Code 255269
PublishDate: Saturday, December 25, 2021 12:13

Kabul City at a Glance

Kabul ranks among the top 20 capitals in the world in terms of elevation. Historians believe it has a 3,500-year history dating back to the Achaemenid Empire. The city was originally thought to be a crossroads for Tatary, Indian, and Persian traders. In the summer, it was the capital of the Mughal Empire, but in 1747 it was taken over by the Durrani Empire. During this time, this ancient city has seen numerous ups and downs. When the world was polarized during the Cold War, Soviet soldiers were stationed in the city for nearly 10 years, but after 9/11, NATO and US forces arrived and spent two decades in the city. The city was retaken by the Islamic Emirate on August 15, 2021, following a 20-year US occupation.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Abrar, a Taliban soldier in the middle of the photo, arrived in Kabul from Uruzgan province following the fall of Kabul in August. Abrar, 35, claims he was a youngster when he began a "jihad" - holy war - against US and soldiers, and that he blew up numerous military vehicles - like the Ranger behind him - but that he now guards what he calls the "property of the nation." During the 1990s civil war, many buildings and areas in Kabul were wrecked. While behind Abrar tall buildings can be seen in the center of Kabul, he regrets the fact that no progress has been seen in Afghanistan over the previous two decades and says he will guard his soil with his last drop of blood.

Khalida, an eighteen-year-old student, is standing near a perimeter wall of . She graduated from the 12th grade a few weeks ago without taking the yearly examinations since all government institutions and colleges above the 6th grade were closed following the establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Kabul. Previously, girls’ and boys’ schools were integrated. The Taliban closed the schools but vowed to institute new methods of segregating classrooms in public schools and colleges and then to reopen them, but they have yet to keep their word. Khalida, who is presently studying for admission exams in Kabul, says she aspires to succeed at Kabul Medical University, but after four months it is unclear whether the Taliban will reopen the university.

Haji Abdul Wahab Safi, 54, claims to have worked for the Kabul Traffic Department for the last 35 years but has not been paid in six months. He also claims that his employment has been disrupted by the new government and that he and his coworkers no longer receive much attention from high authorities. According to Safi, his car's gasoline tank has been empty for weeks, and they have not been given adequate clothing for the cold temperatures in Kabul. Kabul Ambulance, which offered free medical services in Kabul, ceased operations due to a lack of gasoline.

Syed Ali Shah is waiting for a ride next to his yellow taxi. Ali Shah, who has been driving cabs in Kabul for the past 15 years, worries about rising gasoline prices and the prices for other essentials. With the coming of the new government in Kabul, the Afghan currency plummeted against the , raising gasoline prices, and prices for goods. Ali Shah, 47, claims he cannot afford to pay for his petrol every day.

Nimatullah, who is now addicted to narcotics, worked for the previous government's intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, before the fall of Kabul, but now spends his days and nights in the frigid air of Kabul, beside a giant garbage bin along the Kabul River. According to Nimatullah, 65, he served his nation for 9 years but is now an addict with no way out. Following the coming of the Islamic Emirate in Kabul, hundreds of employees of the prior government were sent home. Although the Taliban sent numerous addicts to hospitals for treatment, Nimatullah, a father of seven, is still waiting for life-saving angels to rescue his life.

As usual with the arrival of winter, the weather in Kabul becomes colder, with temperatures frequently falling below zero degrees Celsius. Fatima sits on a walkway from dawn to evening, hoping that someone will put money into her bag, but she returns home in despair with approximately 50 afghanis. Fatima, 27, with a two-month-old infant in her arms, spends the whole day in the freezing weather. She says the terrible living conditions have not only deprived her of an education, but her husband also has remained uneducated. She said that it is snowing in Kabul, and they cannot afford to buy fuel to keep warm. According to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), more than half of the country's population is poor, and food insecurity is on the rise.

Kah Froshi, commonly known as “Bird Street,” is located on the other side of Kabul. Locals claim recent political developments in Afghanistan have had no negative influence on them, in fact street shopkeepers say market demand has even increased. Bird Street, which has been in operation for over a century, is located close to Kabul's ancient Pul-e-Khashti Mosque, which is constantly filled with bird watchers. Faiz Mohammad, a 55-year-old street vendor, expresses his gratitude for the market.

Kabul is home to several shrines too. On the slopes of Asmayee Mountain in the city, there is an ancient shrine named "Ashuqan O Arefan," which means "the lovers and the enlightened one." Mohammad Karim, 70, went almost 140 kilometers from to Kabul to pray at the shrine. Mohammad Karim, who is uneducated and has only received rudimentary religious education in a mosque, says sincere individuals like " Ashuqan O Arefan" accept his prayers, and this is his third visit to the shrine. Although he was unaware of the shrine's history, Karim said he has been told that Ashuqan, whose real name is Khwaja Abdul Salam, and Arefan, whose real name is , are the two sons of Khwaja Abdullah, a prominent Persian poet who entered Kabul with Islam during the Zoroastrian period.

In the old city of Kabul, Soog Bir Singh-Khalesa works as an Atari – the proprietor of a Greek medicine store. Khalesa, 32, claims his ancestors have resided in Kabul for over 900 years, but he has just begun selling the popular Greek medication in Afghanistan for the past ten years. He stated that while the market is currently lower than it was previously, he is pleased with the arrival of the new government in Kabul and expressed his desire for an Afghanistan in which people love one another and do not divide Afghans as Pashtuns, , Muslims, and Hindus and refer to each other as Afghan citizens.

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