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Somewhere on the 14-hour-long drive, i fell asleep to open my eyes to this epic view on the peak of #Qonaq #Mountain. Here, looking at #Daikundi, behind me, a turn away, is where #Bamin starts. #onassignment #roadtrip #Afghanistan
#Repost @natgeointhefield ・・・ Video by @kianahayeri / Four decades into back-to-back conflicts, this is a land where tanks have replaced playgrounds. 29- year-old Hamed and his children spent their Friday afternoon on a hilltop in the Qara Baq village of Istalif district, Afghanistan. The tank, one of the many found across Afghanistan, is a remnant of the #Soviet invasion. #istalif #kabul #afghanistan
On the first day of spring, residents of Nalij village in #Miramoor district of #Daikundi host a massive #NowRouz celebration that attracts thousands of men and women, dressed in their best outfits and wearing makeup. No one really knows for how long this tradition has been around but some older residents estimate it has been held for over 100 years. Here, after the celebration comes to an end, people slowly make their way out. Most have come from neighboring villages, walking for hours or sharing vans to get to the remote location. Some others came a longer way, as far as #Ashtarlai district which is about 2 days of drive to Nalij.  During the #Taliban rule, Now Rouz was banned and considered an "ancient pagan holiday centered on fire worship." While historically, extremist organizations have planned disruptive activities and attacks, targeting the large gatherings during the annual celebration, Nalij village located in a remote area of Daikundi province in #CentralHighland has remained untouched. #onassignment for @natgeo @natgeointhefield #Afghanistan #latergram
#Repost @nytimes ・・・ Whatever happens in Afghanistan once the United States withdraws will not bode well for women. But even the gains made for them over the last 20 years have often been fleeting. Over two decades, the United States spent more than $780 million to promote women’s rights in Afghanistan. The result is a generation who came of age in a period of hope for women’s equality. Though progress has been uneven, girls and women now make up about 40% of students. They have joined the military and police, held political office, become internationally recognized singers, competed in the Olympics and on robotics teams, climbed mountains and more — all things that were nearly impossible at the turn of the century. As the conflict dragged on over 20 years and setbacks on the battlefield mounted, American officials and lawmakers frequently pointed to the gains of Afghan women and girls as proof of success of the nation-building endeavor — some measure of progress to try to justify the loss of life, both American and Afghan, and billions of dollars spent in the war effort. Fear — even more potent than in years past — is gripping Afghans now that U.S. and NATO forces will depart the country in the coming months, leaving behind a publicly triumphant Taliban. Whether the Taliban take back power by force or through a political agreement with the Afghan government, their influence will almost inevitably grow. In a country in which an end to nearly 40 years of conflict is nowhere in sight, many Afghans talk of an approaching civil war. “All the time, women are the victims of men’s wars,” said Raihana Azad, a member of Afghanistan’s parliament. “But they will be the victims of their peace, too.” The New York Times spoke to many Afghan women — members of civil society, politicians, journalists and others — about what comes next in their country, and they all said the same thing: Whatever happens will not bode well for them. Tap the link in our bio to read more. Photos by @jimhuylebroek and @kianahayeri #afghanistan
This coming August, in collaboration with @ishkar.co we will take two small groups of travelers, curated and selected to gather informed, critically minded and adventurous people from all around the world, to #Bosnia and #Herzegovina . Some will be drawn by the prospect of spending time immersed in film, others will be drawn by the chance to learn about a fascinating part of the world. What unites everyone is the same curious spirit and desire to get far away from the typical tourist trails. Together we will take in the #Sarajevo film festival, while we learn how to use our own cameras to tell stories about Bosnia's rich and complicated past. The @sarajevofilmfestival was founded in 1995 during the siege of #Sarajevo as part of the fight to safeguard the city’s identity and provide a symbol of hope in the face of conflict. Get in touch by emailing explore@Ishkar.com for more information, or book a consultation with the team. #jajce #bosniaandherzegovina
I'm overjoyed that "Where Prison is Kind of Freedom" has been recognized by @opcofamerica and named among its 2020 award winners along with long-time friend @andrewquilty and fellow @tedfellow , @alisonkilling . It would be an understatement to say how humbled I feel to have received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for this story. In the past week, my phone has been flashing photos with notifications that read as "two years ago on this day..." The photos, documenting the lives of a dozen women inside #Herat #Prison , were a personal quest. I wanted to understand how far someone could be pushed before she did something to protect herself and her children. The story remains one of the most surprising journeys I've taken in my short career especially since I have kept in touch with a handful of the inmates, particularly Foroozan and her daughters. Many of them have been released since the story has been published and they're well on their way to restart their lives. Thanks to  @amykellner , @kathyryan and @lkatzenberg at @nytmag , for their continuous support. This story would have not come together without Hamed Sarfarazi's precious help and contacts. Thank you my friend!  Andrew and I had a lovely evening, surrounded by a small group of close friends. We sat around a table that was lit by a candlelight and appreciated intimate conversations that can only be generated during another #Kabul power outage.  #Afghanistan #RobertCapa
