Kim Barker was the South Asia bureau chief for The Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009, based in New Delhi and Islamabad. Her book about those years, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a dark comedic take on her time in South Asia, was published by Doubleday. The movie version, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot will be released in March 2016, starring Tina Fey, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Margot Robbie and Billy Bob Thornton.
Barker is now a metro reporter at The New York Times, specializing in investigative reporting and narrative writing. Before joining The Times in mid-2014, Ms. Barker was an investigative reporter at ProPublica, writing mainly about campaign finance and the fallout from the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.
Kim Barker's website
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An introductory letter about The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker
When I arrived in India in 2004, I started keeping notes on everything, always with the intent of writing that foreign-correspondent tome that every foreign correspondent seems to write. I just didn't know which one. Serious and noteworthy, I figured. I had won most of my journalism awards at The Seattle Times for being a good digger, a good investigative reporter. And I was great at pathos. I could do grim with the best of them.
It didn't work out that way.
The germ of this book started over cocktails in Kabul, no doubt. Someone needed to write a book about the crazy social scene, the disco and toga parties, the fact that the constraints of working in Afghanistan and the desire for release turned everything into a drunken fraternity party. Somebody needed to update M*A*S*H. At least, that's what everyone said, while drinking bootlegged bottles of Jacob's Creek red that stained our teeth purple and cost $40 instead of $6. All the journalists joked about doing such a book, but buried with daily stories and the increasingly grim scene, no one did.
I thought about it - but I wanted any book to be bigger than that. While in the U.S. in 2007, suffering from ...
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