Afghanistan, China, Enjoy the Paintings, Pakistan, Photographic Stories
Comments 88

At War, with the truth. With Afghanistan and her Killers: A photographic Essay of Twenty Years

I wasn’t really planning to write anything, after The Sins of America any more of whatever turned out in Afghanistan as there seemed no point to keep poking but it all changed the moment i saw a video of the US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who while facing the toughest grilling of his carrier remarked that “they inherited a deadline, and did not inherit any plan,”. It angered me to say the least.

World’s strongest, resource filled country actually had no plan for 20 years. And it is safe to say that they have no plan to deal with anything under the sun, leave China; I do not think anymore that anyone of us will ever get to know anything about the origins the Corona virus.

The funniest part is, that those terrorists who were once on the UN blacklist, were carrying millions of money on their heads, the deadliest of human killers have become great again. Google Mullah Baradar, the Taliban co-founder is now on this week’s ‘Times ‘100 most influential people of 2021‘. Is this a Joke! A terrorist is now a politician according to google, and probably soon to be the President of a country. What are we showing the coming generations to deal with killers, and how. This is blasphemous.

Afghanistan indeed may not be the last blunder of the Biden presidency. Taiwan could probably be next. Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote in 2014 that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates has proved right.

In fact, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in May 2010 letter found at his Pakistani compound after he was killed by U.S. forces, advised al-Qaeda not to target then-Vice President Biden, in the hope that he would one day become president. “Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis,” bin Laden wrote. He too has proved correct.

Here in India, who is almost a new found ally of the US since the birth of the Quad, the Indo-Pacific, as they have been challenged by the Chinese on the face, has somewhere taken a hit of trust as Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco is a disaster for Asia, and this Self-inflicted defeat sends message that allies cannot count on the U.S intelligence, their friendship or more so India, who has been fighting terrorism ever since the times when the west had no Idea what was it actually. India has already been guarding her borders against the united might of China and Pakistan on her own.


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Indian astrology, which is the ancient most science that the Indians developed, which i have always been curious about, coming from my great grandfather, even though i have written very little about it; i sat with a friend last month and came out with an understanding that this was a landmark event in the world Politics. And in some years to come it was seen that it is certainly going to destabilise this region, mainly the middle east and the southern Europe which could be one of the major factors in contributing towards a full blown major war by the end of this decade. Pandemic was one factor, this is other factor and even other things will develop in a few years time.


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Being a storyteller, and having served organisations like the National Geographic and having been nominated once as the World Press Photo Global Talent in 2020, i am completely aware of what Photojournalists go through while covering a war in war-torn country. It felt like a responsibility to present this essay as a visual anthology of last 20 years starting from that very day when the Soviets were leaving, making way for the US to come over as they filled Pakistani pockets.

These images, and some of them pierced my peace and snatched sleep from my eyes yesternight as i was assembling them to present it.

This is the work of all those Photojournalists who have worked with a certain sense of death looming over their heads all the time and as readers, thinkers, observers, learners, lovers of humanity, love and peace it is our duty to see what war is. What does it do to humans, and woman, Children and above all a country. I really want that this must sleep with each human who looks at this essay today and whenever they do, that this happened and if it happened there, it might happen anywhere. Because some times, and most naturally in the times of war, Images say something that words may not want to touch, and almost they even might never.

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP)
FILE — Kowsar 13, and her sister, Madina, 15, in a tent for internally displaced people in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan, May 3, 2021. They have not been able to continue their education because the Taliban took over their home and banned girls like her from going to school. (Kiana Hayeri/The New York Times)
A U.S. soldier of 2-12 Infantry 4BCT-4ID Task Force Mountain Warrior takes a break during a night mission near Honaker Miracle camp at the Pesh valley of Kunar Province August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (AFGHANISTAN MILITARY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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Last soldier leaving



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Text : Narayan Tushar Kaudinya
Photographs from Known and Unknown sources: Internet.
Research/Thanks to: The Indian Express, Wion, Geopolitic expert Mr. Chellany, Stagecraft and Forbes


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If you have anything to share, or ever feel like saying a hello, do write to me at narayankaudinya@gmail.com

To follow other ethnographical and short excerpts of stories from rural Indian Subcontinent, find me at narxtara and Road to Nara and on Twitter

by

Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

88 Comments

  1. I feel your anger. And your frustration. Take a short break, my friend. Let not the world’s many drudgeries take away from its equally many joys.

    Like

    • Dear Charlie. I wish i or you could suggest the terrorists to take a break ha ha. I am not angry. Not even frustrated. Probably i am just a writer. And it is important for me to take and sometimes share detailed notes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • you are a powerful writer. your words come alive, get a lot of emotion from the readers. and yet you can detach yourself from the high emotion you develop. i wish i had your talent, dear friend!

