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PublishDate: Monday, July 15, 2013 10:53

Delivering mail in Kabul seems the most difficult job in the world

In Kabul, many streets have no name and houses often have no number, meaning that postmen already braving the constant threat of suicide bombings must play detective to deliver mail.

In Kabul, many streets have no name and houses often have no number, meaning that postmen already braving the constant threat of suicide bombings must play detective to deliver mail.
 
Mohammad Rahim makes his rounds on the tattered, hilly streets of the Afghan capital riding an old bicycle. After 10 years on the job he is undaunted by even the vaguest addresses on letters. 

"Here we have a letter for a man who lives near Doctor Hashmat's house," Rahim, 46, says. "I don't know the address, so let's see, how can we find the right place?"
 
His only clues are the addressee Mohammad Naeem, the doctor's name and instructions on the back of the envelope saying "Kart-e-Sakhi hilltop, behind the agricultural ministry". 

Wearing a black fur hat, blue jeans and a violet T-shirt, he cuts a familiar figure and is often recognised by Kabul residents. He sets off from the neighbourhood post office to start asking people for help. 

After receiving a lot of complicated guidance and bizzare address, Raheem finally found the house. 

After waiting outside the gate, a woman in her 40s comes out: Mohammad Naeem's wife, who takes the letter for her husband. 

"We have received letters from the US, Canada, Germany and Pakistan, and the postman always brings them safely and on time," she says.
 
Rahim delivers dozens of letters every day across west and southwest Kabul. The Kabul population has boomed to five million as people have flooded in seeking employment and an escape from the fight against the Taliban, but much of the recent expansion is illegal, with many houses and shacks built on contested land or without planning permission. 

But the days of confusion over addresses could soon be over, as last month the communications ministry signed an agreement with the city authorities to create a comprehensive new address system.
All streets and houses will be coded, numbered and mapped in a two-year project that the government hopes to expand to other cities.
 
The scheme -- which will use global positioning system (GPS) surveying -- should help Rahim, and fellow postmen such as Khan Agha, 42, who works in a post office in the central Shar-e-Naw district.
For now Agha, who first started delivering mail 22 years ago, says the chaotic street mapping makes it "the most difficult job in the world".
 
"We don't care about traffic, summer or winter, smog or rain but there are many vague addresses, though a telephone number on the back of the envelope can help," he says. "We ring them up and they say 'I'm standing here' so we go and hand over the letter.
(Fox News)

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