Rebuilding A Bazaar & A Community

A bustling market in southern Afghanistan is restored to life, years after the Taliban destroyed it
A bustling market in southern Afghanistan is restored to life, years after the Taliban destroyed it
USAID's CADG
A bustling market in southern Afghanistan is restored to life, years after the Taliban destroyed it
29 MAY 2013 | HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
 
“We had one of the most popular bazaars in all of Helmand, then the Taliban came,” Naim Mohammed recalls sadly. As he recounts the story of once-bustling Naw Zad bazaar in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, he describes its metamorphosis into a scene of intense fighting. “It was very bad,” he says. Over the course of a year, the bazaar was destroyed. By 2006, more than 700 shops had been leveled and all but a few of the district’s 50,000 residents fled. The bazaar had been the social and commercial heart of the community, but once the bakery, motorcycle repair shop, tailors and fruit-sellers were gone, there seemed little reason for people to stay. It seemed a grim – and final – postscript to the life of a community. But five years later, Naim Mohammed’s family became one of the first to return as part of an Afghan government initiative. In partnership with USAID, villagers were repatriated and shops rebuilt. “If it weren’t for this project, I would not have my business. We would not have anything,” says Naim Mohammed looking around his bakery.

Last updated: January 03, 2014

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