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Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Wasted Vigil

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The Wasted Vigil

by Nadeem Aslam

The Wasted Vigil
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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Beyond the Book

Afghanistan 1979 - 1994

At the beginning of the novel, Lara, a character reminiscent, in her painful past and gracefulness, of Lara in Dr. Zhivago, arrives on Marcus's doorstep to uncover the fate of her brother Benedikt, who came to Afghanistan with the 1979 Soviet invasion...

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan at the request of the largely unpopular, pro-Soviet Afghan government, who sought military assistance against the Mujahideen* (various Afghan opposition groups who eventually formed one aligned political bloc). The Mujahideen were partially funded by the CIA during the Carter and Reagan administrations, and by a number of other countries. In 1979, the Soviet Union intervened to maintain the communist regime in Afghanistan. During this same year, President Carter, who saw this altercation as critical to the Cold War struggle, pledged support to the insurgent forces. Once the Soviets invaded, they quickly...

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