Afghanistan’s ‘narcotecture’

US State Department public affairs officials may try to put as positive a gloss as possible on the “progress” being made in Afghanistan despite obstacles...

US State Department public affairs officials may try to put as positive a gloss as possible on the “progress” being made in Afghanistan despite obstacles (thriving drug trade, resurgence of the Taliban, etc.), but a slideshow and audio report from Monocle, the stylish new print publication and Web site led by Wallpaper founder Tyler Brule, shows how drug money is corrupting the city of Herat physically, if not morally.

The traditional architecture and commerce of Herat makes it special, but many who live in this city apparently look with longing upon the rapidly rising, hideously ugly houses of drug barons – one of the few classes of people in the country whose standard of living has increased in recent years. Of course, State doesn’t pretend Afghanistan is a paradise, judging from this recent travel warning. But for the sake of US support for ongoing public diplomacy efforts, which are expensive and sometimes of dubious merit, State would do well to better emulate Web sites like Monocle's in the way they convey information.

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