1976, a journey from Herat to Kabul through the inaccessible interior of Afghanistan. A reconstruction.
The six boys I photographed in front of their school in Shahrak in 1976 will now in 2012 be around forty-five, if they are still alive. During their lifetime, Afghanistan was occupied or at war for some thirty-four years. In 1978 the Russians invaded the country and installed a new regime. They were fought by the Mujaheddin and eventually expelled by them. Then the Taliban took over.
After 9/11, Afghanistan was designated a so-called rogue state where evil had to be eradicated. The US occupied the country and launched Operation Enduring Freedom to track down Osama bin Laden and oust the Taliban.
The image of Afghanistan that the media has since conveyed is so far removed from the impression I had of the country and its people in 1976 that my memory seems to be a fantasy, a mirage.
All the slides and photos I made during the three-month journey by Landrover from Groningen to Kabul were destroyed by a fire in my studio.
Two black and white films survived the fire. These two times thirty-six exposures on 400 ASA film document the journey from Herat through the rugged mountainous region in the interior of Afghanistan to the capital Kabul. Later the Taliban operated from this area.