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Kabul Quotes


"Kabul is... a thousand tragedies per square mile." - Khaled Hosseini

"All politics are local, whether in Kabul or in Canada." - Chris Alexander

"In Kabul, hot running water had been like fathers, a rare commodity." - Khaled Hosseini

"When you walk down the street of Kabul your values for life changes, they do change." - Marco Pierre White

"I would be quite happy to see the Northern Alliance steam across northern Afghanistan and take Kabul." - Geoff Hoon

"I was out there for 12 days. There are more beggars in Soho than there are in Kabul." - Neil Morrissey

"Kabul was very popular with the hippies in the Sixties and Seventies. It was very quiet and peaceful." - Khaled Hosseini

"I wouldn't want to roll the dice on Kabul by myself, because I really think getting killed is definitely a possibility there. A very good possibility." - Henry Rollins

"I'd rather we were rebuilding Philadelphia, as opposed to Kabul...There are American cities with serious infrastructure problems and we're not addressing them." - Mick Cornett

"On a bleak wintry morning some years ago I was summoned to the office of our naval attache at the American embassy in Kabul." - James A Michener

"I did stuff for three years in Kabul that I found exciting, and a lot of that was fixing roofs, talking about sewage installation." - Rory Stewart

"My memories of Kabul are vastly different than the way it is when I go there now. My memories are of the final years before everything changed. When I grew up in Kabul, it couldn't be mistaken for Beirut or Tehran, as it was still in a country that's essentially religious and conservative, but it was suprisingly progressive and liberal." - Khaled Hosseini

"Afghanistan has always been sort of a fractured nation, very tribal, where the countryside and the distant provinces have been run by custom, by tribal law and by tribal leaders rather than edicts from the central government in Kabul." - Khaled Hosseini

"If I could go to Kabul and not die, I would go back to Afghanistan as soon as I could. And, that was the most interesting place that I've been to." - Henry Rollins

"The strategy for peace-building in Afghanistan is economic aid, reconstruction, international security forces. On those lines, the U.S. has been extremely slow. And it has even blocked expanding security forces from Kabul to other cities." - Ahmed Rashid

"Success will only happen with Afghans leading the charge, and it is far, far more important for Kabul to create and support a purpose-driven school of architecture than to invite a high profile designer to build." - Cameron Sinclair

"There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir." - Osama Bin Laden

"Kabul was a thriving cosmopolitan city with its vibrant artistic, intellectual and cultural life. There were poets, musicians, and writers. There was also an influx of western culture, art, and literature in the '60s and '70s." - Khaled Hosseini

"Speculation is a fool's game, but I've seen many political projections that look like the Taliban could hold most of the country, and possibly Kabul, within perhaps a short time." - Eliza Griswold

"No possible future government in Kabul can be worse than the Taliban, and no thinkable future government would allow the level of Al Qaeda gangsterism to recur. So the outcome is proportionate and congruent with international principles of self-defense." - Christopher Hitchens

"Trying to rebuild Afghanistan on the cheap has left the country in the hands of warlords and an impotent Northern Alliance puppet regime that runs Kabul and nothing else." - Ted Rall

"They do believe that if we do not wage this war against terror in places like Baghdad and Kabul, we are more likely to have it waged in Baltimore and Kansas." - Ed Gillespie

"I returned to Kabul after a 27-year absence. I came away with some optimism but not as much as I had hoped for. The two major issues in Afghanistan are a lack of security outside Kabul (particularly in the south and east) and the powerful warlords ruling over the provinces with little or no allegiance to the central government. The other rapidly rising concern is the narcotic trade which, if not dealt with, may turn Afghanistan into another Bolivia or Colombia." - Khaled Hosseini

"I want my fellow citizens to wise up and stop falling for [war]. I try with my limited access, I'm not getting into Kabul with a camera, they're not letting me get into Benghazi with a camera. I do what I can with my flimsy American passport and a visa. The photos are a bit more heavy from Southern Sudan and Haiti and Cuba." - Henry Rollins

"Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan to transform her own life and ended up revolutionizing the lives of many of her Afghan sisters. This book made me feel like I was right there in the beauty salon, sharing in the tears and laughter as, outside my door, an entire country changed. KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL is inspiring, exciting, and not to be missed." - Masha Hamilton

"Some of the guys in the Northern Alliance are war criminals. One of the Northern Alliance commanders ran a slave girl network in Kabul in 1994. Remember that there was a period when every woman on the streets was at risk of being raped. This was the Northern Alliance period of glory." - Robert Fisk

