Laleh wakes up early in the morning. The produce vendor jokes that even the roosters are still sleeping when he wheels his produce cart out onto the quiet Kandahari streets to take his daily supply of cucumbers to market.
Uruzgan province in Afghanistan’s south-central region is the birthplace of Mullah Omar and a hotbed of Taliban sympathizers. As a result, it suffers from high insecurity and frequent insurgent activity. Tirin Kot, the provincial capital with a population of about 10,000, has a busy main bazaar that includes more than 200 shops, a hospital, a police station, and a number of private residences. It was widely agreed that public lighting was needed to extend business hours in the bazaar and also help secure the area during the night hours, particularly for security forces patrolling the area after dark.
The carefully irrigated kitchen garden provides welcome splashes of different shades of green against the surrounding dry brown soil and rocks. Shukria, a community health worker in Bamyan Province, takes great pride in the lush vegetables and ripening fruits that have improved her family’s diet.
Hajji Abdul Ghani remembers when the 28 kilometer journey to the end of Robat Road took two hours. The district governor of Spin Boldak is a melon farmer who found it increasingly difficult to get his produce to the markets in Kandahar City and the Afghan-Pakistan border. Seasonal rains and floods left deep craters in the dirt road, rendering it inaccessible to large trucks.
The remote district of Jani Kheyl in Paktika Province is home to approximately 35,000 people belonging mainly to the Molalzai, Jani Kheyl, and Malzai tribes. The Jani Kheyl bazaar, located in the district center, serves more than 500 people per day and includes four mosques, two schools, and approximately 215 shops. It has no connection to an electric grid.
Last updated: January 16, 2015