Escape from Kabul: The Inside Story

The evacuation of Kabul in August 2021 will go down in military history as one of the most unexpected events in modern times. In an eerie replay of the disastrous British retreat from Kabul in 1842, coalition troops withdrew from Afghanistan after twenty years of military campaigning. The subsequent collapse of the Afghan government and its army shocked the world, as a resurgent Taliban gathered its forces and swept across the country. Thousands of Afghans who had worked with the allies were left to the meagre mercy of the Taliban.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute to this highly emotive and important book created by Levison Wood and Geraint Jones outlining the events of August 2021. My contribution was to create a detailed illustration depicting the chaotic events around Kabul airport and specifically Abbey Gate, where U.S marines and British paras were aiding in the evacuation of civilians. The aim of this illustration was to give an aerial view over the general area of the east section of Kabul's International airport with Abbey Gate at it's center. With thousands of civilians converging to this one entrance this created a bottleneck at the adjacent canal where thousands had to endure terrible crowded conditions, panic, fear and dehydration. With the huge amount of people attempting to reach the airport it was up to the small contingent of coalition troops to keep order and people moving whilst the situation become more chaotic. This was the moment I've attempted to capture in my illustration.                

Kaul Airport illustration depicting Abbey Gate and surrounding locations. With British Paratrooper. Original drawing A4 pen on watercolour paper with full colour rendering in photoshop.

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