Agence France-Presse’s chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, who was killed covering a suicide bombing on Monday, was a charismatic, courageous journalist who was dedicated to reporting on Afghanistan’s wrenching conflict.
The 22-year veteran of the agency leaves behind two wives and six children, including his only daughter, born earlier this month — an event that brought him great joy and was celebrated with cake at the Kabul bureau just over a week ago.
He was killed, along with at least five media colleagues, when a suicide bomber detonated himself among the crowd of journalists who had arrived to cover an earlier blast.
Marai’s versatility and easy camaraderie was demonstrated in a message moments before the second attack, in which he reassured an AFP video colleague who was stuck in traffic and could not reach the scene.
“No worry man, I am here,” the 41-year-old said by WhatsApp, adding that he was shooting video in addition to taking photos.
His powerful photographs testify to the unimaginable violence he witnessed over the years — as well as the fragile moments of beauty and joy in a country pummeled by decades of war.
Here is a look at some of Marai’s work, with their original captions, including this past week’s burials of the victims of the deadly bombing at the voter registration center in Kabul.