RadioBDC Logo
Young Heart | Blondfire Listen Live
 
ARCHIVES
CATEGORIES
the Big Picture

Category: afghanistan

March 31, 2014 Permalink

The upcoming 2014 Afghan election

Afghans will head to the polls on Saturday April 5 to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai and to decide the make-up of 34 provincial councils in elections seen as a benchmark of progress since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001. --Thea Breite (14 photos total)

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah arrives for an election campaign in Panjshir Province March 31, 2014. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
more photos
May 20, 2013 Permalink

Afghanistan civilians: April 2013

One of the most desperately poor, war-torn nations on earth, Afghanistan attracts our attention mostly for the wrong reasons. Well over 30 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty, with as many clinging to their places just barely above the poverty line. While Afghanistan is the world's leader in opium exports, domestic consumption afflicts almost a quarter of a million, with an additional 150,000 addicted to heroin, triple the number from 2005. Violence against women and girls continues. But rich cultural traditions abound, and Afghan society is making progress. Gathered here are images of the colorful yet troubled lives of Afghan civilians. -- Lane Turner (29 photos total)

A boy tries to catch a falling kite on a hilltop in Kabul on April 28, 2013. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)
more photos
May 3, 2013 Permalink

Daily Life: April 2013

I look forward each month to browsing the compilation of "slice of life" images from around the world. They offer us a visual break, if you will, from the tragedies, disasters, wars and violence seemingly so pervasive in our world. Through these images, we can immerse ourselves in the simplicity of everyday life. Daily Life: April 2013 takes us to North and South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Indonesia, China, Russia; and around the United States to California, Texas, Maine, Florida, Kansas, Washington state, and more. Enjoy.--- Paula Nelson ( 49 photos total)

A village boy holds a traditional handmade umbrella as he keeps watch over cattle grazing in the field on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, April 20, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)
more photos
February 22, 2013 Permalink

Afghanistan: February 2013

US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan began in earnest in 2011 with President Obama's announcement in June. 10,000 troops were removed by the end of summer 2011, 23,000 additional troops by the end of summer 2012, and troops continue to come home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move to protect their own country. The mission changes from "combat" to "support." By 2014, that transition will be complete with the Afghans responsible for their own security, but US troops will remain in country. How many is unclear. In this post, we share images from February in country (and a few from January 31st.) -- Paula Nelson ( 36 photos total)

Afghan ethnic Hazara people hold a hunger strike, in protest against a bombing in Quetta, Pakistan, which killed scores of Shiites, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2013. (Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press)
more photos
February 15, 2013 Permalink

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners

For over 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession and the composition of the jury is changed from year to year. The prize-winning images are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year and over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The winners themselves uphold the foundation's simple mission statement: We exist to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. A sampling of the winning images follows. You can browse more amazing content on World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: There will be no post on Monday in observance of the holiday.) ( 18 photos total)

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter - Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
more photos
January 23, 2013 Permalink

Afghanistan: January 2013

Our nation's presence in Afghanistan made its way back to the collective conscience last week when Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared in a joint press conference with President Barack Obama. This post features a few images of daily life from late December and the first few weeks of January. Simple things - shelter, food - remain challenges for many of the Afghan people - displaced by years and years of conflict and war. -- Paula Nelson ( 30 photos total)

An Afghan woman stands to receive winter supplies at a UNHCR distribution center for needy refugees at the Women's Garden in Kabul, Jan. 2, 2013. Hundreds of families living in makeshift shelters around the Afghan capital collected blankets, charcoal and other supplies as authorities struggle to avoid last year's deadly winter toll. With temperatures dropping to -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) at night in the city, the 35,000 refugees who live in the snow-covered camps face a battle to survive dire conditions protected only by plastic sheeting. Despite Afghanistan receiving billions of dollars of aid since 2001, more than 100 children died last year during the harshest winter in two decades. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
more photos
November 9, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: October 2012

Collecting and editing images that document simple elements of daily life around the world is actually one of my favorite things in preparing a Big Picture post. The images have an element of universality, yet are often very unique. It's one of the many wonderful things about strong photography. We become armchair travelers, experiencing simple things in far flung locations through the imagery that is sent out from agencies around the world. In this post we visit places like China, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Nepal, India, Lisbon, Scotland, Indonesia and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. -- Paula Nelson ( 56 photos total)

A full moon rises behind a statue of a bull overlooking the former stockyard district, Oct. 29, 2012, Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie RiedelAssociated Press)
more photos
October 26, 2012 Permalink

In preparation for Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha also called Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important 3-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) a as an act of submission to God and his son's acceptance of the sacrifice, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead. The 3 days and 2 nights of Eid al-Adha are celebrated annually on the 10th, 11th and 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Eid begins today. -- Paula Nelson ( 32 photos total)

A livestock market ahead of the sacrificial Eid al-Adha festival in Karachi, Oct. 24, 2012. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, honors Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God, who according to tradition then provided a lamb in the boy's place. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
October 5, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan, September 2012

We tend to look at Afghanistan through the lens of conflict, with good reason. Deaths of American forces recently reached 2000 in the 11 years since US involvement in the country began. Afghan forces have suffered perhaps 10,000 losses, and even conservative estimates suggest as many as 20,000 Afghan civilians have perished. It's a heavy toll for one of the most impoverished populations on Earth. While acknowledging those human losses, it's important also to celebrate the lives of those carrying on in the face of bitter warfare and economic hardship. Although no facet of Afghan life remains untouched by conflict, gathered here are images made in September of ordinary Afghans getting on with the business of life. -- Lane Turner (27 photos total)

