Afghan Refugees: A Photo Album
Bird Cage
A Pakistani street barber.
"The road from Islamabad to Peshawar seems more crowded and overburdened than I recall, its lanes choked with cars, horse and buggies, rickshaws, psychedelic buses, and trucks."
Fatana Gailani
Fatana Gailani, head of both the Afghanistan Women Council and the Ariana School, speaking to women in the courtyard of her medical clinic "which is packed tight like a box of crayons, with brilliantly robed Afghan women and their sick children."
Jacob at the Ariana School
Jacob at the Ariana School
"I have told the students that a nice boy from America will visit you," began one of the e-mails sent by Fatana Gailani, the school's director. "They exult and I do not know how to express their being so happy. Even the children who never have smiled so far, I saw the cheery smile in their lips. In fact, our children need to be supported and sympathized, as they are the seeds of peace."
Aziza Sarwar
Aziza Sarwar
"We're then introduced to Aziza Sarwar, a 12-year-old girl who fled Kabul in early October when an errant American bomb destroyed her home and killed her mother and brother. She wears her grief openly. 'I am very sad because my heart is bleeding,' she tells us."
Tossing the red balloon
"As Aziza, her father, my translator, and I talk of war and peace in the one-room mud hut that the Sarwars now call home, as the sun sets over the dusty plain where the children of the Akhtarabad camp toss a red balloon back and forth, we can hear Jacob, his new Afghan friends, and the kind of youthful laughter that knows no boundaries of culture, heartache, history, or time."
Laughing Girl
Girl laughing in the Akhtarabad refugee camp.
Jacob demonstrating magic markers
 Jacob demonstrating magic markers
"Then Jacob, who's carrying another shopping bag filled with school supplies to give the students, decides to speak to them in a language they'll understand. 'Look,' he says, pulling out a package of Magic Markers, the kind that change color when you use a special white pen. He kneels down on the floor and starts to draw. 'Isn't this cool?' The children, fascinated, gather around him."
Pink girl in veil
A young girl in the Shamshatoo refugee camp
"The drive through tribal lands to Shamshatoo from Peshawar takes only an hour, but the climate once we arrive is much harsher. It's hotter, drier, and somehow even dustier than Peshawar, and the camp spreads before us like a vast clay model in an open kiln."
Sisters at the Katcha Garhi refugee camp
Sisters at the Katcha Garhi refugee camp.
A mother and child
A mother and child at the Katcha Garhi refugee camp
"When I first visited Katcha Garhi in January 1989, the tent was the predominant mode of shelter. Now the camp is less of a camp and more of an intricate village of attached adobe homes where people have settled to live, not wait."