Letter from Afghanistan — From the December 2012 issue

Caliph of the Tricksters

Cockfighting in the ruins of Kabul

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On a visit several years ago to Afghanistan, in a Kabul restaurant of the better kind, I met a policeman named Hossein Fakhri. A laconic, handsome, tense sort of man, Fakhri had been introduced to me as a police officer whose loves were literature and the city of his birth. Speaking in Persian, Afghanistan’s literary language, we discussed Kabul and the writers and poets who live there. So much had happened to the city in its recent history, I said, that it wasn’t easy for an outsider like me, visiting at some arbitrary point in events, to arrive at a …

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