State in Kabul, Afghanistan God & State in Kabul, Afghanistan

The queue for Safi Air flight #248 from Delhi to Kabul looks like something of a loya jirga in itself, businessmen and diplomats, village traders of lapis lazuli, scammers and schemers, all going back to the homeland for one reason or another, all with excess baggage—fridges toasters and microwaves, dreams hopes and expectations—all wearing long tunics baggy trousers and funny hats, all speaking strange tongues and whispering strange sighs, body odors wafting from overcoats whose histories likely date back to eras unspecified and improperly documented.

Any one of these guys could be a Taliban terrorist, al-Qaeda conniver or Saudi Salafist, down on his luck up on his religion out of his rightful mind and into the only one that’s left, high-tailing it or in-boxing it or tweeting it or snap-chatting architectural blueprints for any one of 1000’s of memorials and buildings and airports freely…

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