Kabul, Through the Eyes of Amanda Lindhout: 9 June 2005

Self hopes Amanda Lindhout became a travel writer, because her descriptions of Kabul are gold. She hitches a ride to Kabul with a man and his son who live in Peshawar but visit relatives in Kabul regularly.

I’d taken a taxi that day to a wholesale market area near the center of the city, which sprawled in all directions, straddling the banks of the Kabul River, devolving into a labyrinth of crooked alleys. I bought a plastic cup of raisins and apricots mixed with pistachios and honey-sweetened water and ate them with a spoon. I browsed through little shops. In one, I found a shelf stacked with bars of soap, their wrappers showing a photograph of a smiling woman’s face, except that every face had been scribbled over with a marker. This was a fundamentalist Islamic move, something the Taliban once enforced strictly. Any images of things made by Allah weren’t to be replicated by a human hand, because it counted as playing god. Amanuddin had explained it to me: it was okay to paint or print a photograph of a car or building but not a person or animal. Idolatry was a sin.

A House in the Sky, p.64

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