Beyond the Book: Background information when reading My Guantanamo Diary

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My Guantanamo Diary

The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me

by Mahvish Khan

My Guantanamo Diary
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2008, 320 pages
    Jun 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lesley Marshall

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Beyond the Book

Afghan Culture and Customs
Afghanistan's 33 million people are made up of more than twenty ethnic groups with their own distinctive languages and cultural mores. The largest and most dominant of these groups, politically and economically, are the Pashtuns (42% of the population), The second most populous group are the Tajiks (27%). Smaller groups include the Hazaras, the Aymaqs, the Uzbeks and the Turkmen. Pashto and Dari (Persian) are the two official languages of the country.

There are various Afghan dwelling styles. Rural people tend to live in homes made of sun-dried bricks, city dwellers live in homes made of baked bricks, concrete or both. Some nomadic tribes live in tents made of goat hair (in the 1970s about 1/5 of the population was classified as nomadic but these numbers have fallen precipitously due to the ongoing military conflicts). The constructed ...

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