"I know nothing about peace. Since I have been aware of who I am there has been fighting. We can show people in our pictures that war is very bad because we lost our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, hands, legs, arms, heads - everything. Peace is the most important thing.” 

Sakina, 14 years

Shooting Kabul took place towards the end of 2002 when Afghanistan was just emerging from Taliban rule.  At that time there were over 37, 000 children working and begging on the streets of Kabul, almost a quarter of them young girls. Many of these children were the primary breadwinners for families stripped of their homes, jobs or health over decades of fighting.

I co-managed the project and faciliated the workshops which involved 14 girls aged between 10 -14 years who took to the streets of Kabul, not to scavenge and hawk but armed with automatic cameras.  Through their images they talked about their views on peace and reconstruction, women and working children’s rights and education.  Their work was first exhibited in Kabul and went on to show in other parts of the world, in the US, UK and Europe.

 Shooting Kabul was a PhotoVoice project run in partnership with Aschiana and funded on voluntary donations.

A photo booklet from the project can be downloaded here.

‘What I learnt from perhaps my most well-known photo 'Afghan girl' is that people are increasingly interested in the context of images, of the life behind the face as it were. I went in search of Sharbat Gula again because so many people asked me who she was, what she did and whether she survived. After seeing the work from the 'Bibin' project in Afghanistan I realised the images and writing from PhotoVoice projects intrinsically provide this intimacy and understanding. Through PhotoVoice projects people like Sharbat Gula are given the vital opportunity to tell their stories for themselves.’

Steve McCurry, National Geographic and Magnum photographer