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The Punishment Of Virtue

The Punishment Of Virtue

Author: Sarah Chayes

An eyewitness account of the return to warlordism in Afghanistan after the Taliban Sarah Chayes was an overseas correspondent for America’s National Public Radio network when the US launched its campaign to topple the Taliban in 2001. Reporting from the Taliban’s home base of Kandahar, Chayes gained remarkably close access to Afghan warlords and politicians, US military and diplomatic officials, as well as ordinary Kandaharis. She saw the US government and armed forces aiding the return to power of corrupt warlords, and witnessed the re-infiltration of bands of Taliban militants supported by US ally Pakistan. Chayes takes us into forthright meetings with President Hamid Karzai and a shameless bargaining session with the commander of US forces in Afghanistan; she lets us eavesdrop on conversations with US troops and her showdowns with the corrupt Kandahar governor. She ushers us into the homes and hearts of tribal elders who are struggling to help their people survive this latest Afghan revolution. The Punishment of Virtue charts the course of a story whose tragic climax was not inevitable, but rather was the result of misguided and shortsighted policies. Weaving passages of carefully researched and engagingly narrated history into her tale, Chayes helps us grasp the subtleties of an exotic and strategic land – and proves how important it is for policy-makers to have an inkling of such subtleties before launching into overseas missions. '...a passionate, involving, important work of journalism...Chayes' portrait of the Taliban's recent resurgence, and its causes, is chilling.' STEVE COLL, author of Ghost Wars