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        • Charlie, how well and kind of you dear friend to feel this, and to have written it. Had i had any book out, i would have printed your words in capital letters as a review ha ha but see this is just here trying to express my way to feel well within myself.

          I will remember this. Thank you will not be enough but thank you.

          Narayan x

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This documentary is so powerful and disturbing that my hand is shaking while I write this!
    Yet, it is necessary because we know from history that ignorance is certainly not bliss. The photos are assembled with the mastery of the film maker’s eye, and we learn while they unfold the horrors that happened and are happening now. The writer’s prediction of the possibility of a major war, while frightening, cannot be ignored either. His writing in such a powerful way is the right way to nudge us to take action, and we should be grateful to the author that he does so successfully. We can write about the effect of wars in every paper or journal from our individual experiences, and it will be a good start, as wars affected as all.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What happened in Afghanistan is very unfortunate and lamentable. It proves that looking at the so-called Super power to rescue one from the woes, is largely misplaced. India has to diligently prepare herself to protect her own interest rather than looking up to others.
    Being self dependent and self reliant is the buzzword in this turbulent times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Mousami, i imagine today every state is proclaiming and showing off their power in someway or the other. Power being power is used to not hear but drum their beat right on the ears.

      We are probably not just preparing well but are ready to take action if needed or how so i feel about this vibrant, vulnerable time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And yes, we are probably proving to be the best possible of democracy that can exist if governments are tough and responisble.

      Thank you for your words. Lovely to have you here. Thank you again.

      Narayan x

      Like

  4. This is all so sad and bad.
    “Cry the beloved country,” Paton’s title.
    And he wrote, “He begins to see the gaping racial and economic divisions that are threatening to split his country.”
    He was so disturbingly correct with his prognosis for my country.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yes Narayan bro. Thankyou for sharing a wonderfully written post and the work of so many
    photojournalists!. How important this is because it will touch us all. Be safe and well you and yours. Peace and love from Oz.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have great respect for war journalists. I follow the writings of John Wreford here. He is now based in Turkey and writes wrenching stories of the Middle East. I like to read novels based on historical fact. The truth is mankind has not evolved beyond the Roman Empire. We just find different ways to torture and kill each other. We are a fear based species that allows itself to be led by power-hungry people that use leadership for their personal gain. Afghanistan is another of those tragic stories and you are right, I am sure, that the whole area will be de-stabilized. I despair, not for myself but for the young who will be here when I am long gone. They will ask “how did this happen?” Which is why writing like yours is so important. They need to know that not all humans are savages. All my life I have held that word in my mind PEACE. Why is it so elusive? Namaste.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mankind had evolved in seeking all kinds of comfort under his or her butts.

      And well there is a reason why this is happening, it will go on for good as of now. Some countries will rejoice in the short term, but the long term impact of it is going to be huge on Pak, Iran and the middle countries. As i wrote Yeti, what happened is a swtich on for something much bigger few years down the line.

      Like

    • You know this region is where the oldest civilisation breathed, even before the Indus, Saraswati civilisation. Abundant and pure but slowly things changed as the riverbed dried up. Battles, fights started, race, religion became prominent and well this what it is till now largely, Religion trying to dominate the other human.

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    • But Thank you for stopping by after long Yeti. Its always a pleasure to have you, your name. Your review is well spot-on. Questions will be asked.

      My wishes, please eat well. Take care of your health.
      Nara x

      Like

  7. Michael Graeme says

    Such powerful curation of images, Narayn. A terrible tragedy, it’s hard to say any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The photos are grim but they tell the story. I seem to recall that the Russians also failed to “take” Afghanistan and their army retreated with many of the troops not getting paid and going hungry. History repeats itself but not one seems to remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. KK says

    This post of yours have captured almost all aspects of the Afghan issue. Biden is a disaster for US, and may be for the world as a whole. Thank you, Narayan ji for the pictorial presentation of the tragedy that has unfolded on the humanity. A big salute to brave photojournalists. We have seen what happened to Danish Siddiqui. But your prediction appears scary. It will be disastrous, if it comes true. As always, your post is superb. But can you clarify why you have mentioned that the world will never know about the origin of corona. What’s your gut feeling?

    Like

    • Yes, Kaushal Ji. I had known Danish from far. He was a senior and had his image in my mind while making this a quiet tribute to him and many others who lost their lives or some escaped along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • KK says

        So kind of you, Narayan ji for stating this. I didn’t know Danish, but felt pain in my heart.

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    • Kaushal Ji, it is apparent that we have been denied to call it is a Wuhan or a Chinese Virus. No one can claim its origin as Natural or Lab based. And How?

      The Chinese over last decades have been working so hard in making money and giving it away to every narrative building organisation that almost none speaks against them.

