16 January, 2021

Liberation On A Twenty-Two Yard Patch

Amid the Taliban’s ruinous hold, a new opium, cricket, offers hope to Afghans

Liberation On A Twenty-Two Yard Patch

A wonderful title like that has a plus and a minus attached to it. The plus is obvious: you immediately want to read the book. The minus is that it raises the expectations of the reader, so it better be good. The best thing I can, therefore, say about The Taliban Cricket Club is that it lives up to its title.

The book is set in the dark days of Afghanistan when the Soviets had left and the writ of the Taliban ran large in that benighted country. ‘Dark days’, of course, is a relative term; there’s not much light there now either, with American troops about to leave and the Karzai government accused of large-scale corruption. But at least now there is no ministry for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice as there was under the Taliban, where a man and a woman caught in ‘adultery’ are summarily shot, where beauty parlours, hair-dressing salons and cinema halls are shut; where watching television is haram; where a woman can’t be alone on the streets: if she goes out at all, it has to be...



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