Afghanistan Up Close

Awhile back I blogged about the war in Afghanistan and international law. It’s a very big but useful leap to move from a thorough and scholarly study of the ins and outs of the rules of war or the legality of border crossings to Afghanistan: Alone & Unafraid. This beautiful coffee table book of photographs from the U.S. Marine Corps transports you from the scholar’s study directly to the landscape and people of that starkly beautiful and troubled country. The photographer, Lieutenant Colonel David A Benhoff, is a Marine Corps field historian who used his personal Camera to capture these striking images.

The first part of the book consists of photos shot in the countryside, using both color and black and white images to bring to life the mountains and plains, but above all the faces – faces of bearded men, women in head scarves, and smiling children – lots of children. Whether they smile or not, their direct and open gazes highlight the way in which these people view Colonel Benhoff, the American presence, and the world.

The second part of the book switches to the Afghan National Army, or ANA. Here, the images are more of men in the process of learning the arts of modern Western warfare than of green troops in basic training. As one marine sergeant comments, “These guys have been fighting forever….I’m not gonna teach him how to fight.”

I won’t go on an on about Afghanistan: Alone & Unafraid. The real impact of this finely produced book comes from the images, for which the front cover will have to suffice (see above). You don’t have to be an expert on Afghanistan or its troubles to be impressed by the photos, but their very vividness does bring home the continuing travails of an ancient land and its peoples, caught in the web of current international politics and crises. You can get a copy here  or find it in a library.

6 Responses to Afghanistan Up Close

  1. blogging jobs for moms says:

    nice topic on your website which makes me want to come here often, please keep up the good work, i will bookmark this page and tell all my friends ……thank you

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  2. Duranta Samaddar. says:

    Hellow Anas,
    This is Prince of Middle East,actualy i am IGP of middle east,Y86NUN,AYSSEK,Well for the past 25years there is no developement in Afganistan,Peoples dying,children crying,carrying guns instead of books and a meserable mother giving Dua(bleassings & Prayer to Allah) for the saftey of her child,some raped ,some tortured,blood and screamings.Can anybody do something
    for them please.This is a plea to the International Court of Justice.And i strictly giving comment on post war that is being planned.In 2011 a solar storm is heading towards Earth which will change the overall kinetic energy of the Earth’s Mass,so who owens whose land and who earns lot of money,you will take nothing when you die.So its better you start living in peace with eachother,think how many times we have fired guns,tested messiles and even nuclear weapons,we have poluted our own living atmospher,our home ,our place of living.How will you feel when someone of your own dying in front of you,may be mama,papa,sister,lover,friend,the whole village,and at last no one left alive even who would say that yes he used to live here i know him.Are we humans the best creation of Allah God Particle,then we must feel right ,everybody feels pain,everbody feels happy,but see the people of afganistan feels only pain and no happyness.Sometimes lion if not hungry doesn’t kills,but they dont stop killing you know.If any body from united states or other countries reading this please do something and save life in Afganistan. And sorry that i made you feel borring please don’t mind,I am sorry ………..

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  3. Camera Accessories says:

    Nice post you have here. Afghanistan really need to be helped other than annihilating the Taliban and the Al Qaeda!

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  4. zannias vasilis says:

    I AM NOT AN EXPERT ON AFGHANISTAN , BUT I KNOW VERY WELL THE WAR HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY!ACCORDING TO THE HISTORY , RUSSIAN ARMY , AND THE ARMY OF ENGLAND , WERE DEFEATED ON THE MOUNTAIN OF AFGHANISTAN!THE MARINE SERGEANT SAID THE TRUTH:”THESE GUYS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR EVER…I AM NOT GONNA TEACH HIM TO FIGHT”!FORTHERMORE , “AFGHANISTAN:ALONE & UNAFRAID” IS ACTUALLY A BEAUTIFUL COFFE TABLE BOOK!

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  5. [...] and outs of the rules of war or the legality of border crossings to … Read the original: Afghanistan Up Close « Government Book Talk Share and [...]

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  6. Claudio Alpaca says:

    I think ther book is of utility for understand afgan situation and effort for its freedom.

    Like

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