Support our mission
NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland adds his support to a mural painting at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on April 18, 2016.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland adds his support to a mural painting at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland adds his support to a mural painting at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on April 18, 2016.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland adds his support to a mural painting at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Sadiq Siddiqui, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, and Omaid Sharifi, a founder of Art Lords, participate in a Resolute Support mural paining on April 18, 2016.

Sadiq Siddiqui, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, and Omaid Sharifi, a founder of Art Lords, participate in a Resolute Support mural paining on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Army Lt. Col. Joe Reap and Noor Arzhang, an Art Lords member, paint a mural of a woman police officer at Resolute Support headquarters on April 18, 2016. Part of the project was aimed at fostering communication between servicemen and Afghan civilians.

Army Lt. Col. Joe Reap and Noor Arzhang, an Art Lords member, paint a mural of a woman police officer at Resolute Support headquarters on April 18, 2016. Part of the project was aimed at fostering communication between servicemen and Afghan civilians. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the Art Lords group, which paints murals on Kabul's concrete blast walls, paint a mural at Resolute Support headquarters with servicemen on April 18, 2016.

Members of the Art Lords group, which paints murals on Kabul's concrete blast walls, paint a mural at Resolute Support headquarters with servicemen on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Zabiullah Modaber, a member of Art Lords, paints ''Afghan female police a force for good,'' as part of a mural at Resolute Support headquarters on April 18, 2016.

Zabiullah Modaber, a member of Art Lords, paints ''Afghan female police a force for good,'' as part of a mural at Resolute Support headquarters on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the Art Lords group, which paints murals on Kabul's concrete blast walls, paint a mural at Resolute Support headquarters with servicemen on April 18, 2016.

Members of the Art Lords group, which paints murals on Kabul's concrete blast walls, paint a mural at Resolute Support headquarters with servicemen on April 18, 2016. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Servicemembers here rarely if ever see what life is like off base, but that’s set to change with the painting of a mural on a wall at NATO’s Resolute Support headquarters.

A group of Afghan street artists was invited to the headquarters Monday to paint a mural depicting a female Afghan police officer helping a veiled mother and her daughter.

“We are sort of acting like a bridge now between the compound and the outside world,” said Omaid Sharifi, a founder of the Art Lords group. “They barely have a chance to talk with locals — what they think, what they fear, what their opportunities are — so this for us is a chance to, in some way, educate them about our culture, about things happening outside.”

A group of artists started Art Lords in 2014 in order to beautify the many concrete blast walls in the capital. Monday, the artists joined with NATO servicemembers to paint one of the main walls of the headquarters.

Sharifi hopes his group will be able to paint more scenes of everyday Afghan life in the compound in the future.

“They deserve to talk with us and share our experiences and have a good impression of Afghans at the same time,” he said.

Resolute Support officials were given a list of mural subjects to choose from. They decided on a replica of a mural the Art Lords had already painted on a wall in Kabul city. The painting is the same except that the slogan — “Afghan female police a force for good” — is written in English instead of Dari.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland was one of those who took up a brush.

“We will be better partners the more we understand about the city we’re living in and the people living in it, and what’s important to them,” he said.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com Twitter: @PhillipWellman

author picture
Phillip is a reporter and photographer for Stars and Stripes, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From 2016 to 2021, he covered the war in Afghanistan from Stripes’ Kabul bureau. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up