Hey, what do you think about setting up a national park is postwar Afghanistan? Sure, why not? How difficult can it be? Turns out, quite difficult, but Alex Dehgan-along with a multitude of other conservationists, security folks, drivers, chefs and other staff-attempt to do just that. “The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation,” was a good story but also a lesson on modern Afghanistan as well as a primer on aid groups. border countries, military intervention and the strange assortment of humans drawn to war and postwar areas.
Afghanistan has held my mind in a vice grip since the moment I learned of its existence. In college I read Night Letters which in turn led me to Ed Grazda who in turn led me to layer upon layer of everything Afghani. I made a long list of notes while reading this book, and some of the names briefly mentioned, like Nancy Dupree led to nice finds. (How would cultural appropriation people respond to her life and career?)
Over eighty percent of the Afghan population lives tied to the land and natural resources which means that many of the programs that Dehgan proposed were actually met with fierce support from the Afghan people. Land set aside for national parks, the preservation of endangered species, and curbing illegal wildlife trade were among the programs that found support. But Afghanistan began to unravel once again throwing much of the work into turmoil. I’m curious where it stands now. At some point in my life I will stand in Afghanistan. I’m sure of it. Get it, read it.