Through the little-known personal stories and experiences of not only the British troops, but also members of the Afghan National Security Forces and UK government and NGO workers War Story will give visitors an insight into the transition, following 13 years of battle, in terms of security and development, highlighting how the future of Afghanistan is delicately poised.

The display is made up entirely of new objects, photographs, film and video interviews that have never been seen before, including a beadwork lamp made by Afghan prisoners as part of training workshops to develop their skills for future employment after their release, as well as an Afghan dress and trousers to highlight the traditional embroidery skills of Afghanistan.

BMAG Steve Martin

All of the new objects were collected by IWM staff on a series of collecting expeditions to Afghanistan between 2012 and 2014.

Given unprecedented access by the Ministry of Defence, this is the first time since the First World War that IWM teams have visited an active theatre of conflict.

Visitors will learn about the current role of British forces, from their mentoring and training of the Afghan National Security Forces to their work in reconstruction as well as their reflections on the cost and legacy of the war, which has seen the deaths of over 450 British service personnel.

LT Jessica Price

They will also discover the role the British military, UK government and NGOs have in the socio-economic and political development of Afghanistan.

Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM said: “IWM was established almost 100 years ago to collect and record stories of war, and this display shows more than ever how we are continuing to do this today.

“The dramatic images, first-hand accounts and unique objects collected these last few years will give visitors to IWM London a glimpse into the situation in Afghanistan, in this critical year in its history.”

Touching on the work they do in areas such as infrastructure, education and the rule of law, the display will highlight how development work is set to continue beyond the withdrawal of British and international combat troops in 2014.

Zahoiridin – Afghanistan National Police

Working with the Ministry of Defence, IWM’s War Story project started in 2009, offering British personnel an opportunity to record their role and preserve their personal accounts and experiences from Afghanistan in IWM’s unrivalled national collections for future generations.

Since the project began, over 1,800 soldiers and family members have registered to share their stories and there are already over 70 interviews in IWM’s sound archive and over 1,000 objects, photos and films from the conflict have become part of IWM’s collections.

Kabul, Afghanistan. View from roof of the Old Fort, headquarters and foreign staff accommodation for UK NGO

Objects on display in IWM London’s Atrium (close to the display) which were collected through the War Story project include a Desert Hawk drone displayed opposite a Taliban motorbike to show contrasting surveillance technologies, a suicide bomber’s vest and a Harrier GR9.

War Story: Afghanistan 2014 runs until September 6, 2015 and is open daily from 10am – 6pm.

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