October 13, 2016
This month marks two years since the British army handed over its base in Helmand to Afghanistan’s own security forces, bringing the UK’s bloody 13-year military campaign in the country to an end – but peace seems as remote as ever for the local people. The Taliban are fighting to gain control of the province’s 200,000-strong capital, Lashkar Gah, where at least 14 people were killed by a suicide bomber on Monday. Many people with first-hand experience of conflict feel Britain washed its hands of Afghanistan’s problems when the war-torn country needs it most. As the only UK photographer to be allowed access to the specialist team working to locate and defuse the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) favoured by the Taliban in the summer of 2010, photojournalist Kate Holt witnessed some of the worst of the war. In that year, 733 civilians were injured and 393 were killed by IEDs. But, having just returned from another visit to the country, Holt says Afghan soldiers and civilians are still being injured and killed by the devices in “epic” numbers.