For years the US has been saying that a strong and independent Afghan National Army (ANA) is the key to any exit stratedgy for the coalition. But the ANA has been plagued with problems, and it is very doubtful if it can indeed remain a cohesive and functioning army after it loses the support of theNATO/ISAF assistance mission. While the Afghan soldiers' bravery is not in question, their almost total lack of raillery, air support, Medevac, intelligence gathering, logistics, maintenance, and many other areas are cause for grave concern. But President Obama has said the timetable for US withdrawal is "irreversible." And so, ready or not, the Afghan army marches inexorably to war.
I shot these photographs at a tiny outpost called Checkpoint 2.5 while making a film, The Winter War, for Al Jazeera English in Kunar in Nov/Dec 2011. The footage from this bunker didn't make it into the film, but this audio slideshow, or photofilm, gives a sense of what it is like for the US soldiers of 2/27 Infantry to live in such a remote and vulnerable posting.
This is a set of photographs that was shot on an iPhone in the Arghandab Valley, Kandahar, Afghanistan in April and May 2011. The US soldiers I was embedded with, 1 Platoon, Delta Company, 1-66 Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, received information that the Taliban were planning a large scale offensive, including several simultaneous attacks on outlying outposts. Their base, Combat Outpost TJ, was a prime target, and so the soldiers redoubled their efforts to improve their defences. There followed 3 frantic days of building new walls, hammering posts, and laying barbed and razor wire. The offensive, however, never materialised.
This is a set of photographs that was shot on an iPhone in Kandahar City and the surrounding pomegranate orchards in April and May 2011. The US soldiers I was embedded with, 2nd Platoon, Lightening Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, had spent the winter months searching the orchards for Taliban fighters and their hidden weapons and explosives. When I joined them they were still waiting for the "Spring Offensive" to begin.
When protests started in Bahrain on Feb 14, and the subsequent violence and killing of demonstrators by the police and army, journalists rushed to the island kingdom. But soon they were being detained at the airport, and their professional filming and photographic equipment was being seized. So when I travelled in, I brought the smallest kit I could.
Working in Pearl Roundabout, also known as Lulu Roundabout, was difficult, as everyone had a story and they were desperate for the international community to hear them, to help them. I was filming a documentary on a small camcorder, but even that drew a lot of attention.
But with an unobtrusive Canon G12 compact, I shot these photographs and recorded the audio, barely noticed by people.
With the protests now broken up, and the camp and Pearl monument itself destroyed on the King's orders, these images are a record of a brief and bloody episode in Bahrain's history.