Year

2018

Result

Finalist

Category

Press Photographer of the Year

Publications

  • The New York Times
  • Human Rights Watch
  • National Geographic Magazine
  • Politic
  • The Guardian

Andrew Quilty

“Portfolio”

The judges praised the work Andrew Quilty continues to do, documenting life in Afghanistan. “There’s a painterly quality to some of these images, and that eye for beauty is helpful when so many of the stories are so brutal.”

Quilty writes: Now in its 17th year, the war between the internationally-backed Afghan government and the Taliban is more deadly than ever. According to the United Nations Assistance mission to Afghanistan, 1,692 civilians were killed in the first half of 2018 alone (nearly ten per day), more than any six month period since UNAMA began recording civilian casualties in 2009.

For combatants, casualty rates have become so bad that the government recently ordered figures to remain classified. The New York Times reported that approximately 10,000 members of the Afghan National Security Forces were killed in 2017. That’s more than 27 every day. Taliban deaths are estimated to be roughly the same.

Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate has proven to be equally deadly. While they are out-gunned on the battlefield, Islamic State Khorasan Province has carried out dozens of horrific bombings in major Afghan cities against targets ranging from government departments to NGO offices, journalists and even schools.

A glimmer of hope came in the form of three days of overlapping unilateral ceasefire between Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces over the Eid holiday in June this year. The outward display of unity was unlike any that had been witnessed since the war began in 2001. Since then, however, fighting has resumed and the toll on both sides, and the civilian population, has continued to climb.

Andrew Quilty