The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan after the Taliban

Overview

A National Public Radio reporter covering the last stand of the Taliban in their home base of Kandahar in Afghanistan's southern borderland, Sarah Chayes became deeply immersed in the unfolding drama of the attempt to rebuild a broken nation at the crossroads of the world's destiny. Her NPR tour up in early 2002, she left reporting to help turn the country's fortunes, accepting a job running a nonprofit founded by President Hamid Karzai's brother. With remarkable access to leading players in the postwar ...
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The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban

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Overview

A National Public Radio reporter covering the last stand of the Taliban in their home base of Kandahar in Afghanistan's southern borderland, Sarah Chayes became deeply immersed in the unfolding drama of the attempt to rebuild a broken nation at the crossroads of the world's destiny. Her NPR tour up in early 2002, she left reporting to help turn the country's fortunes, accepting a job running a nonprofit founded by President Hamid Karzai's brother. With remarkable access to leading players in the postwar government, Chayes witnessed a tragic story unfold-the perverse turn of events whereby the U.S. government and armed forces allowed and abetted the return to power of corrupt militia commanders to the country, as well as the reinfiltration of bands of Taliban forces supported by U.S. ally Pakistan. In this gripping and dramatic account of her four years on the ground, working with Afghanis in the battle to restore their country to order and establish democracy, Chayes opens Americans' eyes to the sobering realities of this vital front in the war on terror.

She forged unparalleled relationships with the Karzai family, tribal leaders, U.S. military and diplomatic brass, and such leading figures in the Kandahar government as the imposing and highly effective chief of police-an incorruptible supporter of the Karzai regime whose brutal assassination in June 2005 serves as the opening of the book. Chayes lived in an Afghan home, gaining rich insights into the country's culture and politics and researching the history of Afghanistan's legendary resistance to foreign interference. She takes us into meetings with Hamid Karzai and the corrupt Kandahar governor, Gul Agha Shirzai, into the homes of tribal elders and onto the U.S. military base. Unveiling the complexities and traumas of Afghanistan's postwar struggles, she reveals how the tribal strongmen who have regained power-after years of being displaced by the Taliban-have visited a renewed plague of corruption and violence on the Afghan people, under the complicit eyes of U.S. forces and officials.

The story Chayes tells is a powerful, disturbing revelation of misguided U.S. policy and of the deeply entrenched traditions of tribal warlordism that have ruled Afghanistan through the centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Engrossing ... In elegant prose, [Chayes] brings to life the region's rich history, complex politics and proud ethnic Pashtun tribesmen.
From the Publisher
"The Punishment of Virtue...comes to life in an audio powered by the vivid reading of Renee Raudman, an award-winning reader. Very highly recommended." —-Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143112068
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 697,476
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


From 1997 to 2002, Sarah Chayes served as an overseas correspondent for NPR, reporting from Paris and the Balkans, as well as covering conflicts in Algeria.

Renée Raudman is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator and actor. A multiple Audie Award nominee, she has earned a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards, and her narration of Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was selected by Library Journal as one of the best audiobooks of 2009.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read for the World

    Sarah Chayes' "The Punishment of Virtue" is not an easy read in the sense that the subject matter is disturbing and challenging. Sarah Chayes is a former NPR reporter who chose to stay in Kandahar, Afghanistan and has lived there for since the war began. It is a haunting tale of US involvement in Afghanistan. The book helps pull back the curtains on the complex interactions between political and military groups in that country. At times chilling, Chayes story is essential reading for anyone wanting to know more about the early days of US involvement in Afghanistan and the role of Pakistan in that country's current problems. While you could never argue Chayes ins't biased, it is disappointing that this book has not reached a wider audience. It very much deserves one. It is a thought provoking, well written all too true tale of our modern times.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Afghanistan from a veteran NPR reporter's perspective

    If you are interested in understanding Afghanistan's present situation, this book certainly provides a more in-depth perspective. I am a fan of NPR, and remember Sarah Chayes' reports from far-flung corners of the world...apparently she had a lot to tell about Afghanistan that was not allowed even on NPR. She uses this book to reveal what she learned from five years of being there as a reporter, and later, a resident of Khandahar. The story is fascinating, scary, and very enlightening...I want to learn more after hearing Sarah's experiences.

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted September 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 3 Customer Reviews

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