Karzai’s cozy cabal

Afghan leader played it straight while brothers cashed in, says Christina Lamb

The World Today
Published 9 December 2016 Updated 26 November 2020 3 minute READ

Christina Lamb

Chief Foreign Correspondent, Sunday Times and author of several bestsellers including ‘Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World’

A Kingdom of their Own; The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster
Joshua Partlow, Simon & Schuster, £20

In March 2011, I was in Dubai with my family for its literary festival and we were invited over for supper to the house of Mahmood Karzai, garrulous brother of then Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The villa was on the waterfront of the new Palm Jumeirah development, there was a blue Rolls outside, and we sat on the terrace admiring the fine view.

My son, who was then 11, was entranced. ‘This house must have been very expensive,’ he said. ‘How much did it cost?’ Mahmood gave a figure in millions of dollars. ‘What do you do to make so much money?’ continued my cheeky offspring. ‘I have an Afghan restaurant in America,’ replied Mahmood. My son looked astonished. ‘Does an Afghan restaurant make that much money?’ he asked. At that point Mahmood bundled him into the living room to watch TV.

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