Elgin's Reviews > The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan

The Sewing Circles of Herat by Christina Lamb
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's review
Jan 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: current-events

This is the third book I have read about Afghanistan, but the first that focused on personal accounts of some of the Afghan people. There are some very inspiring stories and some very disturbing ones here. One of the most disturbing was Lamb's interview of a (repentant?) torturer for the Taliban, who went into great detail about the things they did to prisoners. There are also equally disturbing interviews with people who survived Taliban imprisonment. But there were also very inspiring stories about the men and women who risked theirs and their families lives to run clandestine schools for girls, and the artist who used watercolors to paint over offending portions of oil paintings so the Taliban would not destroy them, the was able to quickly restore the paintings after the Taliban collapsed. In her writing, Lamb does a good job of summarizing Afghanistan history and capturing the generosity and courage of many of the Afghan people. She also sets out a strong case that the Pakistan ISI (military intelligence) is a strong and continuing supporter of the Taliban and finances this support with US dollars. I would love to see Afghanistan become a place where the people can live in peace and freedom. But given Pakistan policy and the fact that too many Afghan warlords want power, I do not see how it will happen. It seems likely that when the US leaves, the Taliban will once again control the country.

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