"After the war in Afghanistan, Anna [Wintour, editor of Vogue], deciding to save the world one hair-roller at a time, thought the best way to help the women in this beleaguered country was to start a small beauty school in Kabul, where aid workers could get their roots done. Vanity Fair, edited by Bush-basher Graydon Carter, cheered her great humanitarian effort." - Myrna Blyth

"Pashtun nationalism is reasserting itself. Its political history spans several hundred years. The Pashtuns are angry at the Americans because, one, they're still being bombed, and two, they perceive that the Americans are backing the Tajik faction, which controls the army and security forces in Kabul." - Ahmed Rashid

"There was a time when the women of Afghanistan - at least in Kabul - were out there. They were allowed to study, they were doctors and surgeons, walking free, wearing what they wanted. That was when it was under Soviet occupation. Then the United States starts funding the mujahideen. Reagan called them Afghanistan's "founding fathers." It reincarnates the idea of "jehad," virtually creates the Taliban." - Arundhati Roy

"You have extreme poverty and high crime and you have to admit that the governance of the Kabul regime has been poor and has been losing its popular legitimacy. You have a corrupt police force, not to mention homelessness, joblessness. The problems are huge." - Khaled Hosseini

"I believe Fabio Celoni's work vividly brings to life not only the mountains, the bazaars, the city of Kabul and its kite-dotted skies, but also the many struggles, conflicts, and emotional highs and lows of Amir's journey [from the The Kite Runner ] ." - Khaled Hosseini

"I experienced Kabul with my brother the way Amir and Hassan do: long school days in the summer, kite fighting in the winter time, westerns with John Wayne at Cinema Park, big parties at our house in Wazir Akbar Khan, picnics in Paghman." - Khaled Hosseini

"The [George W.] Bush administration tripled its aid package to Afghanistan. [Hamid] Karzai finally (and courageously) announced that warlords will be forbidden from holding office in the future government. And finally, NATO agreed to expand the peacekeeping forces to troubled areas outside of Kabul." - Khaled Hosseini

"The problem is that so many of them are not getting told. This is a massive problem, not just in the Middle East but for places from Africa to Afghanistan. There are millions of stories out there, millions of potential Booksellers of Kabul or Valentino Achak Dengs." - Annia Ciezadlo

"It has always been our deep conviction, and we have always stressed the fact that the only solution for Afghanistan is democracy through elections. Each individual must have the right to vote. The day we will be in Kabul, we will organize elections under the auspices of international organizations." - Ahmad Shah Massoud

"The warlords took part in atrocities during the civil war in Afghanistan. They looted, they raped, they killed. They have become incredibly empowered and entrenched. They live in mansions, they have jobs in the government, and they're incredibly powerful. In Kabul, people don't want to speak about it too publicly, because these people are essentially like Tony Soprano." - Khaled Hosseini

"While women may look different, as some wear suits and others wear saris, or some cover their hair while others wear their hair loose, women need to stand together because they all face the central point of discrimination, although the extremity of which may be different from Kigali to Kabul." - Zainab Salbi

"I want you to know what I have told Australia's Parliament in Canberra - what I told General Petraeus in Kabul - what I told President Obama in the Oval Office this week. Australia will stand firm with our ally the United States." - Julia Gillard

"I went to Afghanistan in '96 to write about terrorist training camps south of Jalalabad and Tora Bora, in the mountains. I was there right before the Taliban took over, literally a few weeks before they took Kabul. The frontline wasn't terribly active, but it was definitely there. And they swept into power." - Sebastian Junger

"I think 2001 was the year Al Jazeera started to play an international role, in a way. Because in 2001, we were the only TV station located inside Kabul, and every image out of the war in Afghanistan, the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, came through Al Jazeera screen." - Wadah Khanfar

"We are a pluralist civilisation because we allow mosques to be built in our countries, and we are not going to stop simply because Christian missionaries are thrown into prison in Kabul. If we did so, we, too, would become Taliban." - Umberto Eco

"I think entrepreneurs are born and not created, and so I think you see a lot of similarities among entrepreneurs in different parts of the world. Their backdrop may be very different, but their drive to create a business and to create jobs remains very much the same, whether it's in Silicon Valley or Kandahar or Kabul." - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996 after a searing, four-year civil war, they immediately instituted laws which fit their utopic vision of the time of Islam's founding more than 1,300 years earlier. Afghan women's lives offered the most visible sign of the imagined past to which Afghanistan's present was to be returned." - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"Kabul is a walled city, which sounds romantic except the walls are pre-cast reinforced concrete blast barriers, 10 feet tall and 15 feet long and moved into place with cranes. The walls are topped with sandbags, and the sandbags are topped with guard posts from which gun barrels protrude." - P J Orourke

"Since the 1950s (until the early 1990s), girls in Kabul and other cities attended schools. Half of university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan's doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants. A small number of women even held important political posts as members of Parliament and judges. Most women did not wear the burqa." - Eleanor Smeal

