Download Bird of Chaman, Flower of the Khyber by Matthieu Aikins PDF

By Matthieu Aikins

A reporter’s wild trip at the back of a Pakistani truck, in the course of the treacherous Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands from Karachi to Kabul.

How do you offer a whole warfare in landlocked Afghanistan? usually through truck. within the fall of 2012, award-winning journalist Matthieu Aikins discovered firsthand, driving in a rickety 1993 Nissan alongside the U.S. offer course, from the port urban of Karachi into Pakistan’s sizzling flatlands and lawless borderlands, then throughout the famed Khyber go and on towards the Afghan warzone. As he travels Pakistan's derelict roadways, Aikins observes how the an important lifeline for the Afghanistan battle has turn into wound up not just within the shady bargains of Pakistani contractors and predatory police, but additionally within the lives of rural Pashtuns who during the last decade have left their tribal homelands for trucking jobs in droves -- just like the hash-smoking brothers in whose cabin Aikins rides. In his six-day, 1,000-mile journey, Aikins confronts roadside bandits, Kalashnikov-wielding tribal patrols, and hawk-eyed toll guards (not to say confinement within the truck’s blazing-hot cabin). the outcome -- the second one within the Borderlands booklet sequence from overseas coverage journal and the Pulitzer middle on concern Reporting -- is either a harrowing account of existence on Pakistan’s highways and an anatomy of how overseas army intervention can remodel a society.

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Additional resources for Bird of Chaman, Flower of the Khyber

Sample text

Then I felt the checkerboard twine digging into my back, heard the buzzing of flies, and remembered that I was lying, fully clothed, on a charpai on the side 30 MATTHIEU AIKINS • BIRD OF CHAMAN, FLOWER OF THE KHYBER of the road in rural Sindh. I was still for a moment, with the faint touch of flies landing on my face, vainly seeking the salt and moisture of my eyes, mouth, and nose. Flinging the blanket off, I sat up and saw that the truck yard was bathed in the flat light of midday. , when Jahangir began to fall asleep at the wheel, and pulling into a truck stop outside of Ranipur, just south of the Indus River.

He hadn’t thought about that. ” I said. We lay back and watched the stars for a moment, and then Sardar answered. ” 39 MATTHIEU AIKINS • BIRD OF CHAMAN, FLOWER OF THE KHYBER 3. THE LAWLESS FRONTIER The main valley of the border town of Landi Kotal, at the top of the famous Khyber Pass. M ERCIFULLY, THE TRUCK stop had small outdoor wooden stalls with showers that streamed fresh well water. After passing the fertilizer plant, we had crossed into Punjab province—the traditional heart of Pakistan—and then stopped for the night in a small town called Chani Goth, some 15 miles from the city of Ahmedpur.

Sardar’s parents were raised in a small village in Kunar, a remote and mountainous province in eastern Afghanistan that borders the Pakistani tribal areas. They had known a communal harmony that had since been lost to war: Hindu families lived alongside Muslims in the village, and they attended each other’s weddings. After Afghanistan’s communist coup in 1978 and the subsequent war, Sardar’s parents fled to Karachi. His father never sold their land in Kunar, and he never bought any property in the city.

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