A Literary Guide to Understanding Afghanistan, Past and Present

Afghan American author Nadia Hashimi recommends books that illuminate the history and conflicts of Afghanistan

On August 15th, the Taliban took control of Kabul and assumed the authority they’d claimed to hold from their exiled posts. Afghanistan had been free, almost completely, of their brutal regime for 20 years. We spent a week watching hordes of people rush to the Kabul airport in the hopes of escaping a bleak future, one that would have been a return to the past. 

The past is now the future, time and politics being circuitous creatures. I typically describe Rahima, a protagonist from my first novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, as a girl living in post-Taliban Afghanistan. I will have to find a new name for those years. My second novel, When the Moon Is Low, followed the journey of a widowed mother and her three children as they fled a Taliban-controlled homeland and sought refuge on foreign shores. It was called timely then. It is timely now.

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