Simon Norfolk

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The crew and ground staff of the new independent operator, 'Safi Airways.

A dumping ground for an abandoned Russian-era bomber that has now been incorporated into the car park of 'Shamshad TV,' a new media company supported heavily by American money.

The future leadership of the Afghan Air Force with Maj. Jason A. Church of the US Marines who is training and funding them.

A newly established Afghan National Army camp, close to the massive NATO base at Kandahar Air Field.

There are 16,000 US Marines aboard Camp Leatherneck spread over 1,600 acres. Empty shipping containers are used as storage, wind breaks or blast walls. In May 2010 a mysterious fire, that may have been sabotage, destroyed 9 acres of containers. It burned so furiously fire fighters even lost two of their fire engines.

Afghan Police being trained by US Marines, Camp Leatherneck.

Jaw Aka Faizal Nahman and his daughter Nono from Bamiyan province, now living in an improvised plastic shelter in the ruined gardens of Darulaman Palace. Built in the 1920s to house an Afghan parliament, 'Darul Aman' translates as 'abode of peace.'

Internet Cafe, Herat.

The Afghan Women's National Basketball squad.

Yards supplying construction materials in the Nawabadi Guzargah district of Kabul, overlooked by American-controlled electronic eavesdropping equipment on the summit of Kohe Asmai.

'Radio TV Mountain' in the centre of Kabul seen from where the Kabul River cuts through the mountains creating the Deh Mazang gorge. In the First Anglo-Afghan War it was the site of a crucial skirmish and hasty retreat by badly outnumbered British cavalry who had blundered into the midst of a massive Afghan army.

A de-mining team from the Mine Detection Centre in Kabul with a member of the German Police who is mentoring them.

Pakistani 'jingle trucks' end their long journey up from Karachi at the gates of Kandahar Air Field where they wait to be scanned, X-rayed and searched. Only people, ammunition and emergency requirements come by aircraft. Warlord-owned security companies protecting convoys can charge $15,000 per truck, but a large part of the fee is paid to Taliban protection rackets.

Afghan police trainees being taken to the firing ranges by US Marines, Camp Leatherneck, Helmand.

Some of the Media Operations team including a Combat Camera unit, Camp
Bastion, Helmand.

The entrance to a small, western-backed NGO.

Preparations for a sexy dancing and comedy show organised by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation unit at Camp Leatherneck.

Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador Sir William Charters Patey KCMG; his private secretaries and his Nepalese mercenary security guards.

A watchtower guarding a street of foreign embassies in central Kabul. For the British army these improvised fortifications are called 'sangars,' although the term is Dari for 'barricade' and is one of the few words the British brought home from the Anglo-Afghan Wars.

Some of the nonsensical property development taking place in Kabul. This district of the city, Karte Char Chateh, is remembered by Kabulis as that part of the Bazaar which was burned by the British in 1842 as collective punishment for the killing of the British Envoy. The fires still burned when the British retreated two days later.

Refugees from fighting between NATO and the Taliban in Nangarhar province, close to the Pakistan border.

Strongly pro-Taliban refugees. For the photograph, they chose to cover their faces.

On the very northern edge of Kabul. A shipping container is re-purposed as home to men working in a yard casting concrete blast walls. Each section, when sold to a foreign embassies or the military, fetches $1000 per piece.

An entrepreneur creates a roadside tea stall at the busy Saraj-e Shomali traffic junction. Above him are adverts for banks; a 'win a free car' offer from a mobile phone company and the grave of a shahid or martyr.

A security guard's booth at the newly restored Ikhtiaruddin citadel, Herat.

Ferris wheel on wasteland in the Mikrorayon housing complex built during the Soviet era.

Young women in the indoor skatepark of the NGO 'Skateistan,' set up by American volunteers to help young Afghans improve their skateboarding and indoor rock-climbing skills.

Kabul 'Pizza Express' Restaurant behind the Municipal Bus depot.

Entrance to the vast City Star Hall complex of wedding halls, on the new bypass out near Kabul Airport.


In October 2010, Simon Norfolk began a series of new photographs in Afghanistan, which takes its cue from the work of nineteenth-century British photographer John Burke. Norfolk’s photographs re-imagine or respond to Burke’s Afghan war scenes in the context of the contemporary conflict. Conceived as a collaborative project with Burke across time, this new body of work is presented alongside Burke’s original portfolios. The exhibition takes place in conjunction with an earlier complementary exhibition in March 2011 at the Queen’s Palace in the Baghe Babur garden in Kabul, supported by The World Collections Programme and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which resulted from a series of workshops with Afghan photographers, featuring work by Fardin Waezi and Burke alongside Norfolk’s own work.