For the past four years, Dutch photographer Joël van Houdt has been documenting the journeys of Afghan refugees around the world. In Afghanistan, there is a dearth of information about the reality of the refugee experience. Van Houdt moved to Kabul in 2010 and witnessed the soaring optimism created by the US surge in which money and human resources were pumped into the beleaguered state. By the time he left in 2015, the optimism had turned to utter hopelessness. The question his Afghan friends most routinely asked him was how to leave the country.

These photographs are from an exhibition simultaneously displayed in the offices of the Guardian in London and on blast walls in the centre of Kabul

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