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August 28, 2009 Permalink

Ballots, bullets and bombs in Afghanistan

Earlier this year, Afghanistan embarked on its second presidential campaign season, with over forty candidates registering to run for president, and over 3,000 candidates for provincial offices. The election itself took place on August 20th, and the results are still being tallied - but, according to preliminary results, the two front-runners are current president Hamid Karzai and former Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Members of the Taliban boycotted the election process and threatened those who participated with violence. Although security was heavy, nearly 800 polling stations (out of 7,000) were not opened due to feared insecurity - insurgent attacks having spiked in frequency leading up to the 20th. The Afghan government also issued a ban on media coverage of violence during election day, fearing such news would drive down turnout. Find below photos from around Afghanistan during its recent election. (40 + 3 photos total)

An Afghan woman displays her finger marked with indelible ink after casting her vote at a polling station in Kabul on August 20, 2009. Afghans voted to elect a president for just the second time in their war-torn history as a massive security clampdown swung into action to prevent threatened Taliban attacks derailing the ballot. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.


99 comments so far...
1.

so beatiful...

Posted by vicnent August 28, 09 01:05 PM
2.

Photo #32 looks like an art instillation due to its surreal appearance.

Posted by Alex August 28, 09 01:07 PM
3.

LOL #41
that guy loves his job

Posted by prest0 August 28, 09 01:07 PM
4.

Great shots, but the violence is terrible...

Posted by Martyn August 28, 09 01:10 PM
5.

The last three pictures really show the perseverance that war photographers have. Great shots!

Posted by Grant August 28, 09 01:15 PM
6.

Beautiful Girl on Pic 36. I hope her future is bright!
Excellent collection of pictures as always..

Posted by RB August 28, 09 01:16 PM
7.

Amazing collection. Great, great photographers we have in world.

Posted by Antonio Rull August 28, 09 01:18 PM
8.

Oops. I made a typo that should have read: Photo #32 looks like an art installation due to its surreal appearance.

Posted by Alex August 28, 09 01:20 PM
9.

The last 3 are really powerful. Makes my photography job look like vacation.

My hat is off to the men and woman in the field!!

Posted by tim August 28, 09 01:22 PM
10.

#42 & 43
It's good to see the photographers as the subject, I've always wondered how safe/unsafe it is for a photographers to go in regions of the world at war or in difficult situations. Photographers carry very expensive equipment in some of the poorest regions of the world. My admiration goes to all the photographers who takes these risks to show us these amazing pictures .

Posted by Maxime Perron Caissy August 28, 09 01:26 PM
11.

#13 Can't imagine what its like to be 19 years old and wounded in a war.

Posted by D August 28, 09 01:32 PM
12.

#7 is best

Posted by Dempsey August 28, 09 01:33 PM
13.

Amazing country, amazing people and great pictures. no doubt we live in another world.

Posted by german torres August 28, 09 01:44 PM
14.

#13 has so much sadness in it. Very emotional photo.

Posted by Khristopher August 28, 09 01:53 PM
15.

#13 is heartbreaking. Sending our young off to die or get maimed—no matter who they are fighting for—is tragic.

Posted by Robin August 28, 09 02:11 PM
16.

Wow, we really take our right to vote for granted here in the US.

Posted by jeffstrash August 28, 09 02:16 PM
17.

##38 Succinctly captures the phrase "ballot or the bullet"

Posted by CB August 28, 09 02:20 PM
18.

19#, f*ck

Posted by Boris August 28, 09 02:24 PM
19.

#41-#43 Does every photographer in Afghanistan use Canon gear? Nobody uses Nikon out there? Whats up with that?

Posted by Nathan August 28, 09 02:33 PM
20.

Where are the folks who kept waving the banner of Islam being the true religion in the last series of pictures about Ramadan?

The religion of peace indeed.

Posted by CC August 28, 09 02:33 PM
21.

hatz off to the photographers !

Posted by NEIL August 28, 09 02:58 PM
22.

"An Afghan policeman aims his weapon at photojournalists"

If that idiot pointed that gun at me he would be wearing it up his arse!!!

