Tue, Sep 11, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Where the streets have no name

Afghanistan’s capital faces the task of registering its scores of unregulated dwellings, many built by rural refugees

AFP, KABUL

After so many years of conflict and lawlessness, the project is encountering challenges from residents who do not trust that paying safayi will benefit them, says Hellay Ishaqzai, 25, one of the team’s investigators.

However, an awareness campaign to illustrate how the funds are being used in each neighborhood is paying off. Through it, women, the elderly, even children can vote for the money to be used in different ways, such as maintaining roads or schools. The program will also see the confusing mass of thoroughfares clearly named, an innovation set to revolutionize navigation in a city where most directions are given by way of landmarks: behind the supermarket, second right after the mosque, left of the blue door, and so on. Wahab says that US$1.4 million has been collected since November.

Back in Kabul’s old quarter, Saddeq’s family have paid their sayafi — 800 afghanis, or US$12 — for the first time in 90 years.

He rejoiced in the payment. “They will come and clean our streets, they will remove the dirty water, and we also wish to have a clinic,” he says hopefully.

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