A Personal History of Afghanistan in Seven Acts


Sunday nights are for tango at the Canadians’. Embassy staffers come wearing wing-tip shoes—improbably clean, despite the mud-sodden streets of Kabul. Humanitarian aid workers, the toughest of tribes, are here too. An air of fatigue clings to them. One evening, an American woman who used to tango in New York shows up, and we note that her embrace is far tighter than anything we are accustomed to. An Afghan who runs a logistics company is a regular. So is a German doctor who runs a children’s hospital. Female officers with the EU police mission come bearing delicate-sounding names like Elise and Marianna. When the dance class adjourns, these women put on their flak jackets to walk the twelve paces from the compound gate to their armored SUVs. Someone tells me it’s an insurance policy mandate. Members of the Australian close protection team (bodyguards for diplomats), whom I’ve heard referred to as “eye candy,” are also present. They are never short of willing women.

more from May Jeong at n+1 here.