O. Kristen L. Rouse, “Pawns”

Kristen Rouse

Kristin Rouse is a several time US Army veteran of Afghanistan, where she served as an officer.

The story: Afghan truckers who resupply US Army forces try to evade the impact of a war they are in fact deeply engaged in supporting and continuing.

Characters: Nasir, an Afghan truck-driver. Two other Afghan truck drivers, one an old Afghan man and a young Afghan man called “the boy.”

Themes: War’s long reach, attitudes toward enemy and foreign noncombatants

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the personal histories of the two older Afghan truck-drivers? How do they understand their relationship to “the boy”?
  2. How do the chess game the men play and the watch one of them owns  point to the story’s larger meaning?
  3. What might US soldiers in Afghanistan who read the story come away with in terms of understanding Afghans?

For further exploration, watch this interview with Kristen Rouse about her first deployment to Afghanistan:

Find “Pawns” here:

The Road Ahead


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