"Americans have eliminated Iran's worst enemies, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam [Hussein]. I occasionally threatened my Iranian counterpart in Kabul that one day I would send him a big bill for what we did. But, seriously, Iran is pursuing a dual strategy in Iraq. On the one hand, the Iranians, after decades of hostility, are now interested in good relations. On the other hand, they want to keep the country weak and dominate the region." - Zalmay Khalilzad

"People don't dream all their lives of escaping the hellish countries they live in and pay their life savings to underworld types for the privilege of being locked up in a freezing, filthy, stinking container ship and hauled like cargo for weeks until they finally arrive in Moscow or Beijing or Baghdad or Kabul. People risk their lives to come here-to New York. The greatest city in the world, where dreams become reality." - Sean Hannity

"Since the 1950s (until the early 1990s), girls in Kabul and other cities attended schools. Half of university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan's doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants. A small number of women even held important political posts as members of Parliament and judges. Most women did not wear the burqa." - Eleanor Smeal

"The Pashtuns feel discriminated against by the Americans because they supported the Taliban and the war is still going on in their region with continued U.S. bombing. They are also disgruntled at the overwhelming power of their ethnic rivals the Tajiks, who dominate the security forces in Kabul and control the key levers of political power. Although Karzai is a Pashtun also, many Pashtuns consider him a hostage to the Tajiks and Americans." - Ahmed Rashid

"In 2001, we were told that the war in Afghanistan was a feminist mission. The marines were liberating Afghan women from the Taliban. Can you really bomb feminism into a country? And now, after 25 years of brutal war - 10 years against the Soviet occupation, 15 years of US occupation - the Taliban is riding back to Kabul and will soon be back to doing business with the United States." - Arundhati Roy

"In early 1999, I was watching TV, when I came across a story on Afghanistan. It was a story about the Taliban and the restrictions they were imposing on the Afghan people, most notably women.At some point in the story, there was a casual reference to them having banned the game of kite fighting. This detail struck a personal chord with me, as I had grown up in Kabul flying kite with my friends." - Khaled Hosseini

"I came from an educated, upper middle-class family. My mother was a Persian and history teacher at a large high school for girls. Many of the women in my extended family and in our circle of friends were professionals. In those days, women were a vital part of the economy in Kabul. They worked as lawyers, physicians, college professors, etc., which makes the tragedy of how they were treated by the Taliban that much more painful." - Khaled Hosseini

"The U.S. is telling the Northern Alliance to kill Taliban prisoners. It's totally a breach of all the known conventions of war. Western television networks aren't showing this, but Arab networks are showing how prisoners are being killed and what's being done to them. Instead, we're shown scenes that are deliberately created for the Western media: a few women without the veil, a woman reading the news on Kabul television, and 150 people cheering." - Tariq Ali

"I wanted to tell them that, in Kabul, we snapped a tree branch and used it as a credit card. Hassan and I would take the wooden stick to the bread maker. He'd carve notches on our stick with his knife, one notch for each loaf of naan he'd pull for us from the tandoor's roaring flames. At the end of the month, my father paid him for the number of notches on the stick. That was it. No questions. No ID." - Khaled Hosseini

"The future of Afghanistan is incredibly dark, and decisions are happening incredibly quickly. Speculation is a fool's game, but I've seen many political projections that look like the Taliban could hold most of the country, and possibly Kabul, within perhaps a short time. I can't imagine how Afghanistan's fall isn't going to be ten times faster than Iraq's. The role of women in that space is terrifying, and the idea of retribution is a nightmare." - Eliza Griswold

"The Soviets held to the tradition of colonialism. They raped the country and killed many people. But they also built dams, electrical power plants, streets, and technical schools. They were communists and had the same vision for Afghanistan that Stalin and Lenin had for the Soviet Union: Progress is communism plus electrification. And today? Today Kabul gets its electrical power from Uzbekistan, Herat from Iran and Jalalabad from Pakistan." - Ahmed Rashid

"The Afghan government is much better informed, much more intrusive and ambitious than I had guessed. There are amazing craftsmen in Kabul but few designers and wage rates are astonishingly high - which is a problem when trying to support and promote Afghan craft exports. The community in Murad Khani in the old city - who we are helping to restore their area - have been the best part so far - eccentric, led by a champion wrestler, determined, proud and courageous." - Rory Stewart

"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention." - Zbigniew Brzezinski

"He was an Afghan Hound name Kabul. Since him I have had other Afghan Hounds.... Perhaps I am looking for his ghost. He is the only one that I sometimes think about. Often, if he comes in to my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rested against his head." - Pablo Picasso