Posted by Ex Soldier UK August 28, 09 03:14 PM
23.

@Comment 20: You really think that such violence has not existed in Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and other cultures both in the present and in the past? Ignorance makes you seem no wiser than these violent people, who do NOT represent their entire religion.

US attacks have killed more civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan than those Iraqis and Afghanis have! So is Christianity automatically a violent religion now? Israeli attacks killed more civilians than the Palestinian attacks, is Judaism a violent religion now?

I'm an Israeli-American, and the actions of those others don't represent me, as much as my actions don't represent them.

On topic: Beautiful photos. I really love the clothing there. Some damn brave photographers too, good on them for bringing us such interesting content.

Posted by Mattan Ingram August 28, 09 03:26 PM
24.

Wow I can't believe Emilio Morenatti lost his foot. I remember his name from the amazing images in the "Scenes from Pakistan" post back in February. I wish him and his family well.

Posted by mieng August 28, 09 03:28 PM
25.

#41: So sad to see Emilio Morenatti was hit by a blast. Sorry to see him loose a foot, but I guess he might be feeling lucky anyways. I have enjoyed his coverage. I look forward to see more of your great work Emilio. Keep it up!

Posted by Henrik Olsen August 28, 09 03:56 PM
26.

Mattan (# 23), stop pulling statistics out of your rear end.

Posted by Otto August 28, 09 04:22 PM
27.

Just stunning, moving. I am so grateful to have seen this collection of images. They have explained to me, more clearly, events that I have read or talked about - but a picture can reveal so much more than words alone. Thank you.

Posted by Nicola Stevens, August 28, 09 04:24 PM
28.

#19: does it matters what brand is it out there? you are more concern about which brand being used other than how the pictures are taken? You do not fit to be a photographer.

Posted by Eugene August 28, 09 04:43 PM
29.

La n°7 est un cliché magnifique ! Réellement superbe.

Posted by Jean-Marie August 28, 09 04:44 PM
30.

So its safe to assume...everyone likes the 5d Mark II...and it doesn't protect you from bullets.

Posted by Drew August 28, 09 06:22 PM
31.

I found #11 very poignant for some reason. I guess it's the unusual juxtaposition of a poor young Afghani child and a well-equipped soldier in a single picture. It seems very cruel to me that more people care more about the latter than the former. A failure of human society that the young and helpless aren't afforded the protection and the environment they deserve.

Posted by expli August 28, 09 07:10 PM
32.

Canon gear generally breaks down less often (at least in my experience) than equivalent Nikon gear. Both are excellent, but a slightly higher MTBF is a big plus in Afghanistan.

Posted by kkonstan August 28, 09 09:03 PM
33.

Paula Bronstein is such a great photographer! Be safe!

Posted by eric August 28, 09 11:02 PM
34.

Good Photographs, you can feel how hard it is to be on their situation. Canon FTW btw.

Posted by monkeysalsa August 29, 09 12:35 AM
35.

#28 is so moving; it perfectly captures the entire moment - boy just walks in to an empty mud room which he calls home, to look upon a knife, which seems completely unused, placed on the smaller opening next to mere scraps of food.

Posted by inshard August 29, 09 01:13 AM
36.

Wow, Shah Marai's image (#7) is amazing. Perfect capture of light.

Posted by Ranjit Arvind August 29, 09 01:59 AM
37.

Some Afghans are so incredibly beautiful. Wow.

Posted by Anonymous August 29, 09 06:02 AM
38.

wow those are such powerful images.

Posted by Marie-Louise August 29, 09 07:51 AM
39.

These are so revealing of what is going on in Afghanistan. Some of these photos are some of the best quality I have ever seen. They are all outstanding but my favorites were 7, 9, 28, and 32. And what is with the unmentioned child in 40? That photo has such amazing contrast. Thank you Big Picture and thank you to the photographers.

Posted by Andrew August 29, 09 11:12 AM
40.

War, war, war,...war. And Peace?

Posted by pierroro August 29, 09 05:11 PM
41.

Great Photographs.
Thank you!

Posted by Brandon Evershed August 29, 09 09:45 PM
42.

