Michael Bhatia was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on May 7. He was an American academic who was sent to Afghanistan to help the US military understand the country’s customs in what are known (rather inhumanely) as “human terrain teams”. He took pictures and wrote about his time there. The Globalist is republishing a series of pieces Michael produced from Afghanistan,
The process of strapping on a flak jacket, of sitting within a lightly armored vehicle, of peering outside from its small viewing windows, transformed a daily trip into something more menacing. Ultimately, “being there” â€” working in Afghanistan â€” is not the same as “going out”.
I have tried to walk as much as possible, both between meetings and on the weekends, also traveling to provinces and regions in order to research conflict dynamics.
This formal and informal wandering opened up a different view of Afghanistan outside of security concerns and meta-descriptions. It revealed an Afghanistan of trade and poverty, of both reconstruction and continued deprivation, of contentious politics and of community reconciliation â€” and of daily life next to and within conflict. link