The three short stories of this thesis project present a reverse chronology of Afghanistan’s recent past: the decade of democracy, the Taliban era, and the civil war period. On the surface each piece portrays the experiences of everyday Afghan men and women and their hopes and dreams at times of war and relative peace. At a deeper level, the stories attempt to unpack Afghan politics, traditions, ethnic tensions, and the diverse bonds that unite and allow Afghans to live together harmoniously. In my first story, “Namak Haram,” Mohsen, an ethnic Hazara, and his assistant Jabbar, a Pashtun, travel to a remote village in central Afghanistan on an assignment to make a documentary film. The presence of Jabbar in the Hazara mainland causes ethnic tensions, which lead to the tale's climax. Using third-person-omniscient narration, distinct setting, and round characters, this story analyzes social issues such as forced marriage, patriarchy, honor, betrayal, and moral dilemmas that—alongside the historical animosity between the Hazaras and the Pashtuns—form the main themes of the tale. The second story, “The Boy and The Dog,” depicts an ordinary afternoon during the Afghan civil war. A small boy, out on a quotidian errand, finds himself in the middle of a full-fledged war between the Hazara militias and the Panjshiris who fight over a guard dog. As he waits for the gun fight to end, the boy witnesses the vicissitudes of life in a war zone. The story focuses on poverty, disrupted childhoods, and war, but it is also about something even more terrifying: the individual’s capacity to adapt to the realities of war and the ability to become indifferent to menacing terror. The third story, “The Children Who Became Men Overnight,” is an unconventional love story unfolding during the months leading up to the civil war. It is a tale of unimaginable beauty and incredible violence in which an upper-class family moves into an impoverished Kabul neighborhood that operates on relentless gossiping and intense anarchy. The three teenage protagonists fall in love with the family’s daughter, Fatima Amin, who is unearthly beautiful. To win her affection, the boys make a decision that pushes them to the precipice of manhood overnight. This story, like the others in this collection, tells a tale of beauty and terror in a country on the brink of a political turmoil.