Photo Credit: Seth Scott

Canada Has Bailed on Afghanistan, But People on VanIsle Haven’t

A two-week trip to Afghanistan 9 months ago prompted Seth Scott to try to help the man who helped him

But a Comox Valley Photographer and a Syrian Refugee Are Doing What They Can
Seth Scott
Credit: Seth Scott

Comox Valley photographer Seth Scott travelled to war-torn Afghanistan last year. He hired an Afghan man as his guide while on the trip.

Scott spent two weeks travelling and taking photos in parts of the country controlled by the Afghan government. He was moved by the friendliness of the people and the challenges they face.

With the Taliban sweeping back into power, the county once again faces a humanitarian crisis. So now Scott is raising money to help the man who helped him in Afghanistan nine months ago. He says his former guide is fearing for his life and the safety of his family.

“He reached out to me for any help, if anyone knows any government officials, if anyone knows anything because he’s the only one with a passport in his family right now,” Scott said in a CTV News report. “It’s just a terrible situation.”

Scott is selling prints of photographs he took in Afghanistan for $50, with all proceeds going toward assisting his guide. As of Wednesday, Scott had already raised $1,000.

Scott says he had been fascinated by Afghanistan for years. A tour company connected him with the guide who took him to visit temples, ancient castles and fortresses. During the trip, he says he encountered “some of the kindest people” he has ever met on his travels around the world.

Sarmad Al Mouallem
Credit: Facebook / Sarmad Al Mouallem

Scott isn’t the only Islander helping out. Photo Tech Foto Source in Campbell River is helping Scott with his fundraising effort by printing the photographs for free.

Store owner Sarmad Al Mouallem says it’s his way of paying forward the assistance he received when he came to Canada as a Syrian refugee.

“Coming from a country destroyed by war and this type of conflict, lots of people helped me to get out, and I want to be part of helping other people,” Almouallem says.

The situation in Afghanistan brings back painful memories for Almouallem.

“It’s a little bit emotional because at a point you’re there and you need any rope just to hold on, or an airplane, as we saw, so I felt like this is a simple thing I can do,” Almouallem says. 

To buy a print and support the cause, go to