Displaced Faces: A Photo Essay

An Afghan boy at a camp for Internally Displaced People on the outskirts of Kabul.

 

In April 2014, I spent time with Afghans who have come to Kabul in order to escape the fighting in their home provinces. Some have arrived in the last several months, while others have called this Internally Displaced Person's Camp home for years. Few believe they'll be able to return anytime soon. 

- Lucy Kafanov

This mother was forced to flee when fighting erupted in her village three years ago. The family is safe from air strikes here, but she remains haunted by the war. Two of her young sons died when their home was destroyed in a strike. "In my dream, I am running away from the bombs but my babies are still inside the house," she tells me. "When I come back, I find their bodies. I can’t sleep because of it. None of us can sleep well at night.”

This mother was forced to flee when fighting erupted in her village three years ago. The family is safe from air strikes here, but she remains haunted by the war. Two of her young sons died when their home was destroyed in a strike. "In my dream, I am running away from the bombs but my babies are still inside the house," she tells me. "When I come back, I find their bodies. I can’t sleep because of it. None of us can sleep well at night.”

Some families in Afghanistan's IDP camps keep caged pet quails to sell for extra cash. More money can be pocketed by taking bets on quail-fighting bouts.

A group of men play traditional music from Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province. The instrument you see here is called a japoni. The man playing it arrived to this IDP camp in Kabul only three days ago. The Taliban have taken over his village, he said, and it was too dangerous to remain.

Siblings, displaced by war in their native Helmand Province.

A mother and daughter sit inside their bare mud brick home. They were forced to leave all of their possessions behind when fighting erupted in the Sangin District of Helmand Province. With job opportunities scarce in Kabul, their economic situation remains dire.

A young Afghan girl at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons.


A photo of powerful ex-jihadi leader and Afghan presidential candidate Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf hangs on a street corner at an IDP camp on the outskirts of Kabul.

A smile.

A fighting quail sits in its cage on the ground at an IDP camp in Kabul.

A fighting quail sits in its cage on the ground at an IDP camp in Kabul.

Most families fled with just the clothes on their backs. With limited work opportunities, many remain destitute.

A man stands proudly in his courtyard at this IDP camp on the edge of Kabul. In his native Helmand province he had land. Here, just the mud and little else.

A young Afghan girl stares back into my camera.

Aysha Bibi lived through many of Afghanistan's horrors: the Soviet invasion, civil war, and the Taliban. But three years ago she says that an air strike nearly wiped out her entire family. Three generations, under one roof, now gone.

Brothers.

Village elder.

A group of Afghans stand on the street of this camp for internally displaced people.

Mahmoud Jawazi is a musician from Helmand Province who arrived to this IDP camp in Kabul three days ago. "Taliban control our village now," he tells me. "The Taliban use our houses as their military bases and the government has no control in our area. What choice did we have? Either leave or die."

A young girl plays the tambourine on the narrow street of the IDP camp.

An Afghan boy, displaced by war.