I traveled with the Afghan Mujahadeen in 1979, who were determined to resist and undermine the Marxist puppet central government. This was before the Soviets invaded.
We traveled as much as thirty miles a night subsisting on tea and bread with an occasional bonus of goat cheese or yogurt. The only drinking water was what we scooped out of an irrigation ditch.
These are the proud men of Kunar Province girding for war in a place where ancient absolutes still prevail. Adapted from Owen Edwards in American Photographer magazine, 1980.
Steve McCurry and Commander Abdul Raluf
Abdul Raluf, standing to my left, was the commander of the Asmir Garrison in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. In September 1979, Commander Raluf and his 300 soldiers at a strategic outpost on the border with Pakistan, switched sides, killing the provincial governor, stripping the garrison of weapons and supplies, and joined forces with the Mujahideen. It took another ten years for the Afghan government to fall.