Behind Closed Doors

I arrived in Kabul a day earlier than expected, so, to keep me occupied, my interpreter took me to his cousin's wedding party—a women-only affair in a crumbling, Soviet-era housing estate. I was ushered through the apartment door into a heaving jewel box of glitter and gold lamé. About 40 women filled the tiny room, spilling over sofas and sitting in one another's laps. Space for a dance floor had been cleared between sprawling limbs, and a corpulent, velvet-bedecked woman gyrated to a popular Bollywood tune. When she tired, she was replaced by a girl whose undulating hips and gaudy makeup...

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