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13 Photos That Show What Life Is Really Like in Afghanistan

Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo

US President Donald Trump announced this week that 4,000 more troops will be going to Afghanistan to fight in a war that has been going on for nearly 17 years. 

Up until this latest surge of troops, most US citizens had forgotten about the war . But for Afghans, that's not possible. War has become part of the texture of their lives. 

Here are 12 more photos that show what life is like for people living through this interminable war.


Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, with only 31% of the general population and 17% of women over the age of 15 able to read.  

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 5.55.31 PM.pngJawad Jalali/GPE

Millions of girls are prevented from even attending primary school, 50% of existing schools lack a building and resources, and the Taliban and other groups frequently attack girls who try to get an education.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.00.09 PM.pngJawad Jalali/GPE

Afghanistan_Education_5.jpgJawad Jalali/GPE

Since the war began in 2001, at least 32,000 civilians have died , millions of people have become refugees, and the country's economy and civic society have been largely destroyed.

In 2013, 2.3 million Afghans received humanitarian aid within the country. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.01.21 PM.pngTech. Sgt. Robert Trujillo/U.S. Air Force

Despite so much war, the Taliban controls large swaths of the country . In recent years, Iran and Pakistan have stepped up their involvement in the country, and ISIS has also gained traction

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.05.04 PM.pngCapt. Charles Emmons/US Army

In April, Trump authorized a 22,000 missile called " The Mother of All Bombs " to drop on the country.   

Agriculture remains the heart of Afghanistan's economy, accounting for more than 40% of its Gross Domestic Product. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.10.56 PM.pngSpc. Zachary Burke/U.S. Army

As of 2013, Afghanistan had lost more than 50% of its forest cover compared to three decades before. The country’s deforestation has been driven by war, drought, and international demand for Afghan timber.

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.11.29 PM.pngEric Kanalstein/UN Photo

Less than 2% of the country is currently forested and unless interventions are made this level will decrease.

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But Afghanistan is also a powerfully resilient country and there are countless people working toward peace and prosperity. 

One 22-year old named Matiullah Wesa is on a mission to transform education in Afghanistan.

"I hope that one day all Afghan girls will get the equal opportunity of a good education because I believe that the gift of knowledge is every human being's right and should be pursued by everyone," he told Global Citizen . "Education is humanity's best tool as it allows us to give more freedom, and brings peace, prosperity, and a better future to the people of war torn countries."