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If ABC decides to start filming The Bachelor: Kabul, then we'd like to formally nominate Tariq for the role. Tariq is the one-legged Romeo, the Ryan Gosling of Afghanistan, the hunk to end all hunks. Rasheed even refers to him as "Manjoon," which is a reference to the Arabic equivalent to Romeo and Juliet (2.23.48).
Okay, so we might be going a little overboard. But you can't blame us, because that's certainly how Laila thinks of him. Don't get it confused: Laila is no damsel-in-distress waiting for her Prince Charming. Still, she loves herself a steaming cup of Tariq.
And why not? Tariq is unlike any of the other male characters in the novel. Sure, he doesn't have the education to be Babi, but he's certainly no Rasheed, either. The truth is much simpler: Tariq is just a good dude. They're few and far between in this novel, folks.
That doesn't mean he's perfect. The truth is that he got roped into a Hashish smuggling operation, was sent to prison, and even ended up mugging someone for food. The important thing, however, is that he doesn't let these experiences define him. He gets a real job and works hard. He never takes someone else's property again. And then he returns to Laila. It takes a strong person to go through those hardships and emerge on the other side unscathed.