On the line in Afghanistan

Slide show: On the Pakistan border, divisions and danger are everywhere, and Americans nowhere to be found

Published May 26, 2010 1:01AM (EDT)

Editors' note: For years, a guerrilla war has made photography a very difficult enterprise in Afghanistan. Trying to keep a lens focused on the Afghan National Security Forces proved no less complicated this past April. While he was developing this fourth installment in our Scenes From Afghanistan photo-essay series, American military officials expelled James Lee from Nangarhar province after he traveled with ANSF during an opium eradication operation near the Pakistan border, a violation of media ground rules. One week later, Lee received written authorization from Afghanistan's Office of Social Affairs to rejoin ANSF forces based in Laghman province. Due to reports of suicide bombers in the province, Afghan military officials prevented Lee from accompanying ANSF patrols into populated areas. Despite these challenges, Lee continued to photograph ANSF as they worked alone, without Americans. A photojournalist and former Marine, Lee got himself to Afghanistan for an extended stay. He is also keeping a photo blog at the Ventura County Star.

By James Lee


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