Afghan youths pose as they ride a donkey on the outskirts of Herat on September 7, 2012. Despite billions of dollars in Western development aid, the United Nations says half of Afghanistan's estimated population of 30 million live below the poverty line in what remains one of the world's poorest countries. (Aref Karimi/AFP/GettyImages)
more photos
August 10, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: July 2012

Each month we feature a post on the Big Picture that gives us a glimpse of daily life in the United States and in many, many countries across the world. For July, we represent a little bit of living from Malaysia, Haiti, Guatemala, UAE, Nepal, Sudan, Serbia, Cuba, China, Japan, Pakistan and India (and a few more I've probably missed.) Enjoy our look at the world. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

Chinese girls take pictures with their mobile phones outside a cinema near a bird cage decoration at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, July 29, 2012. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
more photos
June 8, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: May 2012

US and NATO forces continue to train the Afghan troops in advance of the handover of the country's security in 2014. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 US and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. We check in on our soldiers for May (and a little bit of June 2012.) -- Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

A female US marine and members of USN Hospital Corpsman from the 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment walk at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Jackson also known as Sabit Khadam in Sangin, Helmand Province, June 7, 2012. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 U.S. and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. (Adek Berryakek Berry/AFP/GettyImages)
more photos
May 18, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: May 2012

Thousands of images are supplied by multiple wire services to newspapers across the country each day. Many of those images depict ordinary scenes of life in different countries around the world. There are three picture editors that contribute to the Big Picture blog, each of them seeing the world in a little bit of a different way. Their backgrounds, their experiences, their interests - all very disparate. Each of them given the same resources (the visual wire) to edit from, each choosing very different ways to tell a story. The following photographs are my choices of those images for the month of May (and a few from late April) illustrating daily life around the world. -- Paula Nelson (53 photos total)

Adam Ortiz, a fourth-grader at Fairview Elementary, stops traffic while classmates and parents cross Washington at North 11th Street in Klamath Falls, Ore. as part of Walk to School Days, something the school has participated in every Friday in May for three years, May 11. 2012. (Andrew Mariman/The Herald and News)
more photos
May 4, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan, May 2012

With well over a year before American forces pull out of Afghanistan, the conflict there drags on. Every month in The Big Picture, we feature a selection of recent images of events there, from the soldiers and insurgents at war, the people longing for peace, and daily life and culture in the country of 29 million. Afghanistan remains among the world's poorest nations, and struggles with issues not found in other places, like an ongoing fight against polio. Afghanistan still supplies about 90% of the world's opium, a major cash crop in a country with few viable exports. Gathered here are images from April, 2012. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)

Afghan policemen are mirrored in glass from a broken window as they stand guard outside the building where Taliban fighters launched an attack in Kabul on April 16, 2012. A total of 36 Taliban militants were killed as they mounted a wave of attacks across Afghanistan. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
April 13, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: March 2012

In early April, in an attempt to accelerate the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the US agreed to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role. This deal cleared the way for the two countries to move ahead with an agreement that would establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. Domestic support for the war (in the US) has dropped sharply. We look back at March in the troubled country. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)

Young Afghan women use an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun in Kabul, April 5, 2012. The position of women in Afghanistan has improved dramatically since the fall of the Taliban, with the number of girls in education soaring. But as the Americans and the Afghan government have pursued peace efforts with the Taliban, women are increasingly concerned that gains in their rights may be compromised in a bid to end the costly and deadly war. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
March 14, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: February 2012

Angry protests broke out and shock rippled through Afghanistan on February 21 when accounts surfaced that NATO personnel at Bagram Air Base had burned a number of Korans and were preparing to burn more. A NATO spokesman said the books were inadvertently sent for incineration after being gathered at a detention facility for suspected insurgents. The incident brought nearly a week of strong anti-American demonstrations in which 30 people, including American troops were killed and many others wounded. Despite President Obama's letter of apology to President Hamid Karzai, the violence escalated. Two American soldiers were shot dead inside the Interior Ministry building in Kabul on Feb. 25. On Feb. 27, two suicide attackers detonated a car bomb at the entrance to a NATO air base in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing as revenge for the burning of the Korans. While the violence raged, Afghan civilians faced harsher than usual winter weather and cold temperatures in which more than 40 people, mostly children, have frozen to death. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Afghan demonstrators show copies of the Koran allegedly set alight by US soldiers, during a protest against Koran desecration at the gate of Bagram airbase, Feb. 21, 2012 at Bagram, north of Kabul. The copies of the burned Korans and Islamic religious texts were obtained by Afghan workers contracted to work inside Bagram air base, and presented to demonstrators gathered outside the military installation.(Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
February 10, 2012 Permalink

2012 World Press Photo Contest Winners

By the numbers: 5, 247 Photographers, 124 Nationalities, 101, 254 pictures. Three hundred and fifty images by 57 photographers of 24 nationalities were awarded prizes in nine categories. To view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest: 2012 World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (16 photos total)

2012 World Press Photo of the Year: A woman holds a wounded relative during protests against President Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
more photos
February 1, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan, January 2012

