KABUL, Afghanistan — Growing up in a family genetically predisposed to blindness, Shah Marai developed a keen eye as a photographer.
For about 20 years, Mr. Marai, a veteran photojournalist, covered Afghanistan, his war-torn homeland, and its profound human suffering, but often with a soft touch. He rose to become the chief photographer in Kabul for Agence France-Presse, his income supporting a large family that included three blind brothers and two blind children.
On Monday, he was among a couple of dozen journalists in Kabul covering a rush-hour suicide bombing when a second attacker detonated his explosives amid reporters and first-responders. Altogether 25 people were killed, including Mr. Marai and eight other journalists.
Mr. Marai, who was 41, got his start as a photographer during the Taliban regime in the 1990s, when the practice was largely banned. He started first as a driver for A.F.P., and then slowly began to do photographic work, often in secret, when most news bureaus could not get a foothold in the country and relied on brave local residents like him.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, a new wave of optimism was clear in Mr. Marai’s work, as he covered elections and the rebuilding of a ravaged country.
But following a brief period of relative calm, the war in Afghanistan has grown devastatingly violent in recent years. Mr. Marai’s work as news photographer often meant rushing to the site of the latest suicide bombing, and then following funerals and shattered families.
“There is no more hope,” he wrote in 2016, as he was arranging for his two brothers who were not blind to risk the migrant trail to Europe. “Life seems to be even more difficult than under the Taliban because of the insecurity.”
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