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Rebuilding Afghanistan

January 11, 2010

by Tariq Ali
from the London Review of Books blog

P.J.Tobia’s photographs of these monstrous buildings in Kabul convey only part of the horror. Their location is not too far from the slum dwellings that house the poor of the city, sans water, sans electricity, sans sewage, sans everything. A young photo-journalist from Philadelphia, Tobia supplied the captions and writes on True/Slant:
Here in Kabul, the poor live in unimaginably squalid conditions and the rich live like kings. Kings in very ugly castles.
We call them Poppy Palaces or Narcotecture, because much of the money that went into building them came from Afghanistan’s biggest crop. I also suspect that some UN/NGO/USAID dollars are paying for these insults to taste and design.
You can see these monstrosities all over town and I’ve photographed a few of the worst for your viewing pleasure. Note the really high walls and metal armor on some of them.
I apologize for the hurried nature of these photos—I took most of them from a moving car—but the AK-47 toting guards who stand watch at these palaces become a bit, um, grumpy when you take pictures around them.
Nice to actually see what Euro-American soldiers are killing and dying for. more

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