Photographer's Note

When I visited Afghanistan in 2003, one of the things that impressed me was how happy the children were. Everywhere that I went I saw children smiling, singing songs and flying kites (music and kite flying were banned under the Taliban) and even though they were living in conditions that in the West would be described as squalid, they were happy. After decades of war and Taliban rule (they were ousted from Kabul in November 2001) you could sense a feeling of freedom in the air, despite the fact that much of the country was in ruins and its infrastructure destroyed. When I stopped on the road up one of the mountains overlooking Kabul, these kids appeared, and the boy in the middle performed a little dance for my camera – his sister on the left was too shy to join him though.

The children in the right seem preoccupied in their discussion – I was a little concerned that the small boy on the far right was standing on the edge of a sheer 50 ft drop – but I suppose they do that every day. What was of even more concern was the amount of live ammunition that is still scattered over this mountainside (this particular mountain was used to shell the city of Kabul by rival mujaheddin factions on many occasions) – but I suppose the children have learnt to differentiate between live shells and empty shells (of which there are hundreds of thousands littering the landscape). I was told that there was so much live ammunition still lying around on the sides of the mountains overlooking Kabul, that it will take years to find and clear it all. The children live in the very basic mud brick homes that you see being reconstructed on the side of the mountain. There is no water or electricity, and no toilets (they use the side of the road) – so it is a very basic and poor existence. But still the children are happy. What a contrast to some of the spoilt kids that you see in many western countries, who scream and shout when they can’t have the latest electronic toy or one more ride in the theme park.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2003-09-25
  • Categories: Daily Life
  • Camera: Nikon E5000
  • Exposure: f/3.5, 1/120 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2005-08-11 7:50
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
Viewed: 9540
Points: 20
Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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