1997 Photo Contest, General News, 3rd prize

James Nachtwey

Magnum Photos for Time

01 January, 1996

Afghan men during a game of buzkashi, brought to the country by Genghis Khan in the 12th/13th century AD. After 4,5 years of civil war in Afghanistan, the fundamentalist Taliban movement conquered Kabul in October 1996. They were hailed as peace-bearing heroes. Immediately after their victory, the Taliban started to impose strict Islamic law on its one million inhabitants, in order to transform Afghanistan in a devout Islamic state. During their first week in power, the Taliban shut girls out of schools and ordered women workers from offices and hospitals. Men were given a month to grow beards, and the depiction of human figures became forbidden. At the first Friday prayer, Taliban soldiers forces passersby into mosques at gunpoint.

About the photographer

James Nachtwey

Photographs of the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement inspired him to become a photographer. While teaching himself photography, he worked as truck driver and as ...

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