#1 beautiful eyes

Posted by Ligurian August 30, 09 01:03 AM
43.

I'm still so confused! I was not raised in any certain culture..... just brought up to believe in what is RIGHT! I have opened my eyes to ALL religions and cultures.. although i use the term loosely! i know you can be ALL about one thing or another i just BELIEVE we all need to choose as adults... when we are able to account for our lives and when we TRULY want what is RIGHT! so read on if you must... i have my own beliefs! I just don't JUDGE other pep for theirs.. and i am open to learn more and make the BEST decision of the way I want to live my life!

Posted by Angela August 30, 09 01:41 AM
44.

#36... incredible
the country in the worn but young hands of the people. The smile, the red scarf, the eyes! how can I get a print of this photo? email me please.

Posted by Andrew August 30, 09 02:34 AM
45.

afghanistan or afghaniwar ?

i guess election was forced, and the result was well-knowed many days before...

just a little show for people...press and nothin' else...

dictators must die !

greetings from Moldova

Posted by BLANARU ADRIAN August 30, 09 02:58 AM
46.

Great selection of pics as usual... True that the 5d mark II seems to be everywhere... I guess it's the new perfect camera for journalists.

Posted by Pierre August 30, 09 07:02 AM
47.

#7 hats of to Jonathon Burch.... for this photo

Posted by satish tumne, india August 30, 09 08:36 AM
48.

After viewing each photo, I hope you stopped and counted your Blessings!!

Posted by H.Garey August 30, 09 11:07 AM
49.

Photo #36 so beautiful and touching. The smile of hope ?

Posted by Jakilune August 30, 09 11:21 AM
50.

#28 really described the term: A image says more than a thousand words.

Posted by Ådne S. Dyrnesli August 30, 09 01:56 PM
51.

#9 sums it all up. Amazing photo.
Boston Globe does it again and again.

Micke Thorsby, Tokyo

Posted by Micke Thorsby August 31, 09 12:01 AM
52.

Amazing photos. Gives a thin idea of afghan through different kind of pictures.
#20 is a classic

Posted by Karthik Udupa August 31, 09 12:30 AM
53.

Maybe After 20 years we would be going to have #36 as the girl to be searched by boston.com, like that natgeo girl from the cover?

#19, Killing cows to feed? What has happened to humans, So thankless and so emotionless ? someone who gives milk to make your tea, coffee or helps kid grow. killing them for their flesh, be more thankful to god, grow wheat, eat vegetables.We hindus consider them very sacred animals and see them as a part of god, though we see god in all the beings on this planet.

#22, I feel bad when rain falls on my bike's helmet? how can he see through all that mud over his face.

Good work Alan!!
Here is a personal invitation, I am getting married in December, you are invited to India.


Posted by Brahmin August 31, 09 02:54 AM
54.

earth future?

Posted by michael August 31, 09 03:40 AM
55.

Emilio Morenatti....what a savage!! Loses a limb and still keeps taking photos while he's in the thick of it! HARDCORE!

Posted by Iria August 31, 09 03:44 AM
56.

Seems a great country, with lovely people, ruined (ruled?) by some criminals.
Shame...

Posted by Bruno August 31, 09 06:01 AM
57.

Great images as usual, only at www.boston.com/bigpictures. Thanks God I have finally found such a beautiful web site because of this new fabulous experience. And this pictures from the votes are gorgeous. Thank you although the situation over there is not very nice. HAVE A GREAT LIGHTING *

Posted by Martin Parkanyi August 31, 09 06:42 AM
58.

War is not the Solution.

Posted by Asutosh August 31, 09 07:31 AM
59.

Not worth the blood of even one American soldier. Bring them home.

Posted by pk August 31, 09 01:17 PM
60.

You are dying we are dying for what? for political games of others

Posted by Afghan August 31, 09 03:11 PM
61.

Shout out to Emilio Morenatti for giving up his foot so we could bear witness to life across the ocean (I'm in Canada)

Posted by Greg Washington August 31, 09 03:48 PM
62.

Who knows that picture nr 32 is a woman? Could be a guy with a bomb-strap.....

