Skip to main content


7 Questions for Louie Palu

May 24, 2010

We talk to the documentary photographer and VQR contributor about his coverage of the intense warfare in parts of Afghanistan.

8 Questions for Jason Motlagh

May 14, 2010

The VQR contributor talks about "The Bombing at Bala Baluk," from our current issue, and about the effect that errant US airstrikes are having on the support of the Afghan population.

Most Dangerous, Most Unmerciful

On the eve of Afghanistan’s historic election, nothing seemed apt to change. A bombed-out car at sunset in Kabul. (Rafal Gerszak / Aurora Photos)You know how it is.You can’t run off to every bombing even with a presidential election just days awa [...]

The Granai Village Massacre

(Guy Smallman)Efforts to report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan frequently are hampered by the sheer inaccessibility of the places involved, both topographically and culturally. Taliban strongholds are often situated near remote Pashtun villag [...]

Forty year-old Captain Gholam Mojatba, a Tajik from the northern province of Panshir, on patrol in the Depak Valley. Captain Mojatba joined the mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation as a teenager. He has been fighting ever since.

The Path to Yaghestan

Captain Gholam Mojatba draws a cheap Korean cigarette from a plastic pouch on his chest. It’s midmorning, and the sun has finally climbed high enough to burn off the alpine chill. The captain is already halfway through his pack. He strikes an MRE match and takes a long, pensive drag. He hacks and spits like an old engine on a cold morning. Two packs a day and a bullet wound to the lung will do that. When the convulsions subside, Mojatba brings the filter to his lips again. No coughing now. He exhales, casting an exhausted, hangdog gaze over the valley a thousand feet below.

A Canadian Army medic gently closes the eyes of an young Afghan man after he was fatally shot during a battle between the Afghan Army and Taliban insurgents. The medics at this front line hospital worked desperately to save him, but his wounds were too severe.

Total War

It was the peak of the Afghan fighting season, a time in late summer when all the perfect conditions for war come terribly together. The medics stood outside the UMS, like they had all summer long, waiting for the casualties. No one said a word; they knew well the horrors that would be coming.

The Bombing at Bala Baluk

Are errant air strikes and night raids jeopardizing American efforts in Afghanistan? A boy stands outside a bombed-out mosque in Granai. (Guy Smallman)The burn ward at Herat regional hospital is the best public facility of its kind in Afghanistan. It [...]