Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords, and One Woman's Journey Through Afghanistan

Fariba Nawa

Language: English

Pages: 368


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When veteran reporter Fariba Nawa returned home to Afghanistan—the nation she had fled as a child with her family during the Soviet invasion nearly twenty years earlier—she discovered a fractured country transformed by a multibillion-dollar drug trade. In Opium Nation, Nawa deftly illuminates the changes that have overtaken Afghanistan after decades of unbroken war. Sharing remarkable stories of poppy farmers, corrupt officials, expats, drug lords, and addicts, including her haunting encounter with a twelve-year-old child bride who was bartered to pay off her father’s opium debts, Nawa offers a revealing and provocative narrative of a homecoming more difficult than she ever imagined as she courageously explores her own Afghan American identity and unveils a startling portrait of a land in turmoil.

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www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/dpe/modern_conflicts/Afghanistan.pdf. 32 Ronald Reagan’s government: Amir Zada Asad and Robert Harris, The Politics and Economics of Drug Production on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border, Burlington, UK: Ashgate, 2003. 32 “The United States was not waging”: Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, 29, 33. 32 The king’s motives were twofold: Magnus and Naby,

danger, with a few white stones marking areas that have been cleared of mines. “Are there any mines on the road itself?” I ask the driver, Abdul, an hour into the three-hour drive. “I mean, is it possible that your car could blow up right now?” Kamran, who sits in the passenger seat, interjects. “Don’t worry. The road has been cleared. Although I don’t recommend you come here by yourself. This has never been a safe road. Drug dealers are in charge of this road.” Kamran has lived in Iran with

overflowed with injured students. The ground was deep red, and people were running in and out of the school grounds. I saw Maha—a classmate I often played hide and seek with—carried out by a man in a white coat; her arm was missing and she was bleeding from one eye. I recognized Jaber—the son of a teacher and the only boy in the school—from his clothes; his head had been blown off. But where was my sister? Faiza was skinny and petite, with platinum blond hair that she had to dye black, lest

a stocky fast-talker. “Of course you’re going to give me a good price. Otherwise, you won’t get any of it,” the store owner answers with a smirk. Next to his scale are stacks of dollar bills, held tight by rubber bands, each bundle two inches thick. There are no other products visible in these shops besides money and drugs. The shops have no signs, no awnings, no paint—they’re stark mud-brick huts with two-piece wooden doors closed with padded locks. In front of one shop, a bearded man tastes

six-thousand-dollar reward offered to fresh recruits of the insurgency.” Two months after Idrees’s murder, I visit his family at their Khair Khana home. The cemented front yard is decorated with more than a dozen plants. I can smell rotting garbage mixed with the aroma of fresh adobe after a light rain. My shoes feel heavy from the mud I collect as I walk to the door. I knock, and a young girl in a head scarf answers. I hear a baby crying. “That’s my little brother, Rahim,” the girl chimes.

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