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Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born. With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup. Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style. With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Kabul Beauty School is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom. From the Hardcover edition.
In answer to the question of what happened following her New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School, Deborah Rodriquez is back with a new memoir: “a brave and often hilarious tale of reinvention, told with pioneer woman brio and wicked humor” (Wendy Lawless, bestselling author of Chanel Bonfire). Irreverent, insightful, and blatantly honest, Deborah takes us along on her inspiring journey of self-discovery and renewal after she is forced to flee Afghanistan in 2007. She first lands in California, where she feels like a misfit teetering on the brink of sanity. Where was that fearless redhead who stared danger in the face back in Kabul? After being advised to commune with glowworms and sit in contemplation for one year, Rodriguez finally packs her life and her cat into her Mini Cooper and moves to a seaside town in Mexico. Despite having no plan, no friends, and no Spanish speaking skills, a determined Rodriguez soon finds herself swept up in a world where the music never stops and a new life can begin. Her adventures and misadventures among the expats and locals help lead the way to new love, new family, and a new sense of herself. In the magic of Mexico, she finds the hairdresser within, and builds the life she never knew was possible—a life on her own terms.
Deborah Rodriguez's bestselling novel about a little cafe in Kabul, and the five extraordinary women who meet there ... In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. Sunny, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her caf and customers safe... Yazminda, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets ... Candace, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil ... Isabel, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life... And Halajan, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules. As these five discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.
This book analyses the various ways counterinsurgency in Afghanistan is gendered. The book examines the US led war in Afghanistan from 2001 onwards, including the invasion, the population-centric counterinsurgency operations and the efforts to train a new Afghan military charged with securing the country when the US and NATO withdrew their combat forces in 2014. Through an analysis of key counterinsurgency texts and military memoirs, the book explores how gender and counterinsurgency are co-constitutive in numerous ways. It discusses the multiple military masculinities that counterinsurgency relies on, the discourse of ‘cultural sensitivity’, and the deployment of Female Engagement Teams (FETs). Gendering Counterinsurgency demonstrates how population-centric counterinsurgency doctrine and practice can be captured within a gendered dynamic of ‘killing and caring’ – reliant on physical violence, albeit mediated through ‘armed social work’. This simultaneously contradictory and complementary dynamic cannot be understood without recognising how the legitimation and the practice of this war relied on multiple gendered embodied performances of masculinities and femininities. Developing the concept of ‘embodied performativity’ this book shows how the clues to understanding counterinsurgency, as well as gendering war more broadly are found in war’s everyday gendered manifestations. This book will be of much interest to students of counterinsurgency warfare, gender politics, governmentality, biopolitics, critical war studies, and critical security studies in general.
The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by United States and coalition forces was followed by a flood of aid and development dollars and “experts” representing well over two thousand organizations—each with separate policy initiatives, geopolitical agendas, and socioeconomic interests. This book examines the everyday actions of people associated with this international effort, with a special emphasis on small players: individuals and groups who charted alternative paths outside the existing networks of aid and development. This focus highlights the complexities, complications, and contradictions at the intersection of the everyday and the geopolitical, showing how dominant geopolitical narratives influence daily life in places like Afghanistan—and what happens when the goals of aid workersor the needs of aid recipients do not fit the narrative. Specifically, this book examines the use of gender, “need,” and grief as drivers for both common and exceptional responses to geopolitical interventions.Throughout this work, Jennifer L. Fluri and Rachel Lehr describe intimate encounters at a microscale to complicate and dispute the ways in which Afghans and their country have been imagined, described, fetishized, politicized, vilified, and rescued. The authors identify the ways in which Afghan men and women have been narrowly categorized as perpetrators and victims, respectively. They discuss several projects to show how gender and grief became forms of currency that were exchanged for different social, economic, and political opportunities. Such entanglements suggest the power and influence of the United States while illustrating the ways in which individuals and groups have attempted to chart alternative avenues of interaction, intervention, and interpretation.
Understand the complexities of the most lethal insurgent group of America's longest war—the Taliban. • Provides insights from an author with academic training in politics and economics as well as a 30-year defense intelligence community background, including serving as an Army analyst in Afghanistan • Presents information recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act • Analyzes the tribal, religious, political, and international elements of the greater Taliban problem

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