Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Key Players in Afghanistan & Pakistan: Background information when reading The Taliban Shuffle

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Taliban Shuffle

Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

by Kim Barker

The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker X
The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2012, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kevin Bartolotta
Buy This Book

About this Book

Key Players in Afghanistan & Pakistan

This article relates to The Taliban Shuffle

Print Review

Some of the best parts of The Taliban Shuffle are Barker's encounters with various Afghan and Pakistani  high officials, all of whom are fairly eccentric characters.  But, inevitably, it becomes difficult to keep track of their names and positions. Here is a short list of some of the figures met in the book.

Afghanis

Pacha Khan Zadran: A powerful warlord and leader in Southern Afghanistan.  Afghani leadersZadran was involved in driving out the Taliban, but soon thereafter turned on US forces because, in Barker's opinion, "No one paid enough attention to him".

Zalmay Khalilzad: The US Ambassador to Afghanistan during the period covered in the book.  Khalilzad is described as being perpetually surrounded by attractive women in tight clothing, dubbed "Zal's gal's".

Abdul Jabar Sabat: A conservative Afghani lawyer described as "windmill-slaying".  Sabat develops a claustrophobic friendship with Barker early in her career in Kabul.


Pakistanis

Pakistani leadersIftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry: Chief Justice of Pakistan from 2005-07 and, at the time this book is set, something of a "rock-star" to the Pakistani people for his political dissension.  Barker respects his populist appeal, but fails to see his massive popularity in light of his "tendency to mumble, prickly ego, and lazy eye."

Nawar Sharif: Another populist hero, called both "The Lion of the Punjab", and alternatively, "The Tiger".  Sharif is a major figure in Pakistani politics, serving multiple times as Prime Minister, and an amiable figure who attempts, unsuccessfully, to romance Barker.

Asif Ali Zardari: Husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, offered by Nawar Sharif as a potential husband for Barker.  The current president of Pakistan, his reputation has been consistently mired in corruption and he has gained the notorious nickname "Mister Ten Percent" for his alleged reputation for kickbacks.

Filed under People, Eras & Events

Article by Kevin Bartolotta

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Taliban Shuffle. It originally ran in June 2011 and has been updated for the March 2012 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dinosaurs
    by Lydia Millet

    "Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights."—Vogue

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.