Since the 1970s, military conflict has devastated much of Afghanistan. Yet, even the most well-read and traveled of us often forget that during years of warfare, life goes on. Here are 12 images of Afghanistan which show a different side of the country than what is perpetuated by mass media.

1

White pigeons

The famed white pigeons at the Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, are fed by a visiting pilgrim.
Photo: Ric Ergenbright

2

Skaters

Photo: Skateistan

3

Sarhad e Boghil, Wakhan Corridor, Badahkshan

Photo: Jason P Howe

4

Afghan girls

Photo: Emilio Morenatti

5

Street children play outside the Karte Sakhi mosque.

Photo: Souvid Datta

6

Another Afghanistan

Photo: Varial Wakhan

7

Ikhbal

"Ikhbal is getting her hair done. She is probably 16, although no one really keeps track of birth dates here. Soon, she will wear the white veil identifying her as a married woman and move to her husband's settlement, a couple of days away on horse back. Her aunt holds her hand. The emotion of soon leaving the family nest and the anxiety of moving in with her future husband (she has met him before) brings Ikhbal to tears. Head down, she cries. This was probably one of the most emotional moment I witnessed during my many trips to Afghanistan's Pamir."
Photo: Matthieu Paley

8

Nimroz province, southern Afghanistan

Photo: Marko Djurica

9

Horseback

Horseback riding, Lake Qargha, Kabul.
Photo: Unknwon

10

Farmer

A farmer crossing his field, his shovel and rifle at hand. South of Kabul, Sarobi province, near the village of Botkhak.
Photo: Reza Photojournalist

11

Band-e-Amir

Photo: Alex Treadway

12

Afghan Kyrgyz

"Afghanistan's Pamir mountains, the family of the Khan - the tribal chief - move to their summer camp. I was very lucky to see this - Afghan Kyrgyz are semi-nomadic, usually living in 4 seasonal camps over the whole year."
Photo: Matthieu Paley

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