The Dilemmas of a “Perfect” Pashtun
The chapter revolves around Rahmat, a young man, father of two, who lives in a rural village on the border with Pakistan. His case is different from the previous ones in that he embodies apparently all the characteristics that would be expected from an appropriate Pashtun masculinity. He is in fact a well-known and respected figure in his district. Under the surface, however, lies the conflicted personal history of a man who straddled the geographical border of the two countries to engage in drug trafficking and production, and who secretly longs to escape elsewhere to regain the sense of an ideal masculinity, of which he feels he was metaphorically robbed by the distortions of a war-ravaged social context. The sense of responsibility to embody the features of the “perfect” Pashtun man clashes with the inability to do so in the “right” way, due to the perceived degeneration of modern life in Afghanistan.
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