Outside a nan shop, just as evening falls, a woman sits on the pavement in her ragged burqa. The cheap blue garment is worn thin, it’s tattered with small holes. Her legs curl up underneath her, and her body rests against the wall. Her feet have collected the filth and grit of the Kabul summer, but they are dirty mostly because she is barefoot, too poor to afford even a cheap pair of plastic Chinese sandals. She is waiting for bread, which costs 10 Afghanis, about 2 Australian cents.
She has chosen Taimani, an upmarket residential area as a place to stay. The old style Kabul houses are flat and low with large gardens on tree-lined streets. Only a few of the notoriously ugly poppy palaces have popped up in this neighborhood, crimes against architecture, a good way to launder money, and make money from NGOs and international organisations once only too happy to pay big money to rent them.
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Originally published at On Line Opinion the 25th of June, 2012.