This land has dipped into another layer of fog with an uncertain future. #PresidentBiden declared yesterday that “it is time to end the forever war in Afghanistan." Speaking from the same spot in the #WhiteHouse where #PresidentBush ordered the start of the #war nearly two decades ago, Biden made a case that there was no longer any justification — if there ever was — to believe that the US military presence could turn #Afghanistan into a stable #democracy. However, (quoting Dipali Mukhopadhyay here) "once we drag another country into war, we owe those whose worlds we have turned upside down - for better and for worse - every attempt to make our exit a just one. Exit should not privilege a political win at the expense of leverage that could improve the likelihood of #peace. And it should not threaten the well-being of those made vulnerable by our actions and no fault of their own." #whereisthepromisedpeace #wherearewegoing
Khaliqyar Mohammadi, 20, a Hazara student at Mawoud Academy, said he felt enormous pressure to pass the exam. He is the oldest son and the first in his family to attend a tutoring center. He said his father was serving an eight-year prison term for carrying a Taliban-issued document required to commute to and from work in Taliban-controlled areas, a crime under an Afghan law that prohibits acknowledging the Taliban’s shadow governments. Forced to raise his own tuition money, Mr. Mohammadi took a break from school and worked on construction sites for two years. “The whole family is expecting me to study and change the fate of my family,” he said. “I’ll either be killed, or I’ll reach my goal.” In part because of security fears, the number of students at the Mawoud Academy dropped by nearly half this year — to 2,000 from about 4,000 last year, said Mr. Yousefi, the teacher. But for those who have overcome their fears, studying to pass the exam has become “a matter of honor,” he said."" Our latest for @nytimes with @fahmabed and David Zucchino We have started a #GoFundMe campaign for students in need of financial support at Mawoud Academy, like Khaliqyar, and we're hoping to create at least 50 scholarships ($120 each) for students. This will cover all of their expenses and course fees for one year leading up to university entrance exam. We will distribute the scholarships with the help of Najibullah and his #fearless team. Only 48 hours into the fundraising, we have raised over %75 of our goal. Please share and consider donating, whatever you can. If you're celebrating #NowRooz, consider your donation as an 'eidi' gift. LINK IN BIO. #kabul #afghanistan
About 40 km north of #Kabul, #Arghavan blossoms are blooming on the hills surrounding and overlooking #Istalif village, leaving vast fields colored in a sharp rosy purple shade. From #Hafiz to #Rumi and Ebtehaj, #Iranian classical, mystical and post-modern poets have frequently used "Arghavan" or the #JudasTree as a symbol, often a metaphor for the departure of #winter or the arrival of #spring. My favourite of all is Houshang Ebtehaj's poem, titled "Arghavan". I was reading about the origin of the poem today and the story goes as: Ebtehaj had a Judas Tree in the corner of his courtyard in his home that would bloom every spring. Sometime after 1985, after a gradual migration to #Germany along with his wife and children, Ebtehaj sold his house in #Tehran, leaving his Judas Tree behind. First spring away from the house and #Iran, Ebtehaj writes this poem to his Arghavan, talking to her about the pain of #separation. A poem that resonates deeply with me and many Iranians, esp those who have experienced the sorrow that comes with #migration or living in #exile. With the current situation in #Afghanistan and many of us contemplating what will happen in the coming months, Ebtehaj's words have been echoing in my ears for a few days now. Here is an excerpt and an amateur translation of his poem: "Arghavan, my lonely parted branch! What color is your sky today? Is it sunny? or still gloomy? Here, in the corner that is set outside of this world, I have no sky above my head and I hear nothing of springtime. At this forgotten quiet corner, a colored memory brings me to tears. My Arghavan is over there, my Arghavan is lonely, my Arghavan is weeping! Oh Arghavan! What is the secret of springtime which bears my sorrow with its arrival every year? Arghavan, my lonely parted branch! You continue to stand tall and sing my unsung song." On such a #dark day in Kabul, with a #gloomy sky and heavy clouds hanging above our heads, I am inscribing these words while having my #Afghan friends in mind. Those who had to leave this troubled land in recent months, those who have been forced to live in exile, those who are singing for their Arghavans. #hooshangebtehaj
On the bumpy dirt roads of #Badakhshan , one wing mirror won't keep you safe... #Afghanistan #onassignment