Over the last decade, the international community has poured money into making Kabul safer. The army and police force have benefitted from advanced training and better equipment, but the threat of insecurity still looms. People remember the slew of terrorist attacks on soft targets in the capital, which continue to happen with alarming regularity. Despite these memories, Afghans are looking to carve out a space for fun amidst the chaos that everyday life can bring in a country dealing with a violent insurgency.
Away from the judgmental eye of conservative parents, young people gather with friends to listen to music, play video games or smoke hookah. The average per capita income in Afghanistan is around $700 per year, but there is a growing segment of Kabuli society that earns significantly more. They are looking for ways to relax and put aside their worries, if only for a few hours. There is an array of options: in recent years, a water park, bowling alley, and karaoke bar have opened up in the city. The latest addition to the entertainment scene is Kabul Paintball Park, an outdoor arena where visitors use weapons that shoot paint instead of bullets.
Anna Loshkin was born in Odessa, Ukraine and has lived much of her life in the US. She started working in photojournalism in 2011. Her work has been featured in Newsweek Japan, BBC Russia, VICE, Cicero Magazin and Grazia, among others. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US and the UK, as well as on-line at the International Museum of Women. Anna’s project on influential women in Afghanistan appears in The Other One Hundred, Entrepreneurs Edition book and traveling exhibition (2015-16). She is currently based between Boston and Tel Aviv.