The New Year began violently in Afghanistan, with three bombings killing 13 people in one day in Kandahar. In addition, the French Defense minister told soldiers he backed US efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban, and President Obama was in talks about defense priorites as the US military readied for challenges from China and Iran while downplaying any future counterinsurgency efforts like the ones in Afghanistan or Iraq. Meanwhile, the foreign troop withdrawal process continued, as more responsibility was transferred to Afghan security forces. The goal is a complete withdrawal by the end of 2014. -- Lloyd Young (41 photos total)

Afghan policemen march during the transfer of authority from NATO troops to Afghan security forces in Chaghcharan, Ghor province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Jan. 4. The security responsibilities of Chaghcharan, the provincial capital of Ghor province is handed over from the NATO forces to Afghan security forces. The process of taking over security from over 130,000-strong NATO-led ISAF forces by Afghan troops would be completed by the end of 2014 when Afghanistan will take over the full leadership of its own security duties from US and NATO forces. (Hoshang Hashimi/Associated Press)
more photos
January 9, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan, December 2011

The United States and allied forces have been in Afghanistan for over ten years, an occupation that approaches the 2014 deadline for a full withdrawal of those forces. As the transition draws closer, problems with security, the economy, and cultural mores are growing even more apparent. Included in this monthly look at Afghanistan are images that highlight these issues, as well as images that point to a more hopeful future. The activist group YoungWomen4Change prepares posters demanding women's rights even as the horrific torture of 15-year-old Sahar Gul, who refused her husband's family's demands that she become a prostitute, came to light. Also included here are images of another Afghan girl, 12-year-old Tarana Akbari, who witnessed the terrible suicide bombing in Kabul that killed at least 80 Shiites during observances of the Ashura holiday. The bombing has raised fears of renewed sectarian violence. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

A man feeds pigeons in front of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, or Blue Mosque, in Mazar-e-Sharif on December 22, 2011. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
more photos
December 23, 2011 Permalink

The Year in Pictures: Part III

In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)

A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
December 21, 2011 Permalink

The year in Pictures: Part II

The second collection of images from 2011 once again brought us nature at its full force with floods, drought, wild fires, tornadoes and spectacular images of volcanic eruptions. The death of Osama bin Laden, the attack on an island in Norway by a lone gunman, continued fighting in Libya, and protests around the globe were a few of the news events dominating the headlines. -- Lloyd Young Please see part 1 from Monday and watch for part 3 Friday. (45 photos total)

A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area. (Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images) )
more photos
December 9, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, November 2011

As the War in Afghanistan passes the 10-year mark, the effect of the American withdrawal is already being felt among civilian aid workers, raising anxieties that Afghanistan will be abandoned and that gains will be quickly reversed. Even President Hamid Karzai asked nations at a conference in Germany recently to continue aid to his country for another decade. The United States, which provides two-thirds of all development assistance in Afghanistan, slashed its $4 billion aid budget to $2 billion in the 2011 fiscal year. The budget for 2012 may be cut further. In this post we continue our monthly visit to the country of Afghanistan, its residents and our troops. -- Paula Nelson (47 photos total)

An Afghan woman, holding her baby, walks through a busy street in Kabul, Dec. 5, 2011. A major international conference on December 5 sought ways forward for Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO combat troops in 2014. The boycott of two crucial players,Pakistan and the Taliban, dampened hopes of success. The one-day gathering brought around 100 national delegations and aid organizations to the former German capital Bonn. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
November 9, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, October 2011

With a per capita GDP of $900, Afghanistan ranks as one of the world's ten poorest countries. By any measure, challenges are numerous. Aid agencies observe an erosion of women's rights as foreign troops prepare to leave, the infant mortality rate is among the world's highest, and despite eradication efforts, 90 percent of the world's opium is still produced by Afghan farmers. Meanwhile, military fatalities approach 2800 since the war began in 2001. Civilians are afforded no such precision for their casualties, with varying estimates in the tens of thousands being the only accounting. Gathered here are images from the country made in October of the lives of women and children, daily life, and consequences of the conflict in Afghanistan and in the United States. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

Meena Rahmani, 26, owner of The Strikers, the country's first bowling center, holds a bowling ball in Kabul. In an Afghan capital scarred by years of war, a young Afghan woman has bet $1 million that the country could use a chance to have a bit of fun. Located just down the street from Kabul's glitziest mall, it offers a place where Afghan men, women and families can gather, relax, bowl a few games and not be burdened by the social, religious and cultural restrictions that govern daily life in the impoverished country. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)
more photos
October 14, 2011 Permalink

A simple day in the life...

Often in the Big Picture we feature "slice of life" photography originating from around the world, brought to us by photographers based in those countries who work for the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images. The photographs are often simple and show daily life in many places that we might not be able to experience in any other way except through those photographers' documentation. The images themselves are somewhat universal - they show us where people live and how people live, sometimes not so differently than we do ourselves. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Three-year-old Nadia Nassrallah eats her breakfast in from of her home in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 4, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)
more photos
September 30, 2011 Permalink

Global protests

There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
more photos
September 23, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, September 2011

Tribal elders say the Taliban are far from defeated.  The Taliban continue to wage a brutal war, taking a toll on Afghan citizens and American forces.  The Department of Defense has identified 1,761 American service members who have died in the Afghan war and related operations as of Sept. 21, about 10 years since the start of the war. In visiting Afghanistan monthly in The Big Picture, we try to reflect our troops presence in the country as well as their interaction with the Afghan people.  -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

US soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment fire 120-mm mortar rounds toward insurgent positions at Outpost Monti in Kunar province on Sept. 17. After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, 130,000 troops from dozens of countries continue to battle resilient Taliban, who use homemade bombs and guerrilla tactics in a bid to undermine the Afghan government and the NATO mission. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
September 12, 2011 Permalink

