Capital city of Afghanistan since 1776, founded 3,500 years ago. Not exactly the most hospitable place, especially for Westerners and Women. The Taliban's strict interpretation of Islam led them to ban television and even music. Much of the battered city is in ruins. The population has dropped from the 1988 level of ~1,424,400 to ~700,000.

I spent two days in Kabul in 1978. Given the 20+ years of strife since then, I doubt there's much left of anything that I saw. But for whatever it may be worth, here's what I recall of the place:

  1. Lots of soldiers, mostly looking more like victims, in very poor uniforms and underfed, but everywhere.
  2. Women in purdah -- those head-to-toe bags (which might be called chador. At least I think they were women.
  3. A boy in a shop selling real fur jackets, who wanted to buy my cheap wool coat lined with synthetic fur.
  4. Turd square: a large empty lot frequently used by people needing a crap. A very nasty experience for the unaware.
  5. Terrible food. Either chicken or lamb, and neither dish tasted different from the other or anything like chicken or lamb.
  6. Wonderful ethnic music by a local group who'd name I never did get, and never got to hear the like of again. One of those once in a life time experiences.
  7. Roadside butcher shops, with carcasses hanging over the foopath.
  8. The mountains beyond the city. Treeless, grassless and rather sinister really.
  9. The people, who seemed uniformly pleasant and obliging. Even the money changers were nice, in a money-changer kind of way.

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