Afghanistan: We are the ones who remain

Photos by Gueorgui Pinkhassov/Magnum Photos for the ICRC

For over 30 years, the people of Afghanistan have lived in a state of near-constant violence. With almost one million displaced within their own country and countless others on the move, no segment of society is left untouched.

In January, Magnum photographer Gueorgui Pinkhassov joined us in Afghanistan to go behind the headlines, capturing the everyday life of those whom violence has left behind.

Below are some of their stories.

When a father goes missing

Niamatullah Rasikh was working with a de-mining organization when he was kidnapped and held in captivity for 40 days. He escaped, but the experience had a traumatic impact on his life. He left the country without telling his wife and didn't contact her until he arrived in Iran, when he told her he planned to travel to Europe.

Niamatullah kept in touch with his wife until the day he phoned from Turkey to say he had been robbed.

That was in October 2015. They haven’t heard from him since.

Far from home

The families living in this camp for displaced persons in Kabul were driven from their homes by armed conflict about eight years ago. They had to leave everything behind when they fled.

Conflict continues in their province and in many other areas of southern Afghanistan.

No normal

Khalilullah has sent his 14-year-old son Ahmad Faysal to Europe.

He has three daughters and two sons, and supports his family by working at a physical rehabilitation centre in Kabul. “I have never tasted the meaning of normal life in this country,” he said.

“There is no stability or prosperity. Ever since I was born, there has been endless conflict. I wouldn’t want my son to live as I have had to.”

Twelve mouths, one income

Haji Ahmad Shah, 60, lost his leg to a landmine during the civil war.

He lives in Kabul, in a house on top of a hill, which he says is very difficult for someone in his situation. But that’s not his only challenge. He has five sons and seven daughters, and most of them are still being educated.

“It’s hard to support this big family with only one or two people working. I’m having to support my family almost on my own, as all my children are studying.”

No country for young men

Abdul Malook currently works as a gardener. He lost his leg to a landmine during Afghanistan’s civil war.

He sent his son to Europe but lives with the rest of his family in Kabul.

“I have been suffering from this prolonged conflict,” he said. “There is no future in this country for the young generation.”