photojournalist Beb REYNOL

identity of a nation

Reportage Afghanistan

"I can never forget the delights of Kabul, nor express the depth of my longing to return."
Zahiruddin Mohammed Babar, founder of the Moghul Empire.

Afghanistan Forbidden Faces

Afghan Pashtun.

Forbidden Faces is a documentary in progress which challenges the barrier of war and censorship in southern Afghanistan to approach remote Pashtuns.

Afghanistan Coal Mine

Coal miner, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Forced Destiny

Street boys, Afghanistan.

The Children of Kabul

Kabul is a city of millions and keeps on growing. The overwhelming crowd and the constant traffic congestion can be a little uncomfortable but gives you a sense of normalcy. In the mist of widespread thievery, kidnapping, and banditry, tourist guides are ever-present in all bookstores.

One particular tourist guide caught my attention: The Kabul Guide. Written by a veteran of the UN and published here in Kabul for foreigners in mission, the book-guide assures that Kabul is back on its feet. One place is named to validate the news: The Mustafa Hotel, one of the many places where Afghans are not permitted to enter.

At the hotel, a full bar with karaoke will quench your thirst in a country where Islamic rules and lifestyle differentiate greatly with the needs for foreigners to adapt. There are about two or three thousand foreigners from all over the world in Kabul, working for many NGO's and the UN, and if you stay in the city long enough, you will certainly meet everyone.

Since my last return to Afghanistan, the Mustafa Hotel, which I visited a couple of times, was later bombed. As the sun settles down onto the Afghan capital, the streets are literally deserted. I could hear from my hotel room a pack of wild dogs chewing on one of their kind. There is no curfew imposed in Kabul but the Afghan army seems to have occupied each roundabouts of the city. Meanwhile, my neighbors upstairs are three young Japanese tourists counting among many Asians that seem to thrive all over Kabul. After all, maybe the book guide was right, Kabul is back on its feet.

Beb C. Reynol, Kabul - 2004.