There is probably no other country as often in the news as Afghanistan. Yet we know extraordinarily little about what is actually happening in places like Kunduz, Jalalabad and Kandahar. And it is usually foreigners who explain the country to us. Journalists, soldiers, aid workers, politicians. The voices of Afghans are rarely heard.
How do they judge the advances and setbacks of the last nine years? How do they experience the presence of troops from 42 countries? What is day-to-day life like in a country, where there is no rule of law, and where war is destroying all plans for a future? We wanted to know the answers to these questions, so we brought together a team of 15 Afghan journalists, photographers and film-makers from all over the country. They are Afghanistan Today.
Afghan journalists work under extremely difficult circumstances. Some get hate-mail left outside their homes during the night, or are threatened on the phone by self-proclaimed Taliban members. They stand between the two sides, harangued by the Afghan government and sometimes by international troops, who want to make their point of view heard. But it is usually much more mundane things that make journalists’ lives so difficult. They despair about the Afghan internet, which is so slow that it can drive them mad. They complain about the ramshackle infrastructure, which can make doing research in the neighbouring village a trip lasting several hours.
Afghanistan Today is a training project. The journalists, photographers and film-makers taking part are mentored and advised by experienced German, British and Afghan colleagues. We are convinced that one can learn more through practical experience than by sitting in a classroom. And with the publication of their work, the project should also facilitate dialogue between Afghan and European journalists.
Afghanistan Today is financed by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and produced by MICT (Media in Cooperation and Transition). The reporting is unrestricted and independent.
In Afghanistan, the project is supported by the German-Afghan NGO, Mediothek.