Afghanistan

August 2009
A journey into the heart of Afghanistan.
Women  Women near Babur's tomb, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Tomb of Babur  Part of the building complex near Babur's tomb in Babur's Gardens, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Female Statue  Female deity figure of the parun Kafirs in central Nuristan. Kabul Museum, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Jewellery  Jewellery in Kabul Museum, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Jewellery  Jewellery in Kabul Museum, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. British Cemetery  Rahimullah has been maintaining the "British Cemetery" in Kabul, Afghanistan since the 1980s. He receives a small stipend from the British Embassy. Now called the European Cemetery with graves of various nationalities from the NATO-led ISAF force. Photo taken in August 2009. Burkas  Women in burkas, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Carpet Seller  Carpet seller near Chicken Street, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Brushes  Popular brushes, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Water Pump  Water pump in Chicken Street, Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Shop Keeper  Shop keeper at Doshakh just north of the Salang Pass, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Lonely roads  Somewhere in northern Afghnistan between Salang Pass and Mazer-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Buddhist monastery caves  Part of the 4th and 5th century A.D. Buddhist monastery caves of Takht-i-Rustam near Samangan (Aybak), Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Buddhist stupa  The unique 4th and 5th century A.D. Buddhist stupa (cut into the rock) near Samangan (Aybak), Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. No Gombad Patterns  Intricate patterns at the ruins of the No Gombad Mosque, Balkh, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Chowkider  A chowkider (caretaker) at the ruins of the No Gombad Mosque, Balkh, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Balkh City Walls  Kulvinder Singh Matharu at the Bala Hissar & City Walls, Balkh, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Hazrat Ali Shrine  Part of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, Mazer-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Burkas  Women in burkas outside the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, Mazer-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Girl  Young girl outside the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, Mazer-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Kids and tank  Kids and tank near Bagh-e Jahannameh Palace, northern Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Tank  A tank near Bagh-e Jahannameh Palace, northern Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Man at Dowshi  In Dowshi, north of the Salang Pass, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Moon and Landscape  Moon over the landscape between Dowshi and Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken on 8th August 2009.
Matharu on the road  Kulvinder Singh Matharu on the road between Dowshi and Bamiyan. Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Yurts  Yurts - our accommodation in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Gets cold and windy here at night! Photo taken in August 2009. Caves at Bamiyan  Some of the many cave complexes in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Road Workers  Road workers in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Citadel of Shar-e Gholghola  Citadel of Shar-e Gholghola, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Boy on Donkey  Boy on donkey in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Kids with bicycle  Kids with bicycle on the path to Shar-e Gholghola in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Dust Devil  Part of the Shar-e Gholghola with a dust devil in the distance, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Matharu at Bamiyan  Kulvinder Singh Matharu next to the remains of an old gun placement in Shar-e Gholghola, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The niche for the Large Buddha is in the background across the valley. This niche is all that is left after the Taliban infamously destroyed the Large Buddha. Photo taken in August 2009. Bamiyan Giant Buddha  The niche for the Large Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. This niche is all that is left after the Taliban infamously destroyed the Large Buddha. Photo taken in August 2009. Cook  A cook at a chaikhana barbequing some kebabs, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. ATC  A member of the ATC (Afghan Technical Consultants) helping with demining at Shar-e Zohak (The Red City), Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Matharu at Red City  Kulvinder Singh Matharu at Shar-e Zohak (The Red City), Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Police Consultant  A police consultant helping with the training of the Afghan police at Shar-e Zohak (The Red City), Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Child  A small child in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Kids in Bamiyan  Kids in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Armoured Vehicle  Armoured vehicle in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Tank  A tank in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Tank  A tank in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Matharu at chaikhana  At a chaikhana somewhere between Bamiyan and Band-e Amir, Afghanistan. A cold, desolate place. Wouldn't want to be here during the winter! Photo taken in August 2009.
Man  At a chaikhana somewhere between Bamiyan and Band-e Amir, Afghanistan. A cold, desolate place. Wouldn't want to be here during the winter! Photo taken in August 2009. Man  Somewhere between Bamiyan and Band-e Amir, Afghanistan. A cold, desolate place. Wouldn't want to be here during the winter! Photo taken in August 2009. Kids running  Kids running towards us near Band-e Amir, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Band-e Amir lakes  Band-e Amir lakes, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Cave at Band-e Amir lakes  A cave-formation and outcrop next to the Band-e Amir lakes, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Band-e Amir lakes  Band-e Amir lakes, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Camels  Camels somewhere between Band-e Amir and Chaghcheran, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Sheep  Sheep near Chaghcheran, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Sheep  Sheep near Chaghcheran, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Shopkeeper  Shopkeeper in Chaghcheran, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Minaret of Jam  Minaret of Jam, Afghanistan. Yes, it really is leaning! Photo taken in August 2009. This is a quote from the Lonely Planet “Afghanistan” Travel Guide, 1st Edition, published 2007, and is what really got me interested in going to Afghanistan...  Crossing the centre of the country along the spine of the Hindu Kush is one of the most remote and adventurous journeys it's possible to do in Afghanistan, but one that rewards travellers with a continuous parade of stunning mountain scenery. Travelling from Bamiyan, the route travels through the Hazarajat over a series of high mountain passes to the heart of the medieval Ghorid empire. This is a land of tiny villages, marginal agriculture, and nomad caravans with their camels and yurts. At its centre lies the fabled Minaret of Jam, hidden from foreign eyes for centuries, and even now is accessible to only the hardiest travellers. Lorry  Somewhere between Kamenj and Chisht-e Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Treshing  Farmers threshing wheat using traditional methods. Somewhere between Kamenj and Chisht-e Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Gumbads at Chist-e Sharif  One of the two gumbads or domes in Chist-e Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Armed Guards  Our very own armed guards for our convey from Obey to Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Armed Guard  One of the armed police guards for our convey from Obey to Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Gaurd  One of the armed police guards for our convey from Obey to Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Friday Mosque Patterns  Part of the Friday Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Herat Citadel  The Citadel in Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Citadel of Herat  Inside the citadel of Herat, Afghanistan. Photos taken in 2009.
Beans  Beans and other spices in the Old City area of Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Mausoleum of Gowhar Shad  Mausoleum of Gowhar Shad in the Musalla Complex, Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Family at Gazargah  The family who befriended us and shared their picnic with us at the shrine of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari in Gazargah near Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Cistern  The renovated insides of one of the famous cisterns in the Old City, Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Covered Bazaar  Newly renovated covered bazaar in the Old City of Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Covered Bazaar  A covered bazaar in the Old City of Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Bazaar Walkway  Above (!) a covered bazaar in the Old City of Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Herat Citadel  Part of the Citadel in Herat, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.
Holy man at Karukh  A holy man at the shrine of Hazrat Alla Berdi in Karukh (35km from Herat), Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Note that Nancy Hatch Dupree's second edition of "An Historical Guide To Afghanistan" states a distance of 50km from Herat but the road-signs that I saw listed the distance as 35km. Women and Children  Women and children at the shrine of Hazrat Alla Berdi in Karukh (35km from Herat), Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Mullah  The mullah and his nephew at the shrine of Hazrat Alla Berdi in Karukh (35km from Herat), Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Carpet Sellers  Carpet sellers in Herat, Afghanistan. I've just bought the carpet that they're tying up. Photo taken in August 2009.
Wrecked Armoured Vehicle  Wreckage of a Soviet armoured vehicle near Ahmad Shah Massoud's tomb in Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Pottery Seller  A pottery seller in Istalif, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009. Decorated Boxes  Some decorated boxes bought in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo taken in August 2009.