Ground Zero: September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011

One of the most indelible memories in the collective psyche of Americans - and the world - comes from the images of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on the United States, September 11, 2001. Yesterday, Americans and the world collectively remembered those who lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania ten years after that unforgettable day. This post (edited by Leanne Burden) shows the transformation, of what became known as Ground Zero, over the last ten years. A memorial rises from the ashes of that day on September 11, 2011. -- Paula Nelson (41 photos total)

Photos by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite showing the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan, New York, collected on June 30, 2001 showing the 110-stories twin towers; on September 15, 2001 showing the remains of the 1,350-foot (411.48-meter) twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the debris and dust that have settled in Ground Zero, four days after the terrorist attacks; and June 8, 2002, showing the progress in the reclamation of Ground Zero where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. AFP/Space Imaging
more photos
August 19, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, August 2011

Each month in the Big Picture, we post a collection of photographs from Afghanistan.  They feature American forces and those of other countries, and they show us daily life among the Afghan people.  In June, President Obama declared that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, which set in motion an aggressive timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. However, the fighting has spiked in some regions of the country. On Aug. 6, the United States suffered its deadliest day in the nearly decade-long war when insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans.  According to the United Nations, 360 Afghan civilians were killed in June alone.  The surges of violence reflect how deeply entrenched the insurgency remains even far from its strongholds. The war continues.  -- Paula Nelson (42 photos total)

Villager Juma Khan meets with the provincial district governor and fellow villagers at a shura, or consultation, on July 23 at the US Marine Patrol Base Salaam Bazaar in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As mentors with the international coalition attempt to phase out their involvement and put Afghan institutions in the lead, the Taliban continue to gain strength in many of Helmand's northern communities, where legitimate Afghan governance is more of a plan than a reality. (David Goldman/Associated Press)
more photos
July 20, 2011 Permalink

World's Most Dangerous Countries for Women

Targeted violence against females, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, with Congo a close second due to horrific levels of rape. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide (the destruction of a fetus in the uterus), genital mutilation and acid attack. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of TrustLaw Woman*, puts Afghanistan at the top of the list of the most dangerous places in the world for women. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five contents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six categories of risk. The risks consisted of health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. The collection of images that follow were provided by Reuters to illustrate the dangers women face in those 5 countries. -- Paula Nelson (*TrustLaw Woman is a website aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s' groups around the world.) (37 photos total)

Women in Afghanistan have a near total lack of economic rights, rendering it a severe threat to its female inhabitants. An Afghan soldier uses a wooden stick to maintain order among women waiting for humanitarian aid at a World Food Programme WFP distribution point in the city of Kabul, December 14, 2001. The U.N. (WFP) started its biggest ever food distribution in the Afghan capital, handing out sacks of wheat to more than three-quarters of the war-ravaged city's population. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)
more photos
June 24, 2011 Permalink

Obama: US troop withdrawal to begin

President Barack Obama told war-weary Americans in a 15 minute address from the East Room of the White House that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan and that a withdrawal of American troops would be set in motion. He said Afghanistan no longer represented a terrorist threat to the United States and that the "tide of war is receding." He announced plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The remaining 20,000 troops from the 2009 "surge" would leave by next summer. He added that the drawdown would continue "at a steady pace" until the US handed over security to the Afghan authorities in 2014. President Sarkozy, of France, said he would also begin drawing down the 4,000-strong French contingent in Afghanistan. In keeping with 5,000 years of Afghan history, President Hamid Karzai said, “Afghans would take responsibility for the preservation of their soil, the security of their people and educating their children by the end of 2014.” In this post, we offer more glimpses of the troops and the Afghan people as they coexist, for now. - Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on live television screens in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, June 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama announced he will order 10,000 troops to pull out of Afghanistan this year and another 20,000 troops by the end of next summer. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
more photos
June 1, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, May 2011

The month of May in Afghanistan opened with news of US Navy SEALs killing Osama bin Laden. Suicide bombings claimed lives throughout the country, one injuring the top German commander. Another outside the Italian military base in Herat west of Kabul killed at least five. As the month closed, President Hamid Karzai issued vague warnings against Western airstrikes that cause civilian casualties. Gathered here in our monthly collection from Afghanistan are images of the US military mission and daily life in the country of just under 30 million people. -- Lloyd Young (45 photos total)

n Afghan youth looks on as a US Marine from 3rd Battalion 9th Marines Kodiak Company stands guard during a patrol in Kote Tazagul area in Marjah district in Helmand Province on May 24, 2011. US lawmakers saw momentum for political reconciliation in Afghanistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, but voiced fear that the fight against extremism was floundering in Pakistan. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
May 6, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, April 2011

Life expectancy in Afghanistan is but 45 years. It has the world's second-highest infant mortality rate. Only 12% of Afghan women are literate. It is the world's largest producer of opium. Soon it will have been occupied by foreign militaries for ten years, which followed years of Taliban rule, which followed years of civil war, which followed years of Soviet military occupation. Widespread corruption mutes hopes for the immediate future. The death of Osama bin Laden further clouds future American involvement in the country. Gathered here in our monthly collection of photographs from Afghanistan are images of the U.S. military mission, the toll of violence on civilians, and daily life in the country of just under 30 million. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)

