A Photo Essay of Life in Kabul Ten Years after the International Intervention

Ed note. UN Dispatch’s own Una Moore has been in Afghanistan for the better part of two years. I asked her to share some of her thoughts on life and living in Kabul to mark the ten year anniversary of international intervention in Afghanistan.  This is part one of a two part photo series. — Mark

Afghanistan’s young people face a no less uncertain future in 2011 than they did a decade earlier.

 A young man and his nephew play with a toy gun used a theatre prop.

Afghans escape the stresses of poverty and conflict through traditional and universal forms of recreation.

A young horseman waits for a game of buzkashi to begin in Panjshir province north of Kabul.
Afghans escape poverty and violence through traditional forms of recreation. Here, families enjoy an evening on the lakeshore.
Afghan women and children enjoy an evening on the shores of Qargha, a lake near Kabul.
Although many parts of Afghanistan remain deeply conservative, young Afghans have become voracious entertainment media consumers. Indian and American films and Turkish soap operas are especially popular.

A nascent youth culture is taking hold in Afghanistan’s major cities and towns.

 A female high school student (left) in Bamiyan City plays the part of a warlord in a play about land disputes.
A nascent youth culture is taking hold in Afghanistan's major cities and towns. Here, young men in Kabul rock out to a local heavy metal band at an underground venue.
Young men in Kabul rock out to a local heavy metal band at an underground venue during Afghanistan’s first regional rock festival in September 2011.
A nascent youth culture is taking hold in Afghanistan’s major cities and towns. Here, young women in Kabul demonstrate against sexual harassment.

A decade after the ouster of the Taliban government, Afghan women play active roles in civil society and politics, making their voices heard on issues ranging from security to rural development.

A female parliamentary candidate’s poster is displayed at a highway rest stop near the Salang Pass in Parwan province.

Few children attended school in 2001. Today, millions of boys and girls pack into overcrowded classrooms and many schools are forced to operate in shifts to meet the demand for education. In the south, most girls still go uneducated because of insecurity and discrimination.

Primary school students walk to school in Kabul.

Kabul was reduced to rubble during factional battles in the 1990s. Today, gaudy affluance and grinding poverty compete for space in the city.

Ostentatious mansions constructed by political heavy-hitters are regarded as eyesores and symbols of corruption by many Kabul residents.
New mansions are changing the landscape of Taimani, a middle class neighborhood in central Kabul.
High school students walk home along an unpaved road with an open sewer drain in a poor neighborhood in western Kabul.

Tens of thousands of children work on the streets of Afghanistan’s cities, in family businesses and in agriculture.

A young girl begs in a Herat mosque.
A young boy works with his father at a roadside tire shop in Parwan.

Ordinary Afghans and international experts alike worry that the Afghan police and army will be unprepared to take over from international forces by the end of 2014.

An Afghan policeman in Bamiyan province.