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Ben Brody March 12, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Combat Outpost Ahmadkhan in Kandahar, Afghanistan 2013

Ben Brody (b. 1979, United States) is a documentary photographer who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, both as a soldier and as a civilian.  His work in Iraq was published in Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq, by Michael Kamber. His photo story Endgame: Afghanistan was recognized by the Leica Oskar Barnack Awards and Photolucida’s Critical Mass Awards in 2014.  Ben is based in Massachusetts and works primarily for GlobalPost and The Ground Truth Project.

About the Photograph:

“Lieutenant Nasrullah Sharif is a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, and is one of six officers in the entire country trained by the US to use modern bomb-detecting equipment.  I met Nas in 2013 at Kandahar’s Combat Outpost Ahmadkhan, a tiny American base in one of the most intractably violent areas of southern Afghanistan. With the draw down in full swing, US troops were not patrolling regularly from Ahmadkhan – they relied heavily on surveillance blimps like the one in the background, and Afghan forces like Nas to protect their base. Nas had invited me to walk to the nearby village with him for chai, and when I went to meet him, I came upon this scene exactly as you see it here. Nas had donned his bomb suit and laid out his equipment, as well as some Taliban bombs he dug up, and waited for me by the blimp. It was so much of what I wanted to show about the draw down in one frame – the blimps, the blast walls, the lone Afghan guy with his fragile, expensive toys, all to prevent the western retreat from becoming a rout, as the Soviet retreat from Kandahar was. I’ve been covering the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last ten years and endeavor to make images that speak to the fundamental truths about the conflict – the absurdity of a rudderless war, the alienation in the cultural upheaval on both sides, and the bankruptcy of counterinsurgency doctrine as a basis for the continued fight.”