Thank You, 2017!
This year was exceptionally good to me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the blessings, relations — old and new, travel and the opportunity to be part of some amazing stories this year.
I started freelancing in late 2015 but I didn’t do it full-time until late 2016 largely because of not being able to afford life in a place like Kabul. The early days of full time reporting, i.e.late 2016 and early 2017, was tough. I barely had enough to pay my bills and rent. I had to borrow money from my parents on more than one occasion to travel, just because I needed to. But then slowly and steadily, I started to figure out how this done.
I found publications who trusted me and who I could trust. But most importantly, I found editors who were just as excited about the stories that excited me, who felt just as strongly about the causes I wanted to talk about and who were sensitive in their approach.
Here I want to share with you some of my favourite stories that I had the privilege to narrate. The stories I picked are here because they inspired me, spoke to me, moved me, or were very very difficult to tell, and as a result helped me grow.
In chronological order:
The decline of Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh communities
Kabul, Afghanistan - Hidden in plain sight, on a poorly lit busy road, the exteriors of the Asmayee temple are…
Forced repatriation to Afghanistan: 'We didn't think it would happen to us'
Afghanistan is starkly different from what Masooma had imagined. She was just a little girl when her family fled the…
Can This Provincial Warlord Scale in Kabul?
MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan - "I wish you hadn't been reappointed as the governor of Balkh province," says a young…
War in Afghanistan Is Killing Children in Record Numbers in 2017
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Lions of Kandahar give pride back to Kabul zoo
The lions - three male and three female which are about two years old, were found hidden under crates of fruits and…
'Oh god please let me die': treating women who have set themselves on fire in Afghanistan
Her incessant screams echoed in the dimly-lit hallways of the hospital - long, hard and full of pain. "Oh God, please…
Afghan pop star challenges cultural norms
In a conservative, war-torn country, being a female musician isn’t easy
Where are the 39 Indians ISIL captured in Mosul?
There has been little progress since their abduction in 2014, prompting outrage from their families and global…
Indian women speak out about a government tax that declares certain feminine hygiene products…
For most of her life, Kamal Rahirashi has had just enough to get by - and sometimes not even that. When her income was…
Hamid Karzai Has Nothing Good To Say About America
KABUL - Hamid Karzai still hasn't forgiven the nation that put him in power. "When the U.S. brings more planes, who are…
This Grandmother Opened a Gym for Women in Afghanistan
Ruchi Kumar I was unsure of what to expect the first time I stepped into a women's gym in Kabul. While I've known a lot…
Afghan farmers revert to growing opium, sending yields soaring
It's easy to grow, is unaffected by market shifts, they can store it for years and it earns them 100 times more than…
The Unlikely Industry Empowering Women in Afghanistan
The typical depiction of an Afghan woman looks like this: Timid and fearful, she is a victim of her extremely…