RealNews

From the Rubble: A City of Old? Or All Shiny and New?

Kabul was once a fabled city of gardens and fruit orchards beloved by the Mogul emperor Babur and serenaded by Persian poets, but little of its glorious past is evident today. Whole districts remain in ruins from the fighting of the 1990’s, and the construction boom of the last three years since the arrival of Western aid, and the return of millions of refugees, have turned the city into a hodgepodge of overcrowding and chaotic building. According to the Afghan government, 63,000 of the city’s homes were destroyed and 60 percent of its streets were damaged during two decades of war. The infrastructure has been so neglected that the city has slipped backward in terms of amenities and services. Meanwhile, the population has boomed from less than a million during the Taliban period, which ended with their ouster in late 2001, to three or four million today – no one knows the true number – making it the fastest growing city in this part of Asia. Full Story

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