In the 1960s, Kabul was the Paris of the Middle East, refined and sophisticated. But years of war between the Soviets and the Mujahadeen destroyed that culture. War, insurrections, coups, and bloody battles led to the rise of the Taliban and f undamental Islam rule. In 2010, I spent 72 hours in Kabul, documenting a country in transition, a country that had been mired in turmoil for so long that any remnants of that cosmopolitan city were bombed, shelled, and burned down.
I met women who had once been doctors, teachers, and business owners who were then forced by threat of incarceration, violence, or death, to wear burkas and stay home unless accompanied by a man. I saw soldiers standing in the street, holding gun s ,hoping that would keep the peace. I realized that I was in a country where an entire generation knows nothing but crisis. Mostly, I saw a country at war with itself—wondering how to wake from the slumber of repression and oppression to be a place where culture and ideas yet again thrive and where the Taliban or another extremist group does not rule.