Kiss The Ring

My son Aryeh has a new thing, where he kisses my hand like I’m the Godfather.

It’s pretty awesome, to be honest.

If my plan of having 10 kids and marrying them off early so that they have 10–20 kids each goes off right, I might actually live out my dream of being like my late friend, Haji Badar Khan.

Haji Badar Khan was a Pashtun tribal leader from Farah, about 70 years old, tough as leather.

As I recall, he’d studied engineering at the college the Soviets had set up at Mazar-i-Sharif before the war (but I’m not certain). He’d made his bones during the war fighting the Soviets as a mujahid, and was universally respected.

He had twenty kids and a large number of grandkids. Sometimes he would see one of the younger ones and forget whether it was his son or grandson.

He would go around to our project sites, which were staffed by guys from his tribe, and these big, rough-looking Pashtuns with AKs would come and kiss his hand. He had a staff that he carried around-the local Marines had adapted an Afghan sheepdog who would try to bite every Afghan she saw in the nuts, and he got this staff to chase her off. So when he would explain something to his guys, he would occasionally tap them on the head with the staff for emphasis.

Hajji Badar Khan, in the center
the sort of guys he’d smack on the head with his cane

He was killed by the Taliban in 2012 in the desert on his way to his hometown of Farah, with his nephew. They found him with six dead Taliban around him. May he rest in peace.

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