Q&A: Robert Nickelsberg on a Distant War

In his new book, Afghanistan: A Distant War, veteran photojournalist Robert Nickelsberg offers a vivid close-up of the past quarter-century of Afghan history. As a photographer for Time Magazine, Nickelsberg first observed Afghanistan emerge from an eight-year war against the Soviet Union and then descend into a brutal civil war followed by a Taliban takeover. Since 2001, he’s continued going back to chronicle what he calls America’s War. He has documented things many Afghans themselves never experienced firsthand, and earned an unusually deep understanding of this complex country.

Robert Nickelsberg’s Afghanistan: A History

Nickelsberg has documented each period with searching eyes and a fearless comportment, capturing the novel and the surreal in a war that never ends. This week, Prestel is publishing “Afghanistan: A Distant War,” a stunning collection of Nickelsberg’s photography. It’s a moving and indispensable book that captures the whole sweep of the country’s tumultuous modern history

A Long View of Afghanistan's Wars

The photographer Robert Nickelsberg has been making trips to Afghanistan since 1988. His new book-length project, “A Distant War,” goes past the current, seemingly intractable American invasion to show how a nation has been beleaguered by decades of almos

The reporter who worked most closely with him in Afghanistan, Tim McGirk, recently recalled seeking him out when he arrived in 1990, “thinking, unwisely, that he would keep me from getting shot at. It was quite the reverse. Nickelsberg reacts to gunfire like a bird-dog to the rustle of quail.” Mr. McGirk, a former Time magazine bureau chief, claims to be the faster runner in retreat, but he admired Mr. Nickelsberg’s style.