Justin Marozzi

Land of Unreason

WAS THIS THE bed, I wondered, on which Osama bin Laden pleasured his fourth wife? Was it here, on this very mattress, that the master of jihad spread his seed? Quite possibly, although it was difficult to picture the Abstemious One engaged in freestyle frolicking on the four-poster in this room. The solitarv picture on the wall, a scene of Eastern lasciviousness showing three couples locked in deep embraces surrounded by flagons of wine, was a later addition. Peter Jouvenal, John Simpson’s frontline cameraman and an enterprising hotelier, would know, since he was making a small fortune leasing Gandamack Lodge as an English country-house hotel in Kabul.

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