A pack of dogs barked from a precipice above a dusty hillside in Kabul's southern outskirts. Just below, on a slope rising from the Afghan capital's vast basin, Khwaja Naqib Ahmad was burying four members of the Afghan Taliban.
The hillside was covered with graves of the unwanted: beggars, impoverished foreigners, terrorists killed in suicide attacks. Ahmad wasn't provided with names or any identifying information for the dead Taliban -- shrines for sympathizers must be avoided. He has buried dozens. But it's likely that the four men buried here in April died in the attack on Kabul's Independent Election Commission headquarters, prior to the April 5 presidential election. Blood on the burial sheets revealed the violence of their last moments.
Photographer Andrew Quilty was in Afghanistan in April, and documented these burials in a section of Kabul's Shuhadah E Saleheen Cemetery reserved for terrorists, paupers, and foreigners whose families can't afford to repatriate their bodies. The militants whose burials Quilty photographed make up only a fraction of the Taliban killed earlier this year: in January and February alone, Afghan security forces killed over 720 members of the group.
Civilian casualties have soared even higher this year; the first half of 2014 saw over 1,564 deaths and 3,289 injuries among civilians -- the highest rate since 2009. In late July, fighting between insurgents and government forces roiled Kandahar, a province where, in 2010, U.S. forces had managed to drive out the Taliban. And earlier in the month, four insurgents were killed and one security officer wounded in a brazen attack on Kabul's airport. There will be more work at Shuhadah E Saleheen.
Above, headstones are marked with numbers that correspond to official records but do not outwardly identify those buried. Even in the heat, one of the gravediggers wears a pinstripe suit.