The Khaarijee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul is the story of a Malcolm Garcia, an on-again, off-again international correspondent that makes several trips to Afghanistan (and one to Pakistan that is not really a part of the story but is interesting nonetheless). Readers get to see a refugee camp up close, the physical degradation of Kabul, the sense of hope when American soldiers threw out the Taliban, the confusion of Afghanistan's government, the Afghan people's unfailing politeness to guests and, ultimately, the despair of Afghanistan - what one Afghan refugee calls "a tired country."
While other reviewers have had complaints about Garcia's behaviors (couldn't remember names, etc.) I found this book exactly fit the bill for what I wanted: an eyewitness perspective of what it is like in Afghanistan. I was reminded of Rory Stewart's magnificent book The Places In Between.
It is a series of snapshots over a 6 year period, nothing more and nothing less. As a snapshot, it offers no answers, but after reading this book I don't think any intelligent reader will be looking for answers to anything about Afghanistan. At best, this book will let the reader ask a better set of questions.
I rate this book 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars.
Reviewe June 14, 2010.
Other works referenced in this review:
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