In August, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan threatened to take away the freedoms that people had been working tirelessly to earn. Women’s rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech are especially at risk under Taliban rule, and the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) decided that they could not stand by as their colleagues suffer.
The NWMI established contact with female journalists in Afghanistan so that they could find out how they could best support their peers and help them continue their work during this time of fear and uncertainty. Their most urgent need? Funds.
To address this, the NWMI collaborated with the Associated Press (AP) to launch a print sale of a selection of images that have been donated by the AP. The photographs included in the collection highlight poignant moments of daily life in Afghanistan over the last 20 years and have been captured by some of AP’s most valiant and talented visual journalists.
Photographer Richard Vogel contributes a striking image taken in 2003 of two Afghan boys walking behind a tank.
“The photo of the children walking arm-in-arm behind a tank was taken right after the opening of a rural school in Afghanistan,” Vogel explains. “It was a very optimistic time and a privilege to be able to document life in Afghanistan at that time. People were incredibly optimistic. You would find people dancing in the streets.”
Suzanne Plunkett’s photograph of two girls playing on a swing against the striking backdrop of snow-capped mountains brings to attention the hope of the people and the natural wonder of Afghani landscapes.
“Afghanistan is such a beautiful country and at the time I visited was so full of hope,” she says. “I tried to show this in the subjects that I photographed, rather than the photos of war that had been so abundant previously.”
All the proceeds from the purchase of these prints go directly towards helping female journalists in Afghanistan survive, including finding safe housing, rebuilding small media start-ups, helping them settle in new countries, or finding methods to continue sharing their stories.
Image source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel