Steve McCurry has been in Afghanistan numerous times in his 40 years long career. Taschen has published his book about the Rebel Land, as the same Afghan people call themselves.
His first journey in Afghanistan was not easy: in 1979, McCurry cross the border with Pakistan together with a group of afghan guerrilla fighters, wearing mujahiddin clothes. He found the occasion to go to Afghanistan right when he arrived in Pakistan, at Chitral, after a long journey in India. McCurry discovered about tensions in the country, between the pro-soviet government and the mujahiddin resistance. People who met asked him to enter and witness first with his photographs the conflict.
Among the first images of these wars, there are the black and white ones, saved from the perquisitions at the Afghan check points, only to have them sewed up into his robes. Published on all the international newspapers and on New York Times in December 1979, they brought to light the conflict, but also the technique and the style of this American photographer, then unknown.
McCurry and Afghanistan: the encounter with Sharbat Gula
But Afghanistan had not end surprises for McCurry yet. The war with USSR forced the afghan people to flee towards Pakistan. In the very refugee camp of Nasir Bagh, at Peshawar, McCurry entered in a class of girls, while the teacher was having the lesson, and shot his most famous photograph. The gaze of Sharbat Gula hit the world from the cover of National Geographic.
From then now, Steve McCurry has come back in Afghanistan to witness not only the conflicts and injustices, but also his breath taking landscapes, the different ethnic groups and the persistance of this people.
You can find the book in all the libraries or you can order it from Tashen website.