71-hour Ahmed

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71-hour Ahmed
by Paul Kidby
Name Ahmed
Race Human
Occupation Policeman
Physical appearance Foreign, scarred, a grin of golden teeth, hook-nose
Residence Desert, Klatch
Marital Status
Books Jingo

71-hour Ahmed (called "72-hour Achmed" in The Art of Discworld and sometimes misspelled 71-hour Achmed) is the wali (closest analogy is head policeman) in Klatch, of D'reg origin. He was trained as an assassin in Ankh-Morpork where he was a member of Viper House and endeavors to be a little bit foreign wherever he goes, thus allowing him to perform his duties with less complication.

Custom and tradition play a vital role in Klatchian culture and it is said that even your worst enemy must be given hospitality for no less than three days in your home. When Ahmed was visited by a man who had murdered an entire town, he could not wait the full three days (which is seventy-two hours in total) to cut off his head, albeit for the justifiable reason that the other man would have certainly seized the opportunity to kill Ahmed once the time for hospitality to be shown had elapsed. This gross breach of etiquette has earned him his feared nickname.

His only appearance to date has been in Jingo, where he accompanied Prince Khufurah. He and commander Vimes get entangled in the political problems that follow the surfacing of the island Leshp. Both are trying to find the person who tried to kill the prince, and both suspect their own people. Ahmed, at first sight a typical stupid foreigner, turns out to be a natural copper who is very intelligent. He disappears in the desert to do his job by the end of the book.

It is interesting that following the example of the Klatchian equivalent of Vimes being sent to a foreign city on an ostensibly diplomatic mission (but deliberately stirring the muddied waters of the Ankh to see what emerges), Samuel Vimes himself is then sent outside Ankh on not one but two ostensibly diplomatic missions... with the full expectation that he will purposefully blunder about, giving the impression of being a typically stupid foreigner unaware of local customs and practices. Perhaps Vetinari decided to try the same trick, in circumstances advantageous to him, and see what happened?