A Multimedia Presentation of


Enter David Turnley's
Photo Gallery


Introduction by David Turnley

In 1996, I went to Afghanistan to undertake a photo essay about life under the Taliban. There were no commercial flights to Kabul. The airport had been closed for months. In Peshawar, Pakistan, I boarded one of the small planes that the International Red Cross uses to transport medical supplies and personnel into Afghanistan. Arriving at a makeshift landing strip, a jeep was waiting to drive us through the mountains to Kabul, about two hours away.

Strangely enough, I arrived in Kabul on Halloween night. I found shelter in a sports club founded by now-absent Germans. Several other journalists and photojournalists were staying there, too. As we all now know, decades of shelling have left the city in shambles. I found Kabul a truly surreal place. Women, covered by burkhas, peered out from behind a kind of gridded net. Patrols armed with rubber hoses rounded up men on the street for Friday prayer. Weekly public executions of adulterers took place in a city square. The Taliban prohibited the use of television, radios, or cameras.

When walking through the streets, I found that even among Taliban soldiers, my being American was a source of fascination, and I was thus able to move around freely and, with caution, photograph (taking pictures of women was an extremely delicate matter). For the most part, the Afghanis I encountered showed a genuine sense of hospitality toward me.

Video Interview
with David Turnley

Camera: Dirck Halstead

"It was fascinating on all levels..."
"People were unwilling to speak their minds..."
"There seemed to be thousands of orphans..."
"Cut off from the rest of the world..."

Enter David Turnley's Photo Gallery

Write a Letter to the Editor
Join our Mailing List
© The Digital Journalist