“In 1969, the Intercontinental Hotel, Afghanistan’s first luxury hotel, opened. It was built in a time that feels much further away than the year suggests. Afghanistan was at war for more than forty years. Rulers came and went, and every one of them was here, at the Intercontinental. Its former luxury has faded, but the Intercontinental has remained a symbol: Those who rule Kabul rule Afghanistan, and those who rule Kabul rule the Intercontinental. Today, the hotel is run by the Taliban.” Andreas Babst: Inside the Taliban’s luxury hotel. “The automatic sliding doors rattle with age as they open. The Intercontinental welcomes its guests at a massive marble counter. Behind it, a wood-paneled wall with four clocks – Kabul, New York, London, Dubai. Cosmopolitanism in a closed-off country. The Intercontinental does not accept credit cards, since Afghanistan is largely cut off from international banking. A guest arrives with a plastic bag full of cash.”