Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Tooba Hotak, 16, practices driving her father's car inside her gated community. She wasn’t born yet when Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, unleashing a civil war that eventually gave rise to the Taliban and drove her family into exile in China. They returned after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

A boy plays in Aria City, a gated community that caters to white-collar Afghans, offering prized amenities like central heating and air conditioning, 24-hour running water and private guards.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Bani Amin, 16, in Aria City, where he and other residents live in modern apartments, shop at Western-style stores and swap text messages on their cellphones.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Hazhir Hoshan, left, and his friend Abdullah Hakimi, both 17, eat chicken burgers at Aria CIty's restaurant. Afghanistan is "like a new child," Hazhir says. "It's good now. We go to school, play football.... We can have fun together."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

The streets of downtown Kabul are being repaved, a much-needed improvement, with foreign donations.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Omid Mesrabi, 23, opened two clothing stores in December in the Gulbahar shopping center, one selling lingerie and the other selling more modest attire. "Things are getting better day by day," he says of Afghanistan. "We didn't have good roads, buildings or centers like these. But now we have them." Unlike some members of his generation, he has no plans to leave the country after foreign troops withdraw next year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Zarlasht Baiza, 23, who works as a television producer and on-camera reporter, has received threatening phone calls telling her to quit. "Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the Taliban take over again,” she says.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Nabil Ahmad, 26, is optimistic about the future of Afghanistan. The father of two recently got a new job at a cellphone company in the capital.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

In the Gulbahar shopping center in downtown Kabul, a mechanical bull is one of the many new forms of entertainment for young people. The mall has been targeted by terrorists.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Women's Football Federation practice soccer at a new stadium. Under Taliban rule, women were executed in a nearby stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Naweed Malyar buys minutes for his cellphone at a kiosk.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

City Star Hall is one of the newest wedding centers in the capital, where such celebrations are a big business. Despite the city’s modernization, some worry that a return to civil war is on the horizon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | May 22, 2014

In Thursday's Pictures in the News, the father of three slain girls is comforted during a vigil near their home in West Carson. Neighbors say he was working on a pickup truck...   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | April 4, 2014

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in South America, where students protest the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Venezuelan Central University campus...   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | Nov. 27, 2013

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Southern California, where travelers wait in line to check in for their flights at Los Angeles International Airport. More than 43...   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | Feb. 28, 2013

In Thursday's Pictures in the News: Skiers take to the slopes in the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Predazzo, Italy; Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful from a balcony...   View Post»

   

Angeles National Forest brush fire

Crews battle brush fire in Angeles National Forest

A wildfire in the Angeles National Forest was 48% contained Wednesday afternoon as authorities were planning to   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | Jan. 19, 2012

In today's Pictures in the News, divers continue to search the wreck of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Tuscan coast (see   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | Jan. 10, 2012

In today's Pictures in the News, snow provides a winter wonderland in Switzerland while stranding truck drivers on the highway in Kashmir; relatives carry the coffins of a...   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Reader Photos: Best of Southern California Moments for 2011

365 days, 365 photos. Over the course of the year we've made a lot of new friends and seen a lot of great photography. Above are the 12 photos that struck us as our favorites...   View Post»

   

Afghanistan's new generation

Pictures in the News | Oct. 4, 2011

A truck bombing in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu kills more than 50 people, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators continue their protest in New York and professional tennis players...   View Post»

   

Wildflowers in bloom

Wildflowers in bloom

A winter of heavy rains has brought a colorful spring bloom of wildflowers in the hills of south Orange County.  View Post»

Afghanistan’s new generation

By Alexandra Zavis

KABUL, Afghanistan — Behind the thick walls of one of Kabul’s newest districts, Tooba Hotak practices driving her parents’ Mercedes in a parking lot lined with cream-colored apartment buildings.

The car lurches as she tries shifting gears, but the 16-year-old drives on, past a cluster of stores and a playground full of children chasing one another in the snow.

Later, she slips into a pair of fluffy slippers for a chemistry class in her family’s plush living room.

Tooba is being home-schooled in the British education system. She hopes to go to college and become an engineer. Marriage, children — “that’s not so important,” she says.

Like many middle-class Kabul residents of her generation, Tooba lived most of her life abroad. She wasn’t born yet when Soviet forces pulled out of the country in 1989, unleashing a civil war that eventually gave rise to the Taliban and drove her family into exile in China.

They returned after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to a city that had shaken off the most rigid strictures of the Islamic militants’ rule, which denied girls an education and kept them largely confined to their homes.

Although large parts of the population still struggle to survive in overcrowded slums, these teens and young adults live in modern apartments, shop at Western-style malls and supermarkets, swap text messages on their cellphones, celebrate weddings at neon-decked halls and are connected to the world through television, movies and the Internet.

Tooba doesn’t worry about what her life might look like after the departure of most U.S. and international troops next year.

“It will be the same,” she says, nibbling a date. “This is a dangerous place for Americans, but not for Afghans.”

1 Comment

  1. May 7, 2013, 9:09 am

    If anyone truly believes that the pictures on display here are a true representation of what afghanistan is currently like, they are fools. These people displayed in these pictures are a vast minority, and most afghans have serious reservations about whether their lives have been made better or worse since the US got involved. As usual, this is one sided, biased reporting.

    By: sdshanya@yahoo.co.uk

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published