Adhima Ali Abdul Hilli, 48, arrested and accused of political crimes by Saddam
Hussein’s soldiers in 1985, was imprisoned and, at one point, two hours from death
when a sympathetic officer stayed her execution. Her crime, under the Hussein regime,
was to deliver food to a neighbor whose husband was imprisoned in one of Hussein’s
Ula Majid, center, a first-grader at the Noral Shan Mixed Primary School, plays
a local version of Simon Says with her schoolmates during recess on the school
playground. The school, in a neighborhood of neat single-family homes, was one
of the first to re-open after the U.S.-led coalition invasion. Headmistress Najah
Kamel, in response to post-invasion terrorist bombs and kidnappings, has hired
five armed men to stand guard at the front gates of the school.
BAGHDAD’S BOOK CAFÉ
Riadh Kadhum Ziarach, center, Sadr City representative, meets with local scholar
Amir Nayef Al-Sayegh, right, requesting English-language translation of a 10,000-signature
appeal letter put forth by his district’s constituents, urging U.S.-led coalition
leadership to allow democratic elections inside Sadr City. The missive was never
acknowledged, and the coalition shortly thereafter appointed former associates
of Saddam Hussein to rule Sadr City.
REFUGEE CAMP FAMILY
Bibi Lala, 24, with children Hassan, 6, and Shukara, 2, fled the regional capitol
of Taloqan when the Taliban burned their home to the ground. For more than a year,
the displaced family has been living with 3,000 others in the Dashte Qalat refugee
camp. Without money or means to build a protective structure, the small family
exists on a small plot of dirt with a blanket staked in the ground to protect them
from daily dust storms so severe they can tear skin from one’s body.
REFUGEE CAMP SHEPHERDS
A blinding dust storm scatters animals in an Afghan refugee camp where young shepherds,
displaced from their Taliban-occupied villages, now tend to the community’s diminished
herd. Already stressed by drought, ongoing Taliban occupation and now displacement,
refugee camps are nearing their breaking points. Last night’s donated rice and
oil rations ran out well before the camp got fed. With the Taliban controlling
border crossings, and U.S. bombs falling inland, foreign aid agencies are pulling
up stakes and moving out. As of July 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council
estimated there are approximately 700,000 internally displaced persons in Afghanistan.
Violence has been the major factor in involuntary population movements among Afghans.
A young girl writhes in pain at Taloqan Public Hospital while her mother tries
in vain to comfort her. The girl, officially recorded as “collateral damage” when
entering the hospital, has metal fragments embedded in her stomach and torso, sustained
during a U.S. aerial bomb attack on her village, which was a well-known Taliban
With the glow of an American bomb dropping on the horizon, Northern Alliance soldiers
stand atop Kapahasan Hill, waiting for daylight opportunity to advance on the weakened
position. The 2001 Ramadan Offensive took place in northern Afghanistan with U.S.
bombs targeting Taliban strongholds east to west across the Hindu Kush mountain
range. With every bomb dropped, Afghan ground troops pushed westward battling back
remaining Taliban fighters.
A BRIEF RESPITE
War-weary soldiers, recovering from a fierce three-day battle with Taliban troops,
huddle together for warmth in an underground bunker as winter night blankets the
mountain. Every soldier on the Kapahasan Hill frontline has been wounded two or
more times. Mostly due to longevity. If they survive enemy fire, and landmines,
then most Afghan men of this region have been involved with war since they were
young boys. On this night, they are one, collective imagination held captive by
their leader, Commander Razimio, as he reads aloud to them tales of young love
and loss from a tattered book of ancient Persian poetry.