Tales from the Hindu Kush: Close Encounters in Afghanistan, with Anthony Fitzherbert OBE

A lifetime in Afghanistan, working with Afghanis from all parts & tribes, from '71, through the Soviet Occupation, the Western intervention, until today.

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Anthony’s work with Afghan villagers, for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, has taken him to every corner of rural Afghanistan, from the Pamir Mountains to the Sistan Basin, from Herat to Nuristan – and he is still deeply involved & visits the country regularly. Anthony has unique knowledge of working, travelling and living in all parts of the country through many years of warfare and tension. His amazing gallery of images are the work of a man for whom Afghanistan and Afghanis have become his normality. His subjects are as at ease with him as he is with them. He achieves portrait after portrait of extraordinary intimacy in this much-photographed but somehow barely perceived country.

He has penetrated Afghan life at a level that few outsiders have ever reached –particularly focussing on rural development, on natural resource management, on all matters of agriculture and husbandry, including the vexed question of poppy production. His work has involved moving from immediate post-conflict emergency assistance to longer term planning, rebuilding & development.

During the Soviet occupation and after, he crossed the frontier from Pakistan many times, over the Hindu Kush, travelling as the guest of different mujahideen groups to assess the damage wrought by ten years of conflict.

Between 1989 and 1995 he managed the FAO’s Afghan agricultural rehabilitation programme in the field. Although based in Pakistan because of continuing civil war in Afghanistan, this work involved extensive travel within Afghanistan on all sides of the shifting lines of conflict.

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Anthony Fitzherbert OBE

In 2011 Anthony was awarded the OBE for his work in Afghanistan. He was educated at Ampleforth College, Yorkshire (1956); National Service 2nd Lt. Coldstream Guards; MSc degree from Reading University; speaks Persian and Turkish and a smattering of other Central Asian dialects and Russian. For the last 45 years Anthony has had a working involvement with countries of the Near East, Central and South Asia including, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Central Asian Republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and northern Iraq (the Kurdish Governorates).

He lives with his wife Anne in the village of Old Hutton, five miles south of Kendal in Cumbria.

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John le Carré: 'If you want to know why international crooks and their eminently respectable financial advisors walk tall and only the little people pay taxes, this is the ideal book for you. Every politician and moneyman on the planet should read it, but they won't because it's actually about them.'

2016Martin Keeley