This work presents the stories of great beauty from a land lost to war. It also presents fifteen true dramatic stories of ordinary men and women living in Northern Afghanistan. In a quarter-century of uninterrupted war, the people of Afghanistan have endured foreign invasions, ethnic strife, a fundamentalist Islamic totalitarian regime and the unending crossfire of rival warlord factions. Young lovers who elope against the wishes of their kin; a mullah whose wit is his only defence against his armed captors; a defector from the Soviet army; a woman who is forced to stand up to gangsters in Tajikistan - their extraordinary stories emerge in their own unforgettable words. Whether in the sudden awakening of mercy in a Taliban militiaman, the lingering contempt of a woman for her husband's first wife, the pain and confusion of flight into exile or the resourcefulness of a child who must provide for an entire family, the real focus of these narratives is the strength of solitary individuals faced daily with their own vulnerability.
Alex Klaits worked in Northern Afghanistan from December 2001 to September 2003, undertaking humanitarian and reconstruction programs with Child Fund Afghanistan and the Christian Children's Fund. In addition, Alex has worked for several international aid organisations in Tajikistan, Kyrgyztstan, and Washington D.C. Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits has worked for a variety of international aid organisations in her native Tajikistan.