FAQ Follow On:Twitter Google+ Facebook Tumblr subscribe by RSS or Email

Afghanistan: Seen Through the Lens of Anja Niedringhaus

|

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus has been covering conflicts from Bosnia to Afghanistan for more than 20 years, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, as part of a team of AP photographers covering the Iraq War. She has traveled to Afghanistan numerous times, photographing events from 2001 until today, sending photos from Kandahar as recently as yesterday. Documenting a decades-long story like the Afghanistan War is a challenge for any photojournalist, from simple logistical issues, to serious safety concerns, to the difficulty of keeping the narrative fresh and compelling. Niedringhaus has done a remarkable job, telling people's stories with a strong, consistent voice, an amazing eye for light and composition, and a level of compassion that clearly shows through her images. Gathered here are just a handful of her photos from the war-torn nation, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. [40 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose:
A German soldier sits next to candles lit to celebrate his 34th birthday, during a long term patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan, on September 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
A German soldier sits next to candles lit to celebrate his 34th birthday, during a long term patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, Afghanistan, on September 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Afghan Army soldier Ahmad, 20, pauses as he cleans his weapon after at a training center on the outskirts of Kabul, on May 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A US Marine on his way to pick up food supplies after they were dropped off by small parachutes from a plane outside Forward Operating Base Edi in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan, on June 9, 2011. The smoke in the background comes from burning parachutes the Marines destroyed after they reached the ground. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan girl tries to peer through the holes of her burqa as she plays with other children in the old town of Kabul, on April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan walks through a river outside Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, on September 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Afghan National Army soldiers pose for portraits at the Chinari outpost in Logar province, on May 22, 2012. Left: Noor Ali, who believes he is 21 years old, lost his parents when he was young, never went to school, and worked as a laborer. He joined the army 10 months ago and learned basic reading and writing. He dyed his hair flaming red, explaining shyly, "I did this to look good. In my village it is popular." Center: Abdul Basir, 22, who joined the Afghan National Army in early 2012, only recently finishing his training which he said constituted learning to fight while on the run, to fire weapons, how to use silence and stealth to his advantage. He says he bears no ill will toward the Taliban. "They are human beings and Afghans but if they shoot at me I have to defend myself." Right: Noor Alam, 25, is from Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, where the vast majority are ethnic Pashtuns, the same as most Taliban. He recalls scary encounters with the Taliban in his four years in the army, but none as frightening as the one with U.S. Special Forces who he says mistook his base for a Taliban hide-out. "Their weapons were so strong. I have had bad experiences with the Taliban but this was the most frightening for me," he said. "Maybe they apologized to higher-ups, but no one apologized to us." He says he longs for "peace with all Afghans, living together. We shouldn't fight each other." (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan nomad kisses his young daughter while watching his herd in Marjah, Helmand province, on October 20, 2012. In southern Helmand province, one of Afghanistan's deadliest battlefields, angry residents say 11 years of war has brought them widespread insecurity. They say they are too afraid to go out after dark because of marauding bands of thieves and during the day corrupt police and government officials bully them into paying bribes. Development that was promised hasn't materialized and the Taliban's rule is often said to be preferred. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An ISAF soldier with the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) uses a picture of his family as a bookmark while he reads during a flight on a German army CH-53 helicopter from Kunduz to the German base in Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, on September 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Food supplies for US Marines are dropped from a plane as a sandstorm approaches outside Forward Operating Base Edi in Helmand Province, on June 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan refugee girl reacts after another child stole her food voucher while she was queuing in front a truck organized by the World Food Program in Kabul, on March 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(1 of 7) Blackhawk pilot CW 2 Robert A. Campbell, with the U.S. Army Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, after landing safely back at his outpost outside of Sangin, Helmand Province, on June 3, 2011. During a rescue mission, his medevac helicopter came under fire and took bullets in the pilot's window and the helicopter's blades. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(2 of 7) U.S. Marines evacuate their wounded comrade Cpl. Burness Britt onto a medevac helicopter from the U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, after he was wounded in an IED strike near Sangin, Helmand Province, on June 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(3 of 7) Injured U.S. Marine Cpl. Burness Britt, after being lifted onto a medevac helicopter, on June 4, 2011. Britt was wounded in an IED strike, a large piece of shrapnel cutting into a major artery on his neck. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(4 of 7) U.S. Army chief Spc. Jenny Martinez holds the hand of Marine Cpl. Burness Britt on board a medevac helicopter, on June 4, 2011. During Britt's first operation in Afghanistan he suffered a stroke and became partially paralyzed. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(5 of 7) Months after the IED attack, photographer Anja Niedringhaus tracked down Cpl. Burness Britt, hoping to learn of his recovery, and possibly to share some of her photos she had taken of his evacuation. Here, he reacts after seeing some of those pictures laid out on his bed in the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, on December 13, 2011. Britt is facing a long recovery after a large piece of shrapnel from the IED cut a major artery on his neck. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(6 of 7) Marine Cpl. Burness Britt points to the scar on his head in his room in the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, on December 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
