Afghanistan's chicken street Photograph:( AFP )
Foreign tourists used to throng chicken street hoping to buy Afghan antiques but not anymore.
Kabul’s iconic chicken street was once meant for foreign visitor, today, however, it is struggling to stay afloat amid the decades-long war.
The chicken street was once a thriving market - a narrow thoroughfare where traders hawked Afghan coats, silver ankle bracelets and pots. Despite 30 years of invasions, civil war, Mujahidin rockets and the Taliban’s reign of terror it still exists, and still sells Afghan coats, onyx chess boards, brass dishes and faux-antique.
Though it’s called chicken street but there are no chickens available but one thing this street never lacked was visitors. Foreign tourists used to throng chicken street hoping to buy Afghan antiques but not anymore.
Tourists are now a rarity in chicken street with unsold antiques piling up. Now, embassies and aid groups discourage their workers from shopping at the venue. The security situation around the market has been precarious keeping foreign tourists away.
Lapis lazuli is the big seller here - it’s a blue gemstone found in Afghanistan. Tables, crockery, beads, they make it here with Lapis Lazuli. Items are sold by their weight in pound but there is an acute problem that vendors face.
Outside the mouthwatering smell of kebabs grilling over charcoal in long metal trays on the sidewalks wafts along the street, the chicken street is a mere shadow of its former self. The hope is that once peace returns, tourists will once again throng these narrow streets.
(With Anas Mallick in Kabul)