Adnan R. Khan is a journalist I met several years ago here in Istanbul (maybe even many years ago? I hate to think it, but it's possible). He's one of those people who ends up in the mental category, "I wonder what happened to him?"
Thanks to Facebook, I now know the answer. He's written about his most recent trip from Kabul to Peshawar in in Macleans. The piece seems to me worthy of attention:
Ten years later, things have changed dramatically. It’s not a transformation many people are talking about, especially considering the recent spate of bad news flowing out of Afghanistan. But the headlines—Quran burnings and violent protests, a murderous rampage carried out by a supposedly unhinged soldier—mask something arguably more monumental: Afghanistan is making progress, while Pakistan is not.
I’ve made the road trip from Kabul to Peshawar and back again dozens of times over the past 10 years. Over that period, I’ve watched the Afghan leg of the trip evolve from a mine-riddled wasteland into a thriving agricultural oasis. Despite the war that is never too distant, the road from Kabul to Towr Kham has remained relatively safe, giving Afghans the peace they so desperately need to rebuild their lives.
The results have been nothing short of remarkable. Travelling this route, with its roadside fish restaurants and teahouses overlooking the lush Kabul River valley, one is transported back to a time when the famed hippie route to India was still alive and well. The hippies are nowhere to be seen now but it’s easy to imagine why they loved coming through here: it exudes an aura of inner peace and vitality.
He's right to say that this isn't the image that's been making the headlines. Yet it should be, shouldn't it?