Ep 29 — Afghanistan: Poppies, Tribalism, and the Taliban


Manage episode 305417465 series 2602432
By Strong Sense of Place. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Located in Central Asia with Iran to the west and Pakistan to the east, Afghanistan sits at the crossroads of Asia and the Middle East. That's made it a hot spot for invaders from all directions for millennia.

Afghanistan's terrain is rugged — and in some places, stunningly beautiful — with deep gorges and river valleys, deserts, snow-topped mountains, and irrigated land used for farming. It's best known for pomegranates and poppies: Heroin made from opium grown in Afghanistan makes up 95% of the market in Europe.

Afghanistan is a culturally conservative and religious nation. Reputation is the most valuable social commodity, which forces both men and women to comply with a web of strict social rules. An estimated 99.7% of the Afghan population is Muslim. And that faith plays out in dress, dietary codes, regular prayer, language, and social interactions.

In this episode, we get curious about Afghanistan's violent history, its tribal and social customs, and the rise of the Taliban. Then we discuss five books that gave us a better understanding of the whole situation. From reportage to history to a literary crime novel, these books illuminated a vivid picture of this remarkable, challenging country.

For more on the books we recommend, plus the other cool stuff we talk about, visit show notes at http://strongsenseofplace.com/podcasts/2021-10-25-afghanistan

As always, you can follow us at:

If you like the work we’re doing and want more book recommendations, behind-the-scenes info, online chats, and the opportunity to influence the show, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

43 episodes