Afghanistan

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Landi Kotal, Pakistan, October 1994. Big market — contraband and not — in this border town with Afghanistan. Les affaires marchent dans ce patelin en bordure de l’Afghanistan.

“He who knows many dead stories likes, when he can, to see one being born, said the Grandfather of the Whole World.”  Les cavaliers, Joseph Kessel, 1966.

Like cotton is the beard of this Grandfather of the Whole World who strolls about the market. Maybe he is doing his shopping, maybe he is peddling the innumerable stories of this town in the heart of the legendary Khyber Pass, formerly the seat of the Afghani resistance against the British, recently overwhelmed by refugees from that country, today the center of a contraband traffic a few kilometers away from the Afghan border.

“Celui qui sait beaucoup d’histoires mortes aime bien, quand il le peut, en voir une sa naissance, dit l’Aïeul de Tout le Monde.” Les cavaliers, Joseph Kessel, 1966

Comme du coton est la barbe de cet Aïeul de Tout le Monde qui déambule dans le marché. Il pourrait aussi bien faire ses emplettes que colporter les contes infinis de ce patelin au coeur du légendaire défilé Khyber, autrefois siège de la résistance afghane contre l’Anglais, récemment submergé de réfugiés de ce pays, aujourd’hui centre d’un trafic de contrebande à quelques kilomètres de la frontière afghane.

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Landi Kotal, Pakistan, October 1994. Many Afghani refugees crowd this border town. Il y a davantage de réfugiés afghans que de Pakistanais dans cette bourgade-frontière.

Refugee camps can be found in every border town, stretching over miles and miles. From temporary, the tents have become clay shanties. Fifteen years later, many of the dwellers died without having seen again their homeland, children have grown up, and more children were born in exile. They surround us.

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