Category Archives: Central Asia

William Dalrymple book launch: Return of a King

When NATO forces leave Afghanistan next year, India, Pakistan and even China could make it a theatre for their own proxy wars and interests, bestselling historian William Dalrymple told a London audience, based on researches for his most recent book. … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Central Asia, London | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Russophobia Today, recolonisation, and David Lynch’s Dune: history repeats itself (again) in new Afghanistan spymaster biography

The controversial former British ambassador to Uzbekistan has warned that Russia and the West keep rehearsing the same parts they’ve played for the past 200 years; and that a famous portrait of a legendary British secret agent in Afghanistan isn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Central Asia, London, Russia, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Essential writing from Central Asia: part two

Claridge’s, a winter evening. Within, I am directed down a bright, pristine corridor. There are liveried staff everywhere: smiling helpfully, welcoming reverently, enquiring politely what my business is in this establishment. I tell them, and receive a court bow, indicating … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #6: wanted for questioning

Night. A knock at the door. Two Kyrgyz men in black uniforms and black jackets. The shorter one introduces them both as being police officers, in moderate English. I ask to see some identification. The guy doing the talking takes … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The great Central Asian fiction you’ve never heard of: part one

A sunny afternoon, and a surprise in Waterstone’s: the August book of the month is by a Central Asian writer, and from 1957. The crystalline beauty of Chingiz Aitmatov’s¬†Jamilia was the first Central Asian fiction I’d read, back in August, … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #5: what the Georgian Prime Minister did next

What does a Prime Minister do on leaving office? Go to the Oval for lunch and watch some cricket, in John Major’s case. Georgia’s Nika Gilauri sets up a company to help governments reform, and comes to the World Bank … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #4: urgent request from a UN ‘spymaster’

A gloriously greasy¬†gamburger for lunch, and on returning to the office an email from a senior United Nations staffer in Bishkek. Could I meet them for lunch tomorrow at Bella Italia? An urgent matter to discuss. Certainly, see you there. … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, United Nations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment