As a photographer for TIME Magazine, Nickelsberg first observed Afghanistan in 1988 when he accompanied a group of mujahideen across the border from Pakistan. Following the Soviet Army’s withdrawal, Nickelsberg documented the country’s descent into a brutal civil war, 1992-1996, resulting in the Taliban takeover of the country in October 1996. Since 2001, he’s continued going back to chronicle what he calls “America’s War.”
Throughout his time in Afghanistan, Nickelsberg has compiled a powerful photographic essay that portrays the country’s historic transformation. Most Afghans never experience first-hand the events he captured, and through these experiences, he gained an unusually deep understanding of this complex country.
This remarkable exhibition of photographs is composed of images that are captioned with places, dates, and Nickelsberg’s own extensive commentary. Timely and importantly, the exhibition and publication serve as a reminder that Afghanistan and the rest of the world remain inextricably linked, no matter how much we long to distance ourselves from its painful realities.
Note: Some of the images – which convey the stark consequences of war, poverty, and oppression in Afghanistan—may be disturbing to some viewers.