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From my very first visit in late 2001, I was drawn to Afghanistan; its people and the remarkable landscape.

The Afghans inner strength to survive was visually captivating for me. I kept on coming back for the ongoing news coverage but found myself more absorbed with the diversity of the features of daily life that I photographed. As a result, these images here are a glimpse of a “slice of life” of Afghanistan, looking at the war-torn country from late 2001 to the present day. This is an ongoing photo project for me and will eventually become a book.

Afghanistan is a country in transition, experiencing a very “ fragile peace”. Over the last two years violence has increased in the country; analysts estimate that 2008 has been the bloodiest year since the start of the insurgency. Pakistan is accused of exporting its problems, pushing more of the radical fighters across the Afghan border. In addition to the many problems prevailing, there is growing disillusionment with the government, bringing fears that the Taliban will continue to gain strength as they use more “Iraqi-style” tactics moving into some of the rural districts around Kabul.

Afghanistan is a country in transition, experiencing a very “ fragile peace”. Over the last two years violence has increased in the country; analysts estimate that 2008 has been the bloodiest year since the start of the insurgency. Pakistan is accused of exporting its problems, pushing more of the radical fighters across the Afghan border. In addition to the many problems prevailing, there is growing disillusionment with the government, bringing fears that the Taliban will continue to gain strength as they use more “Iraqi-style” tactics moving into some of the rural districts around Kabul.

Although women have more freedom than before, they are still in the traditionally subordinate position in Afghan society where conservative Islamic laws dictate what a female is allowed to do in a male-dominated world. In the worst cases, there is no means of controlling violence against women, who sometimes attempt suicide by self-immolation to escape the horror of their existence.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium which, when refined as heroin is sold around the world. The fight against the narcotics economy is a slow and arduous process, and heroin is so cheap on the streets of Kabul – a day’s supply costs about US$3 – making it an easy temptation.

Paula Bronstein

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