This morning I thought I would post about some audio slideshows from the International mission in Afghanistan.
For Canadians, this conflict is our largest since World War Two. For other nations, such as the US and UK, Afghanistan often receives less coverage than the bloodier and (arguably) more tangled mission in Iraq.
Because of that, I’ve decided to highlight three audio slideshows – two from the New York Times and the one from the Guardian – that give a sense of the daily routine of the conflict and its ultimate cost.
The first and most recent, Scenes from a Raid, gives a first-hand experience of the night-time raids that NATO soldiers engage in, in an effort to discover Taliban fighters, weapons caches and mobile phones. The photos (taken at night) are not the highlight of this piece – instead, I was struck by the sound design and how it brings the viewer into the chaos of the experience. This piece was produced by Michael Kamber, James Dao, Amy O’Leary and Jeff Delviscio.
The second piece (credited only to “the Guardian.co.uk”), interviews a British mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan, and gives a sense of the human toll this conflict has taken on the families of NATO soldiers, who are left only with boxes of memories and medals.
The final piece, Kabul in Transition, is by NY Times’ photojournalist Tyler Hicks. It documents the changing face of one Afghan city as a symbol of the addiction, destruction, unemployment and power struggles of the Afghan people since the “fall” of the Taliban. While this piece is a little older (originally carried in 2008), it offers a view of the Afghan mission I’ve seldom found in other audio slideshows – one that shows the on-the-ground experience of the Afghan people by someone who’s seen the changes since the conflict began.
There is little doubt that one of the least-recognized tragedies of war is that it offers compelling narrative for journalists. My hope in posting about these three pieces is not to glorify the NATO mission, but simply to try and highlight the full cost of the conflict as shown through these artful, multimedia pieces.