The Great Kabubble

I have an article entitled "Kabubble: Counting down to economic collapse in the Afghan capital" out in the February issue of Harper's Magazine.

Like most of Harper's features, it's available to subscribers only, but this blog post that I wrote for their website today will give you a taste:


"As high and barbed as their blast walls may go, diplomats and foreign aid workers have not (yet) found a way to keep the capital’s smoggy air from their orderly compounds."

The feature article is complemented by some very expressive photography from one of my favorite photographers working in Afghanistan, Zalmai. And the story's final kicker is perhaps the best that I've written yet:

"His Excellency President Karzai promised us."

If you're intrigued, do consider subscribing to Harper's--as fusty as its attitude to the Web might be sometimes, I think it has retained a contemplative sensibility that's eroding in this time of tweetable headlines. I certainly don't think that I could have written this kind of article in many other venues.

In other news, If you’re in Washington, DC, this Friday afternoon or feel like tuning in to the webcast, I’ll be speaking on a panel about the political economy of transition at the United States Institute for Peace. I’ll be joined by the author and journalist Anand Gopal, who has written extensively on patronage networks in Afghanistan, and the economist Bill Byrd, who helped author last year’s seminal World Bank Report on Afghanistan’s economy in transition.