External Affairs

Pictures and Stories: Photographing Carnage in Kabul

Photographer Omar Sobhani, who has covered many bombings in Kabul, gives an account of the attack that took place on Wednesday.

Kabul: Reuters photographer Omar Sobhani has covered many bombings in Kabul. Wednesday’s militant attack that killed at least 80 people left scenes of particularly great carnage. “However much you see, these things still affect you strongly,” he says.

Here is his account of the attack as it unfolded when he was on the way to work with colleagues, Mohammad Ismail, a photographer and TV cameraman Mohammad Aziz.

“At first we thought it was an earthquake but we quickly realised it was a very big explosion. We were a couple of kilometers away and we could see a tower of smoke rising into the sky and drove straight to the scene.”

Credit: Omar Sobhani/Reuters

“I got out and my two colleagues went to the hospital because we could already see people with blood-stained faces and clothes running past us.”

“Normally when we get to the scene and need fast pictures, we’ll shoot something quickly on our smartphones and send them off at once. But this time, we decided to use our full cameras straight away.”

“There was a lot of smoke and fire, and around ten wrecked vehicles on the road. First, I had to make sure there wasn’t going to be any kind of follow-up attack, which is something that has often happened in the past. Once it looked clear I went towards the blast site.”

“I couldn’t see very much because of the smoke but I could hear a number of wounded people calling out and one man was talking on a mobile phone, telling friends where to find him.”

“As I went forward, I came across a person lying on the ground. I shot four or five shots quickly and he started asking for help.”

“I went to try to help him but security forces were arriving at the same time and pushed me back. I watched him being put into an ambulance and carried off. However much you see, these things still affect you strongly. I think about all these young people, women with blood on their faces and that night was very, very sad. I talked to my wife about it, all those people are members of a family as well. It’s very, very sad for me and for anyone who’s human.”


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