Afghanistan is the favorite playground of the madness of men. I go there since 1979. In thirty years, I have met russians, pro-communists, warlords, talibans and Western armies
Since international intervention that followed the attacks of September 11th in 2001, it's difficult to work without being embedded with one of these armies.
In 2008 I spent a week with the 8th french paratrooper marine infantry regiment (RPIMa) based in Nijrab in the Kapisa Valley.
Every day I go on patrol in an armored column out the forward operating base to ride to villages in remote valleys of Tagab, Alasay or Sediqkhel.
My relationship with the officers are good until the day that two suspects are apprehended during a patrol in the village of Sediqkhel. One is armed with Kalashnikov and the other carries pro Taliban propaganda. When I get there, the two men were held at gunpoint, kneeling on the floor blindfolded. The officer reminds me that it is forbidden to photograph prisoners. At first I take some pictures discreetly and I decide to disobey.
Returning to base my attitude triggered an outcry in the hierarchy. I decide to play fair with the colonel commanding the detachment. I show him the pictures and explains that the men arrested were not identifiable, nothing in international conventions forbade me to spread these images that simply shows the reality of the work of French troops on the ground. Colonel clings to the Geneva Convention then advance if my photos appear this could have a negative impact in our "suburbs" (sic).
The photos will be published in Le Figaro Magazine. I later learned that the press officer who accompanied me that day was sent back to France for not being able to prevent taking these pictures !