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Published on May 26, 2012
In 2004, American diplomat Angela Morgan is informed by the U.S. Department of State that she must accept a one-year assignment at a remote NATO outpost in northern Afghanistan with a British Army unit or risk being forced to resign from the Foreign Service. Angela has battled untreated PTSD for more than twenty years. Her life and career have been drifting since terrorists killed her husband at the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983. When she arrives at the mud-walled military camp in Mazar-e-Sharif, the British soldiers and her young Afghan interpreter make it clear they are not pleased to have a female in their midst.
At a briefing in London on her way to Afghanistan Angela has a highly charged encounter with a British major more than a decade her junior. During the year they spend at the camp in Mazar-e-Sharif, their confrontational relationship develops into a powerful attraction that both are reluctant to express. At the same time, a Russian diplomat, whom Angela befriends while transiting Dubai, gradually wins her trust with disastrous results. Frustrated by her inability to contribute to Afghanistan's reconstruction, Angela begins sneaking out of camp hidden under a burkah to work with a group of refugee women. She develops deep friendships with some Afghans but is forced to confront others including brutal warlords and corrupt officials. When attacks are launched against the NATO troops with deadly effect, she must also deal with wrenching personal losses.
FARISHTA (the Dari word for angel') was inspired by the year I spent as diplomatic advisor to a British Army unit in northern Afghanistan. It is my hope that this story will bring to life the soldiers, civilians and Afghans who are fighting not only to rebuild Afghanistan but simply to survive in this troubled and beautiful land.