For what it’s worth, I spent the last five years of my military career (now retired) working for Afghanistan in the communication realm. Over the course of my ten trips there between 2006 and 2011, I felt constantly annoyed, yet challenged, by the relatively superficial portrayal of the country being served to the rest of the world. You would think it was nothing but Taliban and soldiers and bearded lunatics making things blow up at random, cutting off noses and forcing women to wear burqas. In fact this represents a very small minority of the country, and images of the vast majority rarely ever make it out.
It was out of this frustration that I proposed, and then created and administered the “Why Afghanistan Matters” video and photo contests. With the support of my military headquarters, I wanted to challenge those who had seen some of the same things I had seen, to share their imagery with the rest of the world, and in so doing, hopefully slightly broaden the image that comes to mind when we hear the word “Afghanistan.”
I still think of Afghanistan quite often, and I was reminded of it and the video contest when a friend shared the wonderful video below that accomplishes what we were trying to “tease out” – and much more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.