The year before Diana Janse went to Kabul, she was a desk officer at the European Security Department in Stockholm. It was an unglamorous and stressful job that entailed working long hours at her desk, writing instructions for the government’s negotiators at the European Union delegation in Brussels. For the first time since her dream of becoming a diplomat was born, in a shabby student dorm on the outskirts of Moscow in the early 1990s, she doubted her choice of career. This was not what she had had in mind. But then what did she have in mind? When a new position at the embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, with placement in Kabul, Afghanistan, was posted for the third time, it caught her eye. An escape route had opened up... She applied and left shortly thereafter.
I Leave A Piece of My Heart Behind is part personal diary, part travelogue, and part an account of working as a diplomat in a war-torn and staggeringly poor country. It is a proclamation of love and fascination, but also of frustration, from a Westerner struggling to understand the world of politics and diplomacy in a culture entirely different from her own – while at the same time defending her choices to her family and friends back home.