The Punishment of Virtue - Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban
by Sarah Chayes
'Kandahar has arguably replaced Moscow as the ideological antipode to everything we Americans think we believe in,' Sarah Chayes recently wrote in the Boston Review. Chayes, once a radio correspondent covering the fall of the Taleban, quit journalism and now lives in the former Taleban stronghold where she runs an aid organisation called Afghans for Civil Society. The Punishment of Virtue is a grass-roots view of how American policy in southern Afghanistan is driving the populace back into the arms of the Taleban. She mainly blames Pakistan, which for all its public posturing is actively supporting the resurgence. 'I was at a loss to understand why American decision-makers could not see how suicidally contradictory their alliance with Pakistan was,' she writes. 'To us on the ground, it was obvious.' She opens with the assassination of the Kandahar police chief, Muhammad Akrem Khakrezwal, who was won over by her stubbornness. They shared a vision of a new Afghanistan. Chayes brings to life the daily disillusionment of Afghans with a corrupt new order of 'warlordism', for which the US is entirely to blame.