Introduction to the WAMP website

The Williams Afghan Media Project (WAMP) is an online resource for the study of Afghanistan. In addition to helping to preserve and make available resources related to Afghanistan, WAMP also provides a site for exploring Afghanistan's cultural legacy, historical development, and present situation.

Three photo collections that document in image and sound Afghan history and society from the late 19th century through the Soviet occupation represent the heart of the WAMP website:

To date, we have prepared approximately 6,000 photographs and slides from the three collections for the website. All of these collections are independently and jointly searchable, using dates, locations, and other keywords.

In addition, WAMP has a unique archive of videos, the most important of which are 300 videos (approximately 700 hours) shot by AMRC cameramen between 1987 and 1989 in Afghanistan. The video section of the website includes 14 edited clips from this collection. The video section also includes a video essay on the Taliban. This video essay is a collaboration between photographer Ed Grazda, who has been working in Afghanistan since 1980, and Williams College students.

As time and resources permit, additional photographs and video clips will be added to the site. We also hope to add an audio archive section to the website which will include oral histories, folk stories, poetry, music, and interviews.


The WAMA website has been several years in preparation, and it has required the energies of a host of Williams faculty, staff, students and alums, as well as others who have helped bring this enterprise into existence. Haji Sayed Daud, the director of the Afghan Media Resource Center, deserves special thanks for entrusting me with the AMRC collection, which became the foundation piece of the WAMA archive. In addition, I'd like to thank Kamaluddin Kochi, the assistant director of AMRC, who handled much of the logistics of the transfer of video and photos from Peshawar to Williamstown in the summer of 2001; Stephen Olsson, filmmaker and former director of AMRC for his advice and assistance; Gregory Whitmore, whose assistance was crucial in getting the project underway; and Shahmahmood Miakhel, whose idea it was for AMRC and Williams to collaborate and who helped digitize the AMRC collection in the summer of 2001. Abdul Wahab Mansur, Mohammad Hanif Alim, and Ghazi Mahmood Miakhel are also thanked for their work on the AMRC collection.

I'd also like to express my gratitude to a number of people at Williams whose help has been vital to the success of this website. They include President Morton Schapiro, Dean of the Faculty Thomas Kohut, Provost Catharine Hill, Gayle Barton, head of Instructional Technology, Professor Michael Brown, present director of the Center for Technology in the Arts and Humanities (CTAH), and Professor Shawn Rosenheim, former director of CTAH. Most importantly, I'd like to thank Jonathan Leamon, who has been involved in this project since its inception. Jonathan's technical assistance has been crucial to getting this website launched, but his sage counsel and friendship have perhaps been even more important.

I want to express my gratitude to Phyllis Kaplan who traveled from Vermont to Williamstown once a week for the better part of a year to scan the KES collection. Over the last several years, a number of students from Williams and other schools also helped with the scanning and data entry. They include -

Summer 2001
Benjamin Martell
Stephen Taylor
Michael Gross

Summer 2002
Khalilullah Qasimi
Nura Kinge
Eric Getty

Summer 2003
Mienah Sharif
Anosha Hassan
Shabnam Hassan
Beheshta Gohari

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Nancy Hatch Dupree, a friend and inspiration of many years, who entrusted the KES and Dupree photo collections to my care.