      It may have gone out of their hands, as it slowed their own progress and garnered such a bad name that it now feels a work of Karma, but at least for few years down the line, i do not think any Western power can demand or carry an investigation in China.

      But i do see an extremely bad period for them, for the Communist Regime between 2028-2035. To an extent that it could be the only period when Tibet might just come out of their claws.

      Liked by 1 person

      • KK says

        Thank you for explaining the facts in detail. Chinese tricks are quite obvious, but I liked this prediction of yours regarding China and Tibet. I pray let this come true. Thanks again!

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  10. your images are truly visceral my friend. Honestly, I cannot place blame here in anyway. I do feel like the woman soldier with tears streaming down my face.
    The human condition is not comprehensible nor is continuing a battle that can’t be won.
    Peace out my dear friend. Namaste 💖🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest Cindy, so well that by the time you came here to write you remembered Woman soldier’s face. It is truly something to feel her quiet fury, almost taking it all within her, and letting it go with a salute.

      You know even though we see it as many versions of war or violence but it anyhow is inevitable, what happened in AF is completely their making.

      I agree with you but as a human watching over can only surmise that the transformation could have been a bit slow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much Narayan,
        Yes, it is etched in my soul and mind now.

        Totally true on that end.

        I can never judge I know that and I believing in something other than Trumpster to the dumpster makes my heart happy. 💖🙏🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I’m always well in one way or another Narayan, thanks for asking.

        I would love to come but I can’t talk my India friend about the block to visit yet and zi defer to her… she said maybe 3 years… seems looong but what do I know?! 💖

        Like

  11. It makes me angry to realize that my country no longer stands for the spirit of goodness around the world. Your pictures make that very clear.

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    • I apologise that you felt anger dear friend. My intent is not at all to blame anyone anymore, rather this was a heart filled tribute to the people who had been documenting what i would have loved too.

      Liked by 2 people

    • As we know all things have a reason and it is now apparent that Afghani people should take up the responsibility for their own future. We can only support once they start supporting themselves.

      Thank you for writing this Usfman.
      Narayan x

      Like

  12. This president does not represent the majority of people here, many are convinced his election was rigged. We’re all busy with living, but some people do take time to stand up against this. I just don’t think it makes the news coverage often. It’s sickening the families in Afghanistan are experiencing this.

    Like

    • Yes, it seemed like. Not just democrats but world like it was made sure for Trump to not be back at the office.

      And for AF its only getting worse, and it will of course in another year or two. I though hope now that the US becomes stable in its decision making.

      Thanks for writing Daw. Absolute honor to speak with you.

      Narayan x

      Like

  13. Whilst I agree that Joe Biden seemed unprepared for the exit from Afghanistan and that in general he is not thee best prepared with foreign policies, I should say I do believe he did quite well in the circumstances. He was not privy to Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban over the heads of the Afghan Government. He just inherited the agreement. It could, it should have been done better as the heart wrenching photographs show. He does have the support of the majority of American voters hence him sitting in the White House and not Trump (to the benefit of the World) and we can only hope he and his Goverrnment intend to follow a plan to peace in the world. Personally

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello David,

      Yes, but isn’t it strange that a politician who has served in governments, and for decades as a foreign minister, advisor is said to be not the best to take over foreign policies! More so when US’s work is more outside than there is internally. but of course, it had to happen and they could have managed things better for themselves and for the region around. You won’t believe but their image has been dented badly. They did not take their allies into confidence, and we can see this with the new news regarding Submarine that came which fired France up. So yes, something’s happening with the US’s policies and the world is changing faster.

      Peace as they say dear David, will only come after war. Dragon is all set to fire, and it will happen in next five years.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Personally I hope the Afghani’s achieve what they want starting with real stability an none of the cruelty the Taliban are famed for. Keep taking such photographs that tell such a graphic story.
    Huge Hugs

    Like

  15. Thank you for collecting and posting these. Naked truth of the horrors and terrible suffering of war. I will not comment on the politics but I am happy that the American war there has been (ostensibly) finally ended. And thank you for your kind comments on my blog. Paul

    Like

    • You have got a beautiful name for the blog. And felt wonderful to learn about your association with Kashmir Shaivism. I was myself living the last Kashmiri Shaiva master’s family in Srinagar where Ashram still runs.

      Here, i agree with you Paul that somehow, however it may came down to, but at last it came to an end.

      Like

    • it is lovely to have hour kind acquaintance here. I am not aware, at least through your blog if you have come to India, but if ever i will happy to help you and have you here.

      My wishes and strength to you
      Narayan x

      Like

  16. This is a stunning piece. Really like the way you set down a background for the photos to shine through abd tell their own stories.

    Like

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