Posted by PP NL August 31, 09 06:04 PM
63.

whenever i see journalists going to afghanistan i pray for their safety

Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 07:24 PM
64.

These pix brought pain within my heart and tears to my eyes……….Because, my country still need more time to be recovers …..

Posted by Luna Asim August 31, 09 10:09 PM
65.

I wonder where people who commented about the unity & religion in Ramadan page are & how they can express their views about this page.

Posted by jaggade September 1, 09 01:28 AM
66.

picture 1 beautiful so much

Posted by totd September 1, 09 02:41 AM
67.

Thank the American soldiers for protecting this nation and for protecting the rights of all free Afghanis!

God is great!

Posted by Markus September 1, 09 09:26 AM
68.

Fantastic! Thanks for bringing me the world!

Posted by Ulrika September 1, 09 01:07 PM
69.

Hey, Brahmin, i agree with your comments & understand your feelings. As i understand, its all evolution & Monkeys take their own time to turn humans. Evolution is faster with US forces in Afghanistan.

Posted by jaggade September 1, 09 03:03 PM
70.

wow... #36 she is so beautiful, I remember the afghan girl in national geografic magazine, ago 20 years, I was impressed, and now, again...
The two girls with green eyes and the red scarf.... is fantastic.
But, I am sad for she, because, she live in the war, the discrimination, we need doing something, for she, for the afghan woman, for the afghan people...
PD: excuse me for the bad English, I am Latinamerican...

Posted by dr Jaus September 1, 09 10:53 PM
71.

Ex Soldier UK: You've clearly never been in the military, otherwise the importance of securing an area after an attack would go without saying. Those troops had just killed a bunch of fighters that had attacked a bank with guns and grenades. The photographers do not get to crawl all over that area until the troops are satisfied that it's safe. Photographers who get too pushy are liable to get a rifle barrel pointed in their direction. Big talking tw*ts who try to shove that rifle up the soldier's arse are liable to get shot. That's the way it needs to be in order for the public to be kept safe in those situations which, again, you'd know if you weren't talking out of your arse.

Posted by Matt September 2, 09 03:25 AM
72.

Excelente trabajo!!!

Posted by Pato September 2, 09 12:27 PM
73.

An awesome picture no 13, where Afghan children are playing soccer.

Posted by farhan September 3, 09 06:24 AM
74.

We are such a spoiled and complacent nation. These spectacular images should remind everyone how lucky we are to have escaped such terrible, and unwarranted violence and suffering. These photographs should be on mainstream press and television every night at dinnertime, like those of the Vietnam War were. That's how we ceased the violence then, and could do so now if only people COULD SEE the horrible waste of life war actually is.

Posted by Michelle Discher September 4, 09 01:43 PM
75.

I have been working on something similar when I started watching these pics...Touched my feelings.
Describes what a country looks like after decades of war! Endeavor for peace...We've the painful hearts and tearful eyes...Blood everywhere and change no where... Still struggling for having peace but still humans get killed, rather civil or military. I hope at least after this election peace maintains in Afghanistan. The dream of Afghan people for peace comes true at least once ...

Posted by Rona September 4, 09 09:12 PM
76.

Interesting Photoes and even more interesting photographers. I think the job photographers do in afghanistan is something very Interesting because Afghanistan might be the only place for most of the terrible and shocking phtoes. So they must sacrify for not missing any scene.
@ comment 59. Dodh....! America Planed all these in Afghanistan. We didn't beg them to come. Afghanistan is a place with a very hot subjet for your government. And you should definitely wait until you get a result like Britain or Russia.

Posted by Nazir Ahmad September 5, 09 02:42 AM
77.

I personally thank all those who have expressed their grief for my country and the wounded soldiers and civilians shown in these photos.
But, i believe if people like some of the ones who have posted their comments above continue to exist in this world with totally unrelenting and pretentious ideas, i can surely predict the occurance of so many othere wars like this and the killing of innumber of inoccent people wouldn't cease to continue due to the irresponsiblity of these kind of people who are abundant with predominantly individualistic mentalities.
the one who believes that all these don't worth for one american soldier should be reminded of the fact that american soldiers aren't their to fight for us, they could do it in the past when we were burning in fire due to war and were left with nothing but a ravaged state,... those soldiers are fighting for YOU, in order to safeguard your useless life while u roam around the streets in manhattan. They are fighting your enemies and the fact that they happen to be our enemies also is merely a coincidence,...

and a ravaged state but it dthose

Posted by Kambiz September 5, 09 03:56 AM
78.

those are pictures that speak more than millions of words...i cant stop my tears..really speechless..No more war in the name of God n religion please!!

