The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker
Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Synopsis

A true-life Catch-22 set in the deeply dysfunctional countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, by one of the region’s longest-serving correspondents.

Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job.

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban. And as her love for these hapless countries grows, her hopes for their stability and security fade.

Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffle unforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Kim Barker

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KIM BARKER joined the Chicago Tribune in 2001 and was South Asia bureau chief from 2004 to 2009. She currently holds the prestigious Edward R. Murrow press fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives in New York City.
 
Published March 22, 2011 by Anchor. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Taliban Shuffle

Kirkus Reviews

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A memoir of the five years the writer spent reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001.

Mar 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

The New York Times

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Kim Barker’s book “The Taliban Shuffle” is an account of her experiences as a reporter covering Afghanistan and Pakistan that manages to be hilarious and harrowing at the same time.

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

Publishers Weekly

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Barker, a journalist for ProPublica, offers a candid and darkly comic account of her eight years as an international correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Afghanistan and Pakistan, beginning shortl

Nov 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

PopMatters

Barker certainly does not have the fondness for Pakistan that she does for Afghanistan, and her reason is not only that she gets her butt grabbed every time she’s caught up in a crowd.

May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

Patheos

As Ms Garber tells us “This makes for a war comedy in the tradition of M*A*S*H and Catch-22 and Tropic Thunder and Wag the Dog…” However, she goes on to note, this movie “differs from its predecessors in an important way: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is, oddly enough, a rom-com.”.

Mar 07 2016 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

Chicago Tribune

Surely Kim Barker is the only foreign correspondent to sum up Afghan President Hamid Karzai as "whiny and conflicted, a combination of Woody Allen, Chicken Little and Jimmy Carter," with a national government that "seemed about as effective as a student council."

May 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

Women's Voices for Change

There, she meets her “Fixer,” her “Security,” and an animal house full of foreign press, partying as if its their last night on Earth.

Mar 22 2016 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

Women's Voices for Change

She begins to speak truth to her silent husband, telling him about her childhood, her suffering, her frustrations, her loneliness, her dreams, desires, and secrets.

Jul 26 2016 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

But Kim Barker, a Montana native and former Spokesman-Review reporter, has written an often hilarious account of her experiences living in, and writing from, war zones.

Apr 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

The Wall Street Journal

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This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.

Dec 17 2015 | Read Full Review of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange ...

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