Photo: Peretz Partensky
With today’s deadly attack on American forces and the fatal downing of an Black Hawk helicopter, the nation again looks to Afghanistan and the troop withdrawal in 2014.It’s been a long 11 years, and the idea that we know anything more about the country where our military’s fighting is as false as it is frustrating.
With that in mind, we look back at these pictures posted earlier in the year.
As an independent contractor, Partensky traveled freely around Afghanistan with credentials that allowed him access to U.S. Army bases, but he also “had the local garb and faithful friends” to guide him around the interior of the country.
Partensky agreed to share snapshots of his life in Afghanistan with Business Insider and if nothing else, they’re a reminder that Afghanistan is almost impossible to define.
Kids become comfortable with guns at an early age — here they are with Afghan soldiers, who are guarding a populated intersection in Mazar-i-Sharif during the Persian New Year
During Nowruz, the Persian New Year, soldiers patrolled and slept on the rooftops in the centre of Mazar-i-Sharif
This is the son of a gun shop owner who sells mostly Soviet made shotguns — they're happy to take you behind the counter to show you more if you ask
I bought army boots from this Bush Market stall — I smelled hashish when we walked in, but I didn't expect the shop keeper to take a break from bargaining to toke on an apple core bowl
This beggar in Herat suffers from elephantiasis, which afflicts over 120 million people, primarily in Africa and South-East Asia
View north from the roof of our home in Jalalabad: green fields, the Kabul river (hidden), golden hills and then the beginning of the Hindu Kush
The guard on the right had just finished trimming his mustache with this razor — Our guards were paid $200 a month, of which $50 went directly to the strongman who had brokered their hire
Our guest house manager, Mehrab said that cotton gin operators were frequently mis-identified as militants with large weapons and were blasted from Soviet helicopters
My Afghan translator Haji Najib Bismil, who had grown up as an Afghan orphan in the Soviet Union, goes for a layup at a PRT base
View of the hills of Kabul from TV mountain — since Kabul is among the world's highest capitals, the winters are bitter and snowy
Downed Soviet Mi-8 helicopter — decades old war debris is commonplace in the countryside, especially the Panjshir Valley
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