When Indian journalist Taran Khan arrived in Kabul in 2006, she imagined it as a homecoming—a return to the land from where her Pashtun forebears hailed. Falling in with poets, doctors and other journalists, she began exploring the city on foot and discovered a Kabul quite different from the one she had encountered in the world’s media. Her wanderings revealed a fragile city in a state of flux: shaped by near-constant war, but showing the flickering promise of peace. In this talk, Khan reflects on the ghostly iterations of Kabul past and its layers of forgotten memories—unearthing a city that has been brutally erased and redrawn as each new war sweeps through.
Taran N. Khan is a journalist and writer based in Mumbai and London. She has published widely in India and internationally, including in Guernica, Al Jazeera, The Caravan and Himal Southasian and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Jan Michalski Foundation and Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. From 2006 to 2013, Khan spent long periods living and working in Kabul. Her book, Shadow City, won the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award and the Tata Literature Live First Book Award for Non-Fiction.
Part of our fall 2023 lecture series, "Preserving and Transforming Culture."