(7 of 7) Marine Cpl. Burness Britt walks on the grounds of the Hunter Holmes Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, wearing a helmet protecting his head after part of his skull had been removed, on December 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A young man jumps from a diving board into a swimming pool on a hill overlooking Kabul, on May 17, 2013. The swimming pool build by the Soviets more then 30 years ago has rarely been used caught instead in the middle of decades of war. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A German soldier lifts weights at his combat outpost in Char Darah, outisde Kunduz, on September 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A German ISAF soldier, bearing a lucky charm attached on his bulletproof vest, enjoys a cigar after arriving with his unit back to the base in Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, on September 11, 2009. The unit was stuck for days in the area of Kunduz and came under heavy fire in which four soldiers where injured and evacuated to the field hospital in Kunduz. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
In this photo taken Saturday, September 11, 2010, an Afghan boy on a donkey reacts as Canadian soldiers with the 1st RCR Battle Group, The Royal Canadian Regiment, patrol in Salavat, southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A German ISAF soldier, member of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), peers out of his armored vehicle after coming back from a mission outside Kunduz, on September 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan man watches his pigeons after feeding them in Kabul, on March 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Comrades of fallen Canadian trooper Larry Rudd carry his casket onto a plane during a ramp ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, on May 26, 2010. Rudd, 26, was the 146th member of the Canadian military to die in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Afghan men walk through the debris of their destroyed school in the village of Budyali, Nangarhar province, on March 19, 2013. Taliban militants attacked the nearby district headquarters in July 2011, then took refuge in the school. The Afghan National Army requested help from coalition forces, who responded with drones, fighter jets and rockets, leaving the school destroyed, according to village elders. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan man with his five children on his motorbike pays money to enter a park in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, on November 1, 2013. On Fridays, the Islamic day of rest and prayer, children and their families traditionally gather in one of the few parks. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A German KZO drone, or unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle, takes off from the German base outside Kunduz, on September 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Afghan prisoner Nuria, with her infant boy, at Badam Bagh, Afghanistan's central women's prison, in Kabul, on March 28, 2013. "When I went to court for a divorce, instead of giving me a divorce, they charged me with running away," Nuria said. The man she wanted to marry was also charged and is now serving time in Afghanistan's notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison. 202 women live in the six-year-old jail, the majority of the women are serving sentences of up to seven years for leaving their husbands, refusing to accept a marriage arranged by their parents, or choosing to leave their parents' home with a man of their choice. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A Canadian soldier with the 1st RCR Battle Group, the Royal Canadian Regiment, patrols with a sunflower stuck to his helmet in the Panjwaii district, near Salavat, southwest of Kandahar, on September 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Boys play soccer during a break at their school in Kandahar, on October 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, file) #
A Canadian soldier with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment fires an anti-tank rocket during an exercise in Khebari Ghar in the Panjwayi district, south-west of Kandahar, on June 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan policeman pushes people away after a bomb exploded under a car, leaving the driver dead, in the center of Kabul, on October 21, 2013. The Afghan Interior ministry confirmed that it was a magnetic bomb that destroyed the vehicle and killed the driver in the early morning rush hour. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A U.S. soldier arrives on the scene where a suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy in Kabul, on May 16, 2013. A Muslim militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, claimed responsibility for the early morning attack, killing many in the explosion and wounding tens, police and hospital officials said. The powerful explosion rattled buildings on the other side of Kabul and sent a pillar of white smoke into the sky in the city's east. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A young Afghan girl tries to grab the crutches of her sister Amida while she is testing her new artificial limbs at the ICRC physical rehabilitation center in Kabul, on May 27, 2012. Since the ICRC began its rehabilitation program in Afghanistan in 1988, over 43,000 people, including 25,000 amputees, have been treated at its centers in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad and Gulbahar. Among the amputees registered, 77% were landmine victims and 70% civilians. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A U.S. Marine dog handler attends to his his Improvised Detection Dog, after he was injured and rescued by a helicopter of the U.S. Army Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, in Helmand Province, on June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
In a traditional game, Afghan men fight each other with slings in a park in the center of Kandahar, on February 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan man and a boy listen to music on earphones from an iPod belonging to German ISAF soldiers, during a long-term patrol in Yaftal e Sofla, in the mountainous region of Feyzabad, east of Kunduz, on September 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A Canadian soldier with the 1st RCR Battle Group, The Royal Canadian Regiment, chases a chicken seconds before he and his unit were attacked by grenades shot over the wall during a patrol in Salavat, southwest of Kandahar, on September 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An Afghan boy holding a toy gun enjoys a ride with others on a merry-go-round to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival, in Kabul, on September 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, file) #
Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus stands next to photographs from Iraq, left, and Afghanistan, right, during a press preview of her exhibition "Anja Niedringhaus At War" at the Gallery C/O in Berlin, on September 9, 2011. (Photo/Markus Schreiber) #

Related links and information

Previous gallery | Next gallery | View All Back to top

Recent Entries

Join the Discussion

blog comments powered by Disqus

On Newsstands Now

Subscribe and SAVE 65%
10 issues JUST $2.45/COPY

The Atlantic Monthly

The Technology Issue: Why kids sext (and what to do about it), the new technology of adultery, what Silicon Valley's best minds think about everything from drones to Uber, the Steve Jobs of beer, and more