‘No More Hope’: The Work of a Photojournalist Killed in Kabul


KABUL, Afghanistan — Through the dark days of the 1990s civil war and the Taliban’s oppressive rule, the Afghan photographer Shah Marai never left his country. As the bloodshed continued after the 2001 American-led invasion, he repeatedly expressed a feeling shared by so many Afghans caught in the devastating cycle: “There is no more hope.”

Yet through it all, Mr. Marai, 41, continued to bear witness, focusing his camera on the profound human suffering that has become so routine, so forgotten.

On Monday, he was among the couple of dozen journalists in Kabul who had rushed to the site of yet another bombing, when a second attacker detonated his explosives amid the reporters and first responders. Altogether 25 people were killed, nine of them journalists.

The Afghan war has dragged on for so long that it has redefined seasons and reshaped conventional battle norms. Spring, everywhere else associated with the blooming of flowers, is seen here as a time when deaths pile up. No one — aid workers, police officers, shopkeepers, doctors — is spared. While wars usually have a front line, here the whole country has turned into one giant front line, the guarded capital of Kabul suffering the highest number of casualties year after year.

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