The Afghanistan Drinking Game

I was on the verge of writing some sorry excuse about how I’m far too busy doing very very important work to have time to write anything of interest when I was saved by the brilliant idea of Transitionland, riffing off a post from MBK, for a drinking game.

Every time someone says ‘well you know, for Afghan standards it’s not so bad’ have a cup of tea.

For every time anybody uses buzkashi as a metaphor for something, order yourself a beer (I’m pissed already, this is a running joke with one of my drivers every time we get in an intractable traffic jam).

Should you per chance come across an example of six different outfits doing pretty much the same thing without any coordination between them, knock back a shot of Iranian ‘vodka’.

Just read an article by some hack who’s spent a week embedded with the military and has found all the answers? Have a glass of wine with that. There isn’t enough alcohol in Kabul to cover all the possible variations of this one. So, for every report you can find that says the same meaningless tripe as the last, put it in your pipe and smoke it. Better yet, smoke the reports’ weight in opium.

I’m going to suggest this one in the meeting I’ve got to go to tomorrow: every time someone mentions capacity building, Afghanisation, participation, good governance or any other meaningless catchphrase you care to include, surreptitiously knock back a shot. 10 points deducted if your donor notices.

Banged up another journalist with neither judge nor jury? Write a press release saying how their work went against the constitution while knocking back a bottle of whisky. Free a warlord for every spelling mistake.

Tried to kill a couple of foreign heathen bastards hidden inside a tank and knocked off the bloke on the donkey and the kids playing by the roadside instead? Have a chilled alcohol-free beverage of your choice. Through a straw, in one.

Every time you mistake a wedding party for an Al-Qaida training camp and drop a 10,000lb bomb on the evil confetti throwing happily married terrorists, down a gallon of beer in one shout hoorah and deny you ever did it.

I’m going to spend the next week trying to develop the rules for Press Release Scrabble, Spot the Mercenary and Burnt-out-aidworker Snakes and Ladders.


7 Responses to “The Afghanistan Drinking Game”

  1. chris Jaussi Says:

    I am looking into doing business in Kabul. I am planning a trip over there and read up on the security issues. Is it as bad as it sounds? Are kidnappings a strong threat? Any suggestions to stay safe while visiting?

    Chris Jaussi

  2. Marianne Says:

    And – to riff off an earlier post of yours – whenever you get caught starting a sentence with “When I was in… ” drink your weight in ginger beer – it should help release some of that hot air.

  3. Roberta Says:

    Bitter, bitter. What’s the bitterest drink? Sounds like you need some mellowing. Lassi, that soaks up the heat. (I am reading A Case of Exploding Mangoes, a recent novel about the death of General Zia in the late 1980s.) And a great line from Wendy Cope: “Wicked as a ginless tonic”. Find someone to apply that to.

  4. harryrud Says:

    That’s a great line from Wendy Cope, must find an opportunity to use it. Not so bitter, I hope, just slightly tired.

    Hi Chris, security in Kabul probably not as bad as it sounds (the explosions today were just the national army practicising, apparently) but then the issue is slightly subjective. There is a real threat of kidnapping, and there are things you can do to avoid it, but I’ll send you an email if that’s alright.

  5. Michael Kleinman Says:

    Absolutely brilliant — linked back to it at:

    At the least, Harry Flashman would be proud,


  6. Best Aid Blog Posts of 2009 « Tales From the Hood Says:

    […] And speaking of drinking games… Another crack-up. Keen know, Harry, if you’ll be able to keep yourself from saying, “When I was in Afghanistan…” in the next country you move to. […]

  7. Says:

    A decent article, i’ve bookmarked it so keep it for reference.Thanks for writing it! 🙂

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