The streets of Kabul.

Just like the Washington Post reporter, Richard Leiby, I have driven through these same streets in Kabul, and marveled at the ability and agility of the Afghans to maneuver around some difficult terrain.

Since 2001, the population of Kabul has grown nearly fivefold, putting stress on roads that were already deteriorating. Along with more cars, there are heavy pickups laden with weapon-toting security forces, as well as “jammers,” huge armored military vehicles that circulate to disrupt cellphone signals that might be used to detonate bombs.

Hapless police officers try to control chaos, while drivers shoot down rutted cut-throughs on which the ride feels like a small-craft journey on a choppy sea.

Shah Bobo Jan Street, named after the sister of King Amanullah Khan, who secured his country’s independence from Britain in 1919, connects two important nodes of commerce: the famed Chicken Street bazaar and the Kabul City Center shopping mall.

Merchants selling carpets, handicrafts and other tourist items along Shah Bobo Jan say potential customers avoid the area rather than risk slippery collisions with other drivers or a slog by foot through the mud.

About Barbara Dillon Hillas

Mother of global nomads; wife of diplomat; peripatetic lawyer; annotator of foreign service life, rule of law, culture, travel, & whatever strikes my fancy.
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