A nomadic tribe near Bamian, circa 1978

In 1977/78, I went to Afghanistan to work for UNESCO and the Afghan Ministry of Communications to help design an educational radio network. This never got built though because the government was overthrown shortly afterwards (the Saur revolution) followed by the Soviet invasion. My family, including my two sons, aged 11 and 9 at the time, even came for a two week holiday, which included a trip up north to Bamian.

Until going to Afghanistan I had done little photography but I was fortunate to have a colleague on the UNESCO team, Joe, from Kenya, who was a professional wildlife photographer. I had a brand new camera (a Canon single reflex) and lots of help from Joe. His best advice was his number one rule of photography: ‘Always take your camera.’ I lost touch with Joe unfortunately. These photos have been digitized from the original Kodachrome slides.

I was looked after really well by my Afghan hosts, who showed great kindness to me and my family. What has happened since I was there is terrible, and I really hope all my former colleagues, their family and friends have all come through everything safely and well.