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FEATURE STORY August 3, 2017

Kabul Residents See Visible Improvements in City's Development


  • Thousands of Kabul city residents are enjoying a better quality of life as a result of upgrades in infrastructure and other municipal facilities.
  • The Kabul Municipal Development Program is showing visible results in targeted areas where cleaner, more orderly localities are improving residents’ access to services and local businesses.
  • The program aims to increase access to basic municipal services in selected residential areas in the capital city as well as improve service delivery by the Kabul Municipality.

"Now the condition of the roads are very good and this has had a positive impact on business."
Baker, Kart-e-Char locality, Kabul City

KABUL CITY – Baker Jamshid is diligently focused on the dough he is kneading. He works with four other men, who hum as they prepare dough, bake bread, and serve their customers with a smile. Jamshid’s bakery is located in one of the side lanes of Kabul’s busy Kart-e-Char locality.

Kart-e-Char is a different place from what it was until recently. No dust, no mud, and no potholes—instead, well-spaced sidewalks and freshly planted saplings make the locality a pleasure to walk in. As Jamshid says, “Now the condition of the roads is very good and this has had a positive impact on business. Earlier, this street was muddy and people would walk in, dirtying our shop.”

Kart-e-Char is one of the oldest areas in District 3 in the capital city. The localities in District 3 have benefited from the Kabul Municipal Development Program (KMDP), under which Kabul Municipality has been paving streets, and building sidewalks, culverts, and drainage systems in the city.dra

The Kart-e-Char project in District 3 took only a short time to complete in 2016, developing 33 lanes, totaling 4.5 kilometers in length. Drains ensure the lanes remain free of waterlogging and culverts that connect them with main streets provide easy access for pedestrians and small vehicles.

Better city infrastructure translates directly to a visible improvement in the quality of life for the thousands who live in the upgraded areas. Najibullah, a resident of Naw Abad Deh Dana area in District 7 is grateful for the work carried out under KMDP. With the redevelopment of Deh Dana streets, it is no longer mud and water that greet visitors but wide, clean sidewalks. 

Commuting costs have also come down as a result of the locality upgrade. Najibullah says that taxi fares have halved, “Earlier, taxis would charge 150 afghanis (about $2.25), but now travel cost has almost halved to 70 afghanis since they come willingly to our lanes.” Garbage disposal has become easier too, resulting in cleaner streets.

“Overall, KMDP has redeveloped many streets and lanes,” says Mustafa Masoud, a KMDP road engineer. “The quality of life for over 13,000 families living in Districts 2, 3, and 7 have improved as a result of work carried out under KMDP.”

Project Close to Target

With a $110 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), KMDP aims to increase access to basic municipal services in selected residential areas of Kabul city; redesign Kabul Municipality’s Financial Management System to support better service delivery; and enable early response in the event of a relevant emergency.

KMDP is expected to benefit over 770,000 people throughout the capital city through services provided in some 1,770 hectares of government-owned land. So far, there are more than 500,000 direct beneficiaries (almost 295,000 from upgraded roads and more than 235,000 from trunk roads) and over 200,00 indirect beneficiaries, including students and staff of several schools and institutions of higher education. About three quarters of the beneficiaries are women and children. In addition, more than 1.5 million man-days of temporary employment have been generated.

To date, some 1,600 hectares have been upgraded, reaching almost 90 percent of the targeted area. KMDP had built about 18 kilometers of trunk roads. The upgraded areas have benefited from the construction of about 247 km of neighborhood roads and about 330 km of community drains. Work has been executed to high standards as the technical designs are subject to quality assurance and quality control procedures on par with international standards.

Boost to Local Business

With the implementation of the KMDP project, municipality challenges, such as unpaved streets, dusty environment, damaged drainage system, waterlogging, and lack of culverts, have been overcome in the upgraded localities in Kabul.

Within District 7, KMDP has developed 67 streets and lanes, totaling nearly 9.5 kilometers. This has eased pedestrian passage and improved access to basic municipal services. “The streets used to be really mucky,” says Omidullah, a student living in District 7. “I used to carry an extra pair of boots —the one I wore was just good enough to be able to walk on the muddy streets, but I needed the second pair to wear inside the classroom at university.”

With better streets, clearly, business is also booming. “I had to take my children personally to school when the streets were muddy and difficult to walk, and had to lock up my shop for an hour or two,” says Abdul Bashir, a shop owner in District 7.  “Also in the past, the dust would settle on my wares and customers were not interested in buying from my shop. Things are much better and people are eager to buy from my shop.” Kabul may have its fair share of problems but poor city infrastructure may soon be a thing of the past.