An Afghan man and children gather around a fire in a hillside neighborhood in Kabul April 7. (Hossein Fatemi/AP)
more photos
April 1, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, March 2011

Every month in the Big Picture, we revisit Afghanistan, to see the people, to see our troops and troops from other nations, to get a sense of the country. President Hamid Karzai said recently his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having the Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. Our troops are due to begin coming home this July. There is still work to be done. Many of the photos featured in this post show the celebration of the Afghan New Year. The festival to celebrate new year's starts on March 21 and is celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, as well as war-torn Afghanistan and it coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. One of the most popular places to bring in the new year, Mazar-i Sharif, attracts hundreds of thousands of Afghans. -- Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Afghan children play as they eat ice lollies in Kabul on March 21, the Afghan New Year. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)
more photos
March 2, 2011 Permalink

Afghanistan, February 2011

The buildup of forces in Afghanistan is complete, with the number of US troops there the highest yet. The surge is part of President Obama’s campaign to take the battle to the Taliban strongholds in the south and east, while accelerating training of Afghan security forces. In February, suicide attacks by militants increased, and villagers and Afghan officials accused NATO of killing a large number of civilians in airstrikes. The images in this month's post show Afghans and NATO-led soldiers working and living through moments of sheer terror and numbing poverty. Through the strife, we see glimpses of the enduring human spirit. --Leanne Burden Seidel (39 photos total)

An Afghan army recruit marches during a graduation parade after an oath ceremony at Ghazi military training center in Kabul Feb. 3. Strengthening the abilities of Afghan forces to secure their country has been a top goal of US policy. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
more photos
February 11, 2011 Permalink

World Press Photo: winners

On the morning of February 11, 2011, the international jury of the 54th World Press Photo Contest named a photo by South African photographer Jodi Bieber, World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The image is a portrait of Bibi Aisha, disfigured as punishment for fleeing her husband's house, taken in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 5,691 photographers entered 108,059 images in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest and after the two-week judging period, 56 were named winners in nine categories. It is a prestigious contest and an honor to be named a winner. The following post shares 23 of those winning images. For more on the contest, including a time-lapse video of the jury room being set up, to hear the jury chairs discuss the images that were named winners, and to learn more about the competition, World Press Photo -- Paula Nelson (23 photos total)

Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the United States. World Press Photo of the Year 2010, Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine.
more photos
December 29, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, December, 2010

2010 has been the deadliest year yet for coalition troops in Afghanistan, with 709 troops killed, 497 of those from the U.S. American officials have spoken of a fragile progress, with a possible small drawdown of troops starting next summer, keeping 2014 as the goal date for Afghans to take control. The United Nations released a report saying that more than 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed and more than 3,800 injured in the first 10 months of 2010, with 76% of these casualties being caused by "anti-government elements". The report also shows deaths and injuries caused by "pro-government forces" (U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan army and police) accounted for 12% of civilian casualties, an 18% drop from the same time period last year. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

Sergeant Sheena Adams, 25, US Marine with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II works late into the night on her laptop on her reports on November 12, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. There are 48 women presently working along the volatile front lines of the war in Afghanistan deployed as the second Female Engagement team participating in a more active role, gaining access where men can't. The women, many who volunteer for the 6.5 month deployment take a 10 week course at Camp Pendleton in California where they are trained for any possible situation, including learning Afghan customs and basic Pashtun language. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
more photos
December 1, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, November, 2010

Saturday, November 27th marked a milestone in Afghanistan - after that day passed, the United States and its allies have now been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Union had been when it withdrew in 1989. Recent announcements by the U.S. appear to show that it plans to remain at least another four years. In the south, U.S. forces are increasingly encountering abandoned buildings that are heavily booby-trapped as they pursue the Taliban, leading them to systematically destroy the structures. Arghandab district governor Shah Muhammed Ahmadi said "In some villages where only a few houses were contaminated by bombs, we called the owners and got their agreement to destroy them, In some villages like Khosrow that were completely empty and full of IED's, we destroyed them without agreement because it was hard to find the people - and not just Khosrow, but many villages. We had to destroy them to make them safe." Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

One of twenty surrendering Taliban militants is presented to the media while being held for safety in a mosque belonging the NDS (National Department of Security) on November 4, 2010 in Herat, Afghanistan. Following an amnesty launched by President Hamid Karzai in November 2004, hundreds of anti-government Taliban militants have since surrendered to the government. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
more photos
November 1, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, October, 2010

With the U.S. troop surge now nearing its peak in Afghanistan, more than 150,000 US and international troops are now on the ground. 64 of those troops lost their lives this month, as forces pushed hard into the southern Kandahar Province, traditionally the heartland of the Taliban. At the same time, preliminary discussions are beginning to take place between the inner circle of President Hamid Karzai and members of the Quetta shura, the leadership group that oversees the Taliban war effort inside Afghanistan. Part of the current coalition strategy is to continue applying pressure on the Taliban in the fields, and encouraging their leaders to participate in hoped-for settlement talks. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (48 photos total)

Afghan firemen hose down a burning oil tanker after an explosive device planted underneath it exploded, on the Jalalabad-Torkham highway, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
more photos
September 29, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, September, 2010

This month, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections with nearly 2,500 candidates for 249 seats. Turnout was very light under threat of violence from the Taliban, and accusations of fraud are widespread. Afghan President Karzai announced the formation of a 70-member peace council, a step towards formal discussions with the Taliban. And American and Afghan troops have now begun active combat in an offensive to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds surrounding the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. With 51 more coalition troops killed this month, the total number of deaths for coalition troops in 2010 reached 541 compared with 521 for all of 2009. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)

