The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes

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9780060097325: The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes

A personal odyssey through war, friendship and craftsmanship along the old Silk Route. A fascinating travel book that illuminates the contemporary story of south west Asia.

In 1990, Christopher Kremmer arrived in Afghanistan to interview the doomed communist president, Dr Najibullah as rampaging factions of mujahideen massed on the outskirts of Kabul. He found himself intrigued by the politics and culture of the land, and his book provides revealing, often first-hand portraits of warlords such as Ahmad Shah Masood, 'the Lion of Panjsher', of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and of Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf.

The real stories of the lands of the ancient silk route, however, are accessed through Kremmer's obsession with the carpets of the region. Initiated into the wonders of the craft through the stunning classic design and pomegranate dyes of the filpai or Elephant's Foot in Dr Najibullah's office, Kremmer is hooked, and thus tells the tales of his lasting friendships with nomads on portable handlooms to managers of mechanised production units to the merchants in the souks and bazaars.

This amazing journey into an ancient, violent, often tragic, but little understood region is also an impassioned plea for the breaking down of the barriers of paranoia, ignorance and hate that continue to divide the world of the twenty-first century.

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From the Back Cover:

A fascination with carpets leads Christopher Kremmer to roam the troubled lands where they originate. He encounters a marvellous cast of people, from Iranian carpet salesmen to houseboat owners in Kashmir, displaced Afghan nomads to sometimes shady merchants of the bazaar, as well as political and religious leaders who have become household names.

In the remote Hindu Kush, Kremmer celebrates 'Eid' with the late Afghan guerrilla legend, Ahmad Shah Massoud; he meets the fearsome Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostrum in his fortress headquarters outside Mazar-e-Sharif, and in Kandahar, takes tea with Taliban leaders, and goes hunting for Osama bin Laden. What he finds are Muslim nations hanging by a thread, their people betrayed by despotic leaders, and economies kept afloat by little more than rugs, drugs and oil.

'The Carpet Wars' is an intimate and compelling portrait of one of the most ancient and misunderstood parts of the world, and an impassioned plea for breaking down the barriers of ignorance that separate it from the West.

About the Author:

Born in Sydney in 1958, Christopher Kremmer has spent the past decade exploring Asia nad writing about it for print and broadcast media. His award-winning first book, Stalking the Elephant Kings, unearthed the skeletons of communist rule in Indochina. He lives in Sydney.

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