Before November 2001, when the Taliban regime was forced to flee Kabul by US-backed fighters, it was impossible to find anyone with a video camera in Kabul.

The Taliban were brutally opposed to people having a television or a video recorder, while owning a camera was an even bigger act of ‘immorality’. A few cameramen were said to be living in the Mikrorayon area in the city, a Soviet-built complex of apartments where Kabul’s political elite resided before 1992. But it was probably easier to buy a Kalashnikov than to source a video camera to film a family wedding.

Between 1992-96, the urban areas of Afghanistan suffered immensely from the destruction unleashed by the civil war. Paradoxically, under Taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001, street fighting among Mujahideen militias halted as the frontline shifted to other parts of the country which were not under Taliban control.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.