Afghanistan, art of resistance

Time Travel Booth: Afghanistan by Paolo Woods.


All of the following photos were taken by the great photographer Paolo Woods, during his visit to Afganistan in 2002. Unlike many Time Travel Booths, this one is not about how much has changed, but rather how much remains the same.


The UN has sent back to his village Shamsuddine and his family from the refugee camp in Mazlak where they had sought protection from the war and the drought. They were given one sac of wheat to eat and one to sow. It is not the sowing season so after the first sac was finished, they ate the second. Now they eat wild grasses.


Qablei Rahmani is a Mirab, a master of water. This is the first year the rain is back after a long drought. His work is to distribute the water of the Murghab river to the 1270 small landowners that live in the area. The Murghab river flows down from the Hindu Kush all the way to Turkmenistan.


Since the Taliban have been defeated the UN has decided that all the children have to attend school. But in most villages there are no schools left. Here in Arab Arzai 400 kids learn sitting on the grass. But not only the facilities are missing, there are no teachers left. The students that know how to read try to teach the ones that don’t. 


On TV hill, one of the hills overlooking Kabul, a boy swings from the dangling electric wires of a pylon destroyed by the war.


Hundreds of Hazara’s have been burried in this vast unmarked cemetery. They are the victims of the civil war (1992-1996).


In 1979 the Russians built an Olympic swimming pool on one of the hills overlooking Kabul. The swimming pool has been completed just months before the invasion of the country. It has never been filled with water and it has never been used. The kids of Kabul come here, hang out and play with kites.

/all photos © Paolo Woods/

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For more on Woods and his photography, visit his official website.

Previous Time Travel Booths:

Middle East by Inge Morath

70’s and 80’s Sudan by Abbas Habiballa

Palestine, First Intifada

20th Century Syria