The time after the American invasion was a time of great hope. The golden years. After the darkness of the Taliban rule, Afghanistan finally seemed to be on the road to a better life. But today, fifteen years later, that hope has vanished and life seems to be even harder than before.
I began working as a photographer for AFP under the Taliban, in 1998.
They hated journalists, so I was always very discreet -- I always made sure to put on the traditional shalwar kameez outfit when going outside and I took pictures with a small camera that I hid in a scarf wrapped around my hand. The Taliban restrictions made it extremely difficult to work -- they forbid the photographing of all living things, for example, be they men or animals.
One day I was taking pictures of a line outside a bakery. Life at the time was hard, people were without work, prices were going through the roof. Some Taliban approached me.
"What are you doing?" they demanded.
"Nothing," I answered. "I'm taking pictures of the bread!"
Luckily this was in the age before digital cameras, so they couldn't check to make sure I was telling the truth.
I rarely put my name on my photos at the time, I just signed them "stringer," so as not to draw unwanted attention to myself.
AFP didn't really have a bureau here back then, we had a house in the same neighborhood, Wazir Akbar Khan, that we do today. Special envoys would take turns coming here, and we would regularly go to the frontline on the Shomali Plain, where the Northern Alliance was holding out against the Taliban. Aside from the BBC, only the three agencies, -- AFP, AP and Reuters -- remained in the city. Then in 2000 all of the foreigne