Robert Nickelsberg captures the brutality and suffering, often amid stunning beauty, of the convulsions that have engulfed Afghanistan. Here he presents an extraordinary portfolio of images, accompanied by incisive commentary, that explain the country’s tragic history.
Nickelsberg, a TIME magazine contract photographer for 25 years, was based in New Delhi from 1988 to 2000. During that time, he documented conflicts in Kashmir, Iraq, Sri Lanka, India and Afghanistan. He was one of the few photographers who had first hand exposure to the early days of the rise of fundamentalist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal areas and al-Qaeda, and his work provides a unique up close view of the Soviet withdrawal, the rise of the Taliban and the invasion by the U.S.
Nickelsberg moved to New York in 2000 and continues to travel overseas – reporting on the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 – and focus on chronicling the devastating psychological effects of war in Kashmir.
In 2008, he was awarded grants from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and from the South Asia Journalists Association to document and report on post-traumatic stress disorder in Kashmir after 20 years of insurgency. Nickelsberg serves on the advisory board of the Kashmir Initiative at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.
Professor Lydia Chavez is the Robert A. Peck Chair at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She started as a reporter for The Albuquerque Tribune, later moving on to TIME magazine, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, where she served as El Salvador and South American bureau chief. In 2005, Chavez and her students collaborated to publish “Capitalism, God and A Good Cigar: Cuba Enters the Twenty-First Century” (Duke University Press). And in 1998, Chavez published, “The Color Bind: California’s Battle Against Affirmative Action,” which won the Leonard Silk Award (UC Press). She has also written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Examiner and magazine pieces for the Los Angeles Times and New York Times Sunday Magazines and George Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Tim McGirk is the managing editor of the Investigative Reporting Program and lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He is a former bureau chief and war correspondent for TIME magazine, who has covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the hunt for al-Qaeda. He also worked as a foreign correspondent in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America for Time and prior to that for the British daily The Independent. McGirk was the recipient of the Henry Luce Award for Reporting and, in the U.K., the Foreign Press Association’s 2006 Print Story of the Year award for his investigation into the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines at Haditha, Iraq, and the U.S. military’s subsequent cover-up.