A girl warmed herself near a traditional stove at her family’s home in Herat, Afghanistan, Friday. Aref Karimi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
New figures show an increasing number of civilians are dying in Afghanistan. The United Nations says civilian casualties rose 14 percent in 2013. Last year was the worst for Afghan women and children since 2009, with casualties rising a combined 35 percent.
Kabul, Afghanistan. November 2002. Seamus Murphy/VII.
I took this picture in 2002, but I found it this year by chance, researching images for a magazine story and a book on Afghan women’s poetry. I was looking for something else and scanned it for the first time this year. I might never have seen it again, which makes it fresh for me.
It was taken in the National Gallery in West Kabul in November, 2002, one year after the Taliban had fled the city in the wake of renewed foreign interest in Afghanistan after 9/11. It was part of an assortment of so-called ‘idolatrous’ art works in the gallery showing the human face that had been damaged by the Taliban. Feeling happy to have found examples of Taliban intolerance, I was anxious, as I posed the gallery-attendant, that the picture would be too contrived. Perhaps that’s one reason the image existed unscanned for years. Interesting how I see the picture differently now.
Like many photographers, I remember clearly the day I took it; what was going on in my life, how I was feeling, what I was looking for, what seemed important to me to photograph at that time. It was late morning and I remember feeling hungry. All of this came tumbling back when I discovered the black-and-white negative and looked at it on a lightbox. Negative. Lightbox. To some, this might sound like another era. But, in addition to everything else it does, any photograph—taken in 2013, yesterday, a minute ago, or a hundred years ago—on the oldest or the latest technology, is inevitably a record of the past.—Seamus Murphy.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after an American drone strike in southern Helmand Province, which the military conceded had killed and wounded civilians.
Mr. Karzai had lashed out at his American allies after the Thursday attack, which came at a delicate moment when talks between Mr. Karzai and the United States over a long-term security agreement have reached an impasse. The Americans have told Mr. Karzai that unless he signs the agreement promptly, they will begin planning for a total withdrawal of American and NATO forces after the end of next year.
Mr. Karzai vowed this week, at the conclusion of a loya jirga, or grand council, that he would cancel the security agreement completely if there was even one more raid that killed civilians.
An Afghan refugee girl attended a daily class for illiterate refugees set at mosque on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday. Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press
Men rode in the back of a vehicle on the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday. Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press
A man worked at a candy factory in Herat province, Afghanistan, Saturday. Ahmad Massoud/Xinhua/Zuma Press
James Dobbins, the leading U.S. diplomat on Afghanistan, has dismissed the possibility the United States might withdraw all troops from Afghanistan at the end of the combat mission next year.
The remarks by James Dobbins came after reports President Obama is seriously considering a total withdrawal following tensions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over peace talks with the Taliban.
A man carried wheat to his home on the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, Sunday. Sayed Mustafa/European Pressphoto Agency
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