Skip to main content

The Taliban Shuffle

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Kim Barker
Doubleday, 2011
Source: Library
Audience: Adults, Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job. 

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban. And as her love for these hapless countries grows, her hopes for their stability and security fade. 

Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffle unforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone.


I loved the movie Whisky Tango Foxtrot. I was expecting it to be more of a comedy, but I still enjoyed it. Liking the movie led me to the book The Taliban Shuffle - the book the movie was based on. I learned so much from this book. Often, I forget what I see on the news as soon as I change the channel, so reading information in an entertaining format is helpful. Of course, there were some major differences between the book and the movie, but nothing that upset me greatly. I enjoyed each as it was.

Comments