This is my favorite Kabul photo series. I think perhaps because it was a day of such extremes. A fierce wind was hammering the capital. Fighting was raging blocks away from where I was. I was all alone. I missed the company of a pretty American girl I met on the flight to Kabul from Herat…
A dusty view of ‘TV tower hill’… On a nearby hill is an Olympic-size pool built by the Soviets in the 1980s. The Taliban forced criminals off the high-dive platforms to their deaths at the bottom of the pool. Now, as then, it contains no water:
The Kabul River:
Crossing a pedestrian bridge on the Kabul River… The man in the wheelchair is a land mine victim. Refugees and internally displaced civilians, left homeless by decades of war, have created a beggar society, with the sick and disabled desperate for food and work:
Food for sale along the river:
A look downstream:
Some people actually live in the river area. The cost of housing in urban Kabul is very high compared to the countryside, and many people live in crumbling buildings and makeshift tents:
Another view of the Kabul River. The man walking across the river just purchased some heroin and is going to a less public place to shoot it up. Drug addiction is on the rise in Afghanistan, fed in part by a flow of refugees from Pakistan, who find no work but can buy the drugs cheaply. War or no war, West or no West, Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, an industry that the Taliban continue to profit from:
The man in the cart is not sleeping. He is dead. He died about half an hour before this picture was taken from a bullet to the chest. The man standing over him was his best friend and he is taking him to a graveyard to bury him.
The assassination attempt on President Karzai was not limited to three people as was widely reported in the media. There were three more individuals involved in the direct attempt and many other supporting members in the conspiracy. For a week after the assassination attempt, there was heavy fighting in parts of the capital as these elements were captured or killed. The man below was an innocent bystander that caught a stray bullet from this fighting.
War, as it has been for generations in Afghanistan, is never far away:
A boy in the marketplace. Like all of the other Afghans in the area, completely indifferent to the fighting:
You can find anything in the marketplace. This guy is selling hooves. He and his friends absolutely loved that I was there and wanted to take their picture:
This man is selling plants:
I found this to be an inspirational sign:
Can you figure out what this guy is selling?
Afghan pigeons. They like to hang out near the cacophonous bird market, where bright-green parakeets and budgies flit by the hundreds inside bamboo cages:
The pigeons loved this building. I thought they had good taste:
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