Posted by widya September 5, 09 08:40 PM
79.

hiya. really afghanistan going 100 yr back...we dnot. want this all..war is not life. killing people for nating..we dnot want .hamid karzai.. we dnot know this man.... we dnot want abdullha. abdullha. and we dnot want talban... go from afghanistan plz ..

Posted by kabir siddique September 9, 09 07:36 AM
80.

God bless them!

Posted by Bruce September 9, 09 12:12 PM
81.

Excellent photography!!

Posted by janderson September 11, 09 03:01 PM
82.

Truly amazing and provocative images. My admiration and thanks to all the brave (or insane?) photographers.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that there is a peaceful civilian population trying to get on with their lives amidst the chaos and carnage, beautifully demonstrated by #11 ( Lewis Whyld does it again!), #20 and #28.

Posted by Liz September 12, 09 04:33 AM
83.

imazing picture,from all walk of life,thanks for the hard work,and itrudusing the afghan pueple.

Posted by h.A September 14, 09 09:25 AM
84.

Picture #26, makes you wonder why people went to vote!!!!

Posted by Christine D. September 16, 09 02:41 PM
85.

Afghanis are a strong and beautiful people.

Posted by bootz September 18, 09 04:24 AM
86.

#36 l'innocence d'une jeune fille.

Posted by nouga September 19, 09 07:24 PM
87.

Excellent images

Posted by steve September 20, 09 01:47 PM
88.

I like all the pics but pics

# 7 shows all the worries over the future

# 36 the young girl with her puppy: all the innocence and happiness to come

# 25 the mosque of Herat... all the splendour of the past of that Afghanistan that we too often read only from history.

All the pictures that i come to see from this website are excellent. The best.

Posted by Yussuf September 20, 09 03:45 PM
89.

casting U vote for chaos ?

Posted by romans September 24, 09 07:09 AM
90.

great

Posted by eric September 24, 09 11:44 AM
91.

impressed me so much!!!

Posted by cristin September 24, 09 01:48 PM
92.

Wow, amazing! Thank you!

Posted by Andrew J. Blair, EIT, MS ETM September 30, 09 08:17 PM
93.

Incredible images. Emilio is from my city. Jerez de la Frontera. I am very proud of him

Posted by Anonymous October 5, 09 11:18 AM
94.

Very nice site!

Posted by Pharmg662 October 9, 09 11:21 PM
95.

I FEEL TERRIBLE AND I FEEL HURT INSIDE MY HEART.
WHY CAN'T THESE AFGANSTANS GET ALONG. I PRAY FOR
THEM TO STOP FIGHTING. THEY SHOULD LEARN THAT LIFE
IS PRECIOUS AND OBEY GODS WORDS.\

BLESS ALL OF HE PEOPLE. HOPE THE BOMBING IT'D
KILLINH CHILDREN, OLD PEOPLE AND MORE.

Posted by Anonymous October 27, 09 03:10 PM
96.

This is just an outstanding collection. The drama and the tension is so real that I just have to say it. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you.

Posted by JMLeon November 30, 09 11:23 AM
97.

Gut wrenching, gritty images of what's really going on over there. Outstanding images, all. I say, "What a waste of our brave young men and women."

Posted by Jan Armor March 15, 10 06:40 AM
98.

The guy in pic 22 looks BAD ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by yo mamma March 23, 10 09:21 PM
99.

I REALLY LIKE THIS PICTURE I AM VERY HAPPY THAT I AM SEEING PICTURES LIKE THIS THIS WILL BE GOOD IF YOU ADD MORE

Posted by ZMARAY March 28, 10 05:38 AM
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