Movement to Contact
This body of images, taken between January 2011 and January 2012, examines the complex relationships between US military forces, Afghan security forces, and Afghan civilians in the eastern half of the remote border province of Paktika.
Trust, rapport, violence, fear, hope, threats, and intimidation are all interwoven, and in various measures define the relationships between and among groups.
Even most of the ANSF are considered foreigners in their own country here, where unless you're inside the family/clan/tribe, you might as well be from across the globe. The local Pashtuns don't trust you. They know better. A District Sub-Governor's relationship with locals is more akin to that of an ambassador sent from the central government than that of a governor. Sub-tribes constantly test their power relative to those around them. Skirmishes and low-level internecine warfare are constant, even outside of the insurgency, as clans fight over limited resources: water, pine nuts, land, burial grounds.
Paktika is home territory for the Haqqani Network. Miramshah lies just across the "border" in Northern Waziristan, a Federally Administered Tribal Area of Pakistan. But the border doesn't exist in any real way. Riddled with "rat trails" and roads that are little more than dry wadis. The Waziris certainly don't care much about the invisible line that supposedly splits their land. They'd rather everyone just left them alone, US and insurgents alike.
Rocket attacks arrive shrieking at the small COPs and FOBs daily, sending people scurrying for bunkers. Small human connections are made, tentative alliances forged, some strengthened, some broken. Young American men dressed in multicam fatigues and carrying packs weighing well over 100lbs patrol on foot over and over again, strangers in a strange land.