An Italian soldier of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stands guard as an Afghan boy aims a toy pistol inside Herat's prison, in western Afghanistan on September 14, 2010. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)
more photos
September 1, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, August, 2010

With four months left in the year, 2010 is already the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 321 have been killed so far (out of 485 total coalition deaths), compared with 313 deaths in all of 2009. As coalition troop size has increased, and moves have been made into Taliban strongholds, attacks are on the rise, and, according to General David Petraeus, "the footprint of the Taliban has spread". As combat operations in Iraq have now ended, the Obama administration says it will focus even more of its attention on the nearly 9-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. This month marks the 12th entry in the series - I've been putting these together for one year now, and see no reason to stop any time soon. (42 photos total)

Abdul Qahar, an interpreter with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, finds one of the few shaded spots during Operation Big Wave in Khanagawr, Afghanistan, Aug. 18, 2010. During the operation the men spent two days in direct sunlight with temperatures reaching more than 120 degrees. The operation was conducted to disrupt the enemy from using supply lines to bring weapons and fighters into Nawa. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Mark Fayloga)
more photos
July 30, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, July, 2010

This past month, much of the attention focused on Afghanistan centered on the release of thousands of classified documents from the war effort by WikiLeaks. While the consensus appears to be that nothing significantly new was revealed by the release, the picture painted by the documents remains rather bleak. NATO and the United States now have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a counter-insurgency offensive into the insurgents' southern strongholds. Taliban control remains difficult to dislodge, and once removed from an area, Taliban forces often return once larger forces leave a region, especially in rural areas where local government presence remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)

A U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornet aircraft prepares to refuel over Afghanistan July 8, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin/Released)
more photos
June 30, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, June, 2010

This month has been the deadliest month yet for foreign troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Defense now reports that one hundred coalition troops were killed this month. The death toll for 2010 to date now stands at 320. With soldiers and equipment still arriving in the country, peak troop strength is anticipated to reach 150,000 by August. And, with the removal of General Stanley McChrystal from command of Afghanistan following an embarrassing article in Rolling Stone magazine, a shift in leadership is underway with General David Petraeus attending confirmation hearings now. Efforts are now being made ot both weaken the Taliban and pressure them to reconcile with the Afghan government, but progress is slow, and many earlier gains are becoming unstable once more. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [Editor's Note: I will be on vacation next week. Next entry will be published on 7/7] (42 photos total)

Two-year-old Faith Marie Adams reaches for one of the U.S. flags from her father, Army Spc. Christian M. Adams' coffin, during military honors ceremonies at the Main Post Chapel on Fort Huachuca, Arizona on Tuesday, June, 22, 2010. Christian Adams, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, died in Afghanistan on June 11. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Kelly Presnell)
more photos
May 31, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, May, 2010

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor our men and women who died while in military service since the time of U.S. Civil War. In Afghanistan over 50 U.S. soldiers have been killed in just the past month, including 24-year old Marine Cpl. Jacob Leicht, who became the 1,000th serviceman killed in Afghanistan since 2002. As the fighting season begins, Taliban militants have recently mounted several bold attacks and coalition efforts to "clear, hold and build" areas in the south have been slowed during the "hold" phase, as Afghan government capacity remains small. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

Monica McNeal cries as she hugs a U.S. Marine at the grave of her 19-year-old son Eric Ward, at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2010. Lance Corporal Eric Ward, a fourth-generation U.S. Marine, was killed in Afghanistan on February 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
more photos
May 3, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, April, 2010

A recent Pentagon report on the situation in Afghanistan over the past 6 months gives the impression that while things aren't necessarily getting any worse, they are far from improving. Afghan citizens, when polled, showed only limited support for their government, and a slight majority placed the blame for instability on Taliban forces. There remains a heavy reliance on international forces to provide security, training and equipment. As of March 31st, there were approximately 133,500 foreign troops on the ground in Afghanistan - 87,000 U.S. forces and 46,500 international forces. This month also saw the departure of a U.S. military presence from Afghanistan's notorious Korengal Valley, a small, isolated, patch of difficult terrain where 42 soldiers lost their lives over the past five years. NATO is calling the move a "realignment", focusing efforts on more-populated areas. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

An Afghan detainee sits in the entrance to a bunker while under guard by US Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, inside their base in Marjah, Helmand province, on April 7, 2010. A single Afghan man was arrested by US Marines near the site where a roadside bomb blew up early in the morning, with a false Pakistan passport, two different Afghan identification cards, some wires wrapped on a few batteries, an old rifle and pamphlets of Taliban activities in Marjah. (MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
March 31, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, March, 2010

In Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, American forces are pushing forward, aiming to break the Taliban's hold on the city and southern Afghanistan. The number of foreign troops under US and NATO command is set to rise to 150,000 by August, with most of the new deployment heading to the south. Meanwhile, across other parts of the country dominated by insurgents, some U.S. efforts are now aimed at rebuilding and securing mobile phone towers. Taliban forces have destroyed or crippled some 200 of Afghanistan's 6,000 towers since 2008, isolating communities they seek to control. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

Near the Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in Kabul, an Afghan girl passes by as a helicopter flies over during the celebration of Nowruz, the start of spring and the traditional New Year celebrated in Afghanistan, Iran and other countries of central Asia, on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
more photos
February 26, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, February, 2010

In southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province, Thousands of American, Afghan and British troops entered Marja in the biggest offensive of the war, with the goal of destroying the Taliban's largest haven and restoring government presence in southern Afghanistan. Resistance was sporadic and fierce as troops seized positions around the area. Stricter combat rules and a concerted effort by the Afghan government and NATO forces were aimed at not only protecting the civilian population, but planning for the aftermath, building infrastructure, support and trust in an area long dominated by the Taliban. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

U.S. Marine Sgt. Shane Hanley, a squad leader from Easy Company, 2-2 Marines, receives treatment by U.S. Army flight medic Sgt. Michael G. Patangan (left) while airborne in an army Task Force Pegasus medevac helicopter, shortly after Hanley was wounded, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on February 9th, 2010. Sgt. Hanley, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who agreed to have photos of himself published, sustained shrapnel injuries to the left side of his body, face and eye when an improvised explosive device detonated below him while he was on a foot patrol. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
more photos
January 29, 2010 Permalink

Afghanistan, January, 2010

As the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops continues to pour into Afghanistan, the Obama administration is now considering the possibility of reconciling with some of the Taliban, reintegrating the soldiers into society, as a way to find an end to this long conflict. The plan is supported by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, although discussions are still in the very early stages. A recent United Nations report found that violence in Afghanistan claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Afghan civilians in the year 2009. While this is the largest annual death toll for noncombatants since the U.S. led invasion eight years ago, the report found that the majority of deaths had been caused by Taliban attacks. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

An Afghan man walks on the street as the sun sets over Delaram district in Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan on January 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)
more photos
December 30, 2009 Permalink

Afghanistan, December, 2009

The first waves of President Obama's announced "surge" of up to 30,000 more U.S. troops made their way to Afghanistan this month. The troops will be joined by a smaller but important "civilian surge", bumping the number of U.S. civilians serving one-year tours in Afghanistan up from the current level of 1,000 to 1,300 within the next six months. The civilians will be tasked with helping to strengthen and rebuild much Afghanistan's society, with projects planned in finance, agriculture, health care and much more. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

Afghans ride a motorcycle past United States Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines "Warlords", not seen, during an operation to hunt for insurgents following an exchange of fire in the Garmsir district of the volatile Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
more photos
November 25, 2009 Permalink

Afghanistan, November, 2009

President Barack Obama recently announced that he was determined to "finish the job" in Afghanistan, and aides signaled to allies that he would send as many as 25,000 to 30,000 additional American troops there. Obama will formally announce his decision in a national address at 8 p.m. Tuesday from the Military Academy at West Point. As casualties mount on both sides, 2009 is shaping up to be the deadliest year yet for coalition troops - twice as deadly as 2008. American and Afghan officials have been encouraged by the recent rise of independent anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan, even though their emergence is recent and supporting them raises fears of the consequences of arming and training Islamic militants. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (42 photos total)

Cpl. Casey Liffrig leaps for cover while Lt. Thomas Goodman gets down as Taliban fighters ambush U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during a patrol in the Pech Valley of Afghanistan's Kunar province on November 3rd, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
more photos
October 26, 2009 Permalink

Afghanistan, October, 2009

Over the past month in Afghanistan it became clear that a Presidential runoff vote between President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah would need to take place. The Obama administration continued to deliberate on whether to commit further troops to the conflict, and at least 46 U.S. service members were killed, including 14 in two separate helicopter crashes today. A recent U.N. report recorded 1,500 Afghan civilian deaths in the first six months of 2009 alone, describing this as the deadliest year for civilians in Afghanistan since the start of the U.S.-led war against Taliban eight years ago. Collected here are some images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (43 photos total)

An Afghan carpenter holds his prayer beads in front of his shop in Kabul October 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)
more photos
September 28, 2009 Permalink

Afghanistan, September, 2009

Today's entry is the first of a new regular feature on the Big Picture: a monthly focus on Afghanistan. From now on, I will post such an entry at least once every month as long as necessary. Violence in Afghanistan has reached its most intense of the eight-year-old war despite record levels of U.S. and NATO troops being sent to fight the Taliban. July and August were the two deadliest months to date for coalition forces, and September is already the 3rd-deadliest, with 38 U.S. deaths - 68 total including all coalition members. With an apparently resurgent Taliban and over 120,000 foreign troops on the ground, and a recent push for the U.S. to consider sending 40,000 more (beyond the additional 21,000 troops still committed but yet undeployed), the situation in Afghanistan could possibly become even more intense in the near future. Collected here is a one-month collection of photos related to Afghanistan for September, 2009. [Past entries in category Afghanistan] (43 photos total)

A dust devil whirls past as a soldier from the 1st Company, 4th Rapid Brigade of ISAF Czech contingent based in Tabor, Czech Republic, proceeds to check the targets after completing a shooting exercise at the range in Camp Altimur in Logar province, some 140 km (87 miles) southeast of the capital Kabul, September 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic)
more photos
August 28, 2009 Permalink

Ballots, bullets and bombs in Afghanistan

Earlier this year, Afghanistan embarked on its second presidential campaign season, with over forty candidates registering to run for president, and over 3,000 candidates for provincial offices. The election itself took place on August 20th, and the results are still being tallied - but, according to preliminary results, the two front-runners are current president Hamid Karzai and former Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Members of the Taliban boycotted the election process and threatened those who participated with violence. Although security was heavy, nearly 800 polling stations (out of 7,000) were not opened due to feared insecurity - insurgent attacks having spiked in frequency leading up to the 20th. The Afghan government also issued a ban on media coverage of violence during election day, fearing such news would drive down turnout. Find below photos from around Afghanistan during its recent election. (40 + 3 photos total)

