Kabul City

Kabul City

Video courtesy of my friend, Zok of Kabul from the Northern mountain range. The trip to get there was traumatic, to say the least, but that is subject for another post.


About hotmilkforbreakfast

I am a researcher, a writer, a former soldier, an academic and a lifelong learner. All text and pictures are copyrighted and are not to be used without express permission of the author.
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11 Responses to Kabul City

  1. Thanks for your post. The view reminds me of Albuquerque, NM.

    • Thank you.

      You also gave me quite a laugh, as I was just in New Mexico not long ago, and I thought the very same thing. And when I stopped in a small town to ask for directions, the gentleman at the shop I stopped in was Afghan. He agreed about the way the place reminds him of Afghanistan.

  2. Zok says:

    Not far off at all, Allan. I know NM inside out and have done a lot of scholarly fieldwork there. Kabul City is very similar in terms of climate, geomorphology, and landscape. Just the recently I had a high ranking officer from the Special Forces visiting and he said how it reminded him so much of home. He grew up in Los Alamos.

    Northern Afghanistan is absolutely beautiful. The process of reforestation is undergoing pretty well in Kabul City, which is encouraging, and it is radically changing the landscape. During the 1992-1996 Civil War, and immediately after, most trees were cut down for firewood.

    In this video I captured the Khair Khana neighborhood and the mountain slopes north of it. Khair Khana was built in 1970s and 1980s as Kabul City’s planned suburb, but the houses on the northern slopes are only a couple of years old. These are Kabul City’s slums, the result of chain migration from Badakhshan, Panjshir, Parwan, and other provinces in northern Afghanistan. They have contributed to Kabul City metropolitan area’s expansion from about one million residents in 2001 to over five million today.

    • Hi Zok,

      I found an image of Kabul from 1976 and you can certainly see the trees. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3149/2932614876_1f699eaacc.jpg

      Just thought I’d share it, as it seems to be taken from the same general direction your video was shot from. I must say, the place looks amazing, geographically speaking. Those mountains! Wow. It also looks harsh and unforgiving, which reminds me of some places in Australia. What is the general mood inside the city?

      I also did a bit of reading on Kabul and was surprised to see it has a history dating back to circa 1,500 BCE. It has quite a colourful history in fact. And here I am in a country barely a couple of centuries old. Hard to wrap one’s head around that kind of difference.

      Anyway, thanks for the video (and thanks, Drew, for hosting it).

      • We don’t have many videos, but I’ll be sure to keep posting pictures and telling stories.

      • Zok says:

        Yes, that is downtown Kabul, looking southeast toward Logar River Valley (my video is about three miles northwest from where this one was taken). Kabul River cuts through the middle and separates Police Districts 1 and 2, although it is hard to notice it on this photograph. The city’s central area has terribly suffered from heavy fighting during the 1992-1996 Civil War’s early engagements–Dostum’s forces downtown, HiG on periphery, and Jamiat controlling the hills.

        Since 2001 most of these green patches, other than parks like Shahr-E Naw Park (they make good ice cream near by; see one of Drew’s previous entries), have been leased to the foreigners, i.e., ISAF.

        This is how Kabul City looked back in the day before the war(s): http://www.retronaut.co/2010/10/once-upon-a-time-in-afghanistan/
        I have a link to even better site, with more neat historical photos, but cannot find it at the moment. Not everything was roses and peaches back then, of course. One can easily see that a specific ethnic group is underrepresented.

  3. Memories….this shot reminded me of the district of Khair Khana? We lived in Kabul from 2007-2009. It changed my life forever. So very glad to have met you Drew. With warm summer greetings from Finland, Sharon

    • Exactly, Sharon. This is Khair Khana from the mountain above it. I have a special place in my heart for Finland, too, as we had a Finnish student live with my family for a year when I was a youth, and I’ve been to Helsinki twice. Lovely place.

      • Oh what a small world! We’re in Helsinki. Well let us know next time you make your way here – it would be grand to catch up. We miss Afghanistan and I do suspect we left our hearts there. Khoda Hafez. Sharon

  4. The Smile Scavenger says:

    Breathtaking – please congratulate your friend Zok for his good video work. Kabul seems endless, like it stretches out to meet the horizon!

    • Zok says:

      Thank you, ma’am. I have a couple of more videos that I may have to dig out and eventually upload. I rarely take videos, because I focus on photos, but my camera does take decent videos (although with a telephoto lens it gets a bit shaky as you can see on this one) and occasionally I record something. In this instance I could not resist. It was a nice day, call for prayer, wind, kids flying kites, Drew nearly killed me…the usual stuff.

      Kabul is impressive place, yet few get to explore it the way we did. Unfortunately, if even a smaller intensity earthquake hits the city many will die. Kabul City is in seismic zone 4, the most active, and the architectural solutions do not exactly follow the code. Especially when there is no code to follow in the first place.

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