I fly a lot and for the past few months, mainly over Ghazni Province. Chinooks do not afford good opportunity to take photographs, but the Blackhawks do if you are lucky enough to sit by the window. Even better are the Polish Army Hind troop carriers with big windows that are often open in summer. My best photos have come from these two craft. The pictures here are from a Blackhawk ride that was incredibly crowded, but I ended up with a seat by the window. I will publish some pics from a Hind flight in the future. Different views of the landscape (ground level) may be seen from the small windows in the back of some MRAPs, the US Army’s main troop carrier and an armored vehicle. But, I haven’t taken any because the quality would be so poor through the bullet proof glass and the field of view so narrow, that such photos would be a waste of time.

Afghanistan’s landscape may only be described as beautiful and very harsh. There are vast barren mountains and plains, with pockets of green, where there is water. Here are the villages and fields. The Afghanis have evolved some very sophisticated irrigation systems that have served them well for hundreds of years. War and depopulation have reduced the agricultural population and caused damage to many of these systems. They use just rain in some places. In others, the two complex systems developed are canals fed by natural sources and kareze irrigation. Sometimes, these two systems exist together. The other system that is more recent and most difficult to maintain and most foreign to the Afghan culture is canal irrigation from manmade dammed lakes. This latter system is heavily dependent on technology, while the traditional systems are not. Read my post, Balinese Water Temples: Modern Agriculture Run Amuck, for a cautionary tale about so-called western agriculture experts destroying traditional farming systems far superior to the “modern” system being forced down the farmer’s throats. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in Afghanistan. Click images for a larger version.

Village and farm fields, you can see the dry riverbed, but there is still water available if you know how to get it

Village and farm fields, you can see the dry riverbed, but there is still water available if you know how to get it

 

Village and fields

Village and fields

Dry river bed and tributaries

Dry river bed and tributaries

 

River, water in some places, runs through a barren landscape
River, water in some places, runs through a barren landscape
Living compounds in a village

Living compounds in a village

 

More fields and canals
More fields and canals
The "craters" are part of a kareze irrigation system. I'll be writing more details about this ingenious and complex system in a future post

The "craters" are part of a kareze irrigation system. I'll be writing more details about this ingenious and complex system in a future post

 

Looks like a peace sign, but it is actually kareze shafts

Looks like a peace sign, but it is actually kareze shafts

Kareze and associated canals

Kareze and associated canals


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