The Punishment of Virtue by Sarah Chayes - review by William Reeve

William Reeve

An Unholy Alliance

The Punishment of Virtue


Portobello Books 386pp £20 order from our bookshop

American journalist Sarah Chayes’s book is primarily a tale of the raw life of Afghan power and politics in Kandahar after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. It begins and ends with the murder of a police chief, Muhammad Akrem Khakrezwal, at a mosque in Kandahar. For Chayes, Khakrezwal was the one Afghan who could sort out the country’s problems. 

Chayes was a radio journalist with the American National Public Radio (NPR). Soon after 9/11 she was posted by NPR to the Pakistani town of Quetta, as close as one could get to Kandahar, the southern Afghan city which was then still the headquarters of the Taliban. Her account of

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