The little-seen side of Kabul

A look at how some of the residents of Kabul, Afghanistan live, work and play.

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    A man feeds the birds outside the yellow mosque near the Kabul River in the old city of Kabul, Afghanistan.
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After years of constant conflict in Afghanistan, it can be easy to forget that daily life goes on here – mundane or memorable, with times of coping but also moments to savor. Consider these vignettes from the tattered country’s capital, Kabul.

A happy boy named Ravi has just won a game of carom billiards against Mavid, who is twice his age. A young woman shops for a headscarf. An older man buys birdseed to feed the pigeons outside a local mosque. Jawad gets a haircut from his barber, Nasir.

These scenes do not mirror the Kabul that the media typically displays. There are no bombs and troops on this tranquil day. With the influence of the hard-line Taliban waning, women here are learning to read. Children can play again.

Friends sip tea in a park in the Shar-e-Naw neighborhood and catch up on politics and local gossip. A group of men plays pick-up soccer in an abandoned pool built by the Soviets. Nearby, girls discuss their day at school. Families picnics in the city’s open spaces, such as Bagh-e-Babur (Baghur Gardens). On Nadir Shah hill the centuries old tradition of kite fighting continues. On Fridays some city residents head to the Panjshir Valley, an hour away. This city is unstoppable. Its people endure.

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