An Afghan woman displays her finger marked with indelible ink after casting her vote at a polling station in Kabul on August 20, 2009. Afghans voted to elect a president for just the second time in their war-torn history as a massive security clampdown swung into action to prevent threatened Taliban attacks derailing the ballot. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
July 17, 2009 Permalink

In Afghanistan, Part Two

(Part two of two) - Today, nearly eight years after the initial invasion of Afghanistan, the country remains unstable at best, and the U.S. is now pouring thousands of new troops into the country, joining the international coalition to combat the Taliban insurgency. This year, bomb attacks on coalition troops have reached an all-time high - at least 46 American troops killed by IEDs this year, part of the larger figure of 1,249 coalition deaths to date. On June 25th, U.S. officials announced the launch of Operation Khanjar - 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of NATO and Afghan forces pushing into various parts of Helmand province attempting to secure the area ahead of Afghanistan's presidential election next month. Consider this entry a double-issue - there has been so much powerful photography coming out of Afghanistan the past few months, I had a very hard time editing down to just these, recent photographs from Afghanistan. (see part 1) (32 photos total)

Members of the security detail for Karl Eikenberry, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, stand in front of a U.S. army Chinook helicopter as it lands near a newly constructed bridge south of Tarin Kot, in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan July 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)
more photos
July 17, 2009 Permalink

In Afghanistan, Part One

(Part one of two) - Today, nearly eight years after the initial invasion of Afghanistan, the country remains unstable at best, and the U.S. is now pouring thousands of new troops into the country, joining the international coalition to combat the Taliban insurgency. This year, bomb attacks on coalition troops have reached an all-time high - at least 46 American troops killed by IEDs this year, part of the larger figure of 1,249 coalition deaths to date. On June 25th, U.S. officials announced the launch of Operation Khanjar - 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of NATO and Afghan forces pushing into various parts of Helmand province attempting to secure the area ahead of Afghanistan's presidential election next month. Consider this entry a double-issue - there has been so much powerful photography coming out of Afghanistan the past few months, I had a very hard time editing down to just these, recent photographs from Afghanistan. (see part 2) (32 photos total)

An afghan girl stands next to the door of her house as Canadian soldiers patrol the village of Bazaar e Panjwai in Kandahar, May 29, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
more photos
April 1, 2009 Permalink

Recent scenes from Afghanistan

Since he took office in January, President Barack Obama has ordered an additional 21,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to Afghanistan, which will bring the full U.S. deployment there to a total of 60,000 troops, joining 39,000 coalition troops from 43 countries. The U.S. administration plans to impose benchmarks for progress on both Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, who struggle with problems tied to tribal rivalries, illegal drug production and distribution, religious factions, general instability and poverty. Collected here are photographs from the past few months of the situation in Afghanistan and the lives that continue to be affected by it. (43 photos total)

An Afghan village seen from above, amidst fields of opium poppy and wheat in Farah Province, Afghanistan on March 17, 2009. U.S. Marines, who expanded into the area last November, are soon to be joined by thousands more American troops as part of an additional 17,000 U.S. forces being sent to the war. (John Moore/Getty Images)
more photos
November 12, 2008 Permalink

Afghanistan's Korengal Valley

Yesterday was Veteran's Day (or Armistice or Remembrance Day, depending on where you live), a day set aside to honor those who have served in the military. Today, on the day after, it seems appropriate to share some photographs of U.S. soldiers currently in the thick of war in Afghanistan. Getty Images photographer John Moore spent some time recently in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, near the Pakistani border, with Viper Company of the 1-26 Infantry, and brought back these images, documenting what he saw. The final two photographs do not involve Korengal, but are striking examples of these difficult and complex times, and the sacrifice of one American family. (31 photos total)

A 50 caliber machine gun points out towards an Afghan village October 23, 2008 at the U.S. Army combat outpost Dallas in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. OP Dallas is located in the Korengal Valley, site of some of the heaviest combat between American forces and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. (John Moore/Getty Images)
more photos
October 8, 2008 Permalink

In Afghanistan with the ISAF

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is the mission established by the UN Security Council in 2001 to secure parts of Afghanistan to allow the establishment of Hamid Karzai's new administration. The ISAF operates separately, but cooperatively, with the U.S. coalition operation in Afghanistan called "Operation Enduring Freedom". The mission of the ISAF has expanded to provide security for all of Afghanistan, and is presently made up of over 53,000 troops from 43 different nations. The recent push into Taliban strongholds has led to more frequent conflicts, and increased attacks against ISAF convoys and soldiers. Pictured here are ISAF soldiers throughout Afghanistan, many of them from Germany, courtesy of Reuters' embedded photographer Fabrizio Bensch - again it's impossible to portray every member nation in just a handful of photos, just see these as representative of soldiers from 43 countries, all undertaking the same tasks. (30 photos total)

A German Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter of the ISAF lands on a helipad near a camp in Fayzabad, north of Kabul, September 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
more photos
June 3, 2008 Permalink

Daily Life in Afghanistan

Snapshots of life in Afghanistan, as seen by press photographers over the past two months. (12 photos total)

An Afghan Special Forces policeman walks through a poppy field as he searches for Taliban fighters in the village of Sanjaray in Zhari district early April 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
more photos