Massoud Hossaini, the Afghan photographer who has won the first Pulitzer Prize for Agence France-Presse, has lived much of his life in the shadow of war.
Born in Kabul on December 10, 1981, two years after the Soviet invasion, Hossaini was just six months old when his family joined what would eventually be an exodus of millions fleeing Afghanistan for Iran.
Hossaini’s family was forced to leave his homeland following the arrest of his father by the Afghan communist authorities.
In Iran, Hossaini joined the “Reformists Movement” as a political activist and decided to become a photographer, travelling to the city of Mashhad to photograph Afghans who had made the same trek out of the country as his family.
Following the September 11 attacks on the United States and the overthrow of the Taliban, Hossaini returned to Afghanistan in 2002 and joined a cultural centre funded by National Geographic photographer Reza Deghati.
He joined AFP in 2007 and since then has covered Afghanistan’s escalating war against Taliban insurgents in all its bloody forms – from suicide bombings and firefights in the capital to embeds with the NATO military — with courage and dedication.
When explosions and gunfire were heard near the AFP Kabul office last Sunday, as Taliban militants launched an 18-hour assault on the capital, Hossaini and fellow AFP photographer Shah Marai ran for the cars and headed for the action – as they always do.
Hossaini has written that he was born in a wrong place, Afghanistan, grew up in a wrong place, Iran, (and is) living in a wrong place, Kabul.
For more reading…AFP Pulitzer Prize Winner 2012