Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 24th, 2020

The Persistent Challenges of Kabul, the Capital City of Afghanistan

In recent years, Kabul population growth has been considered as one of the fastest growing populations in the world, increasing from few hundred thousand populations to estimated seven million people. Therefore, it facing multiple challenges including: water shortages, social crimes, unmapped city, air-pollution, environmental challenges, over traffics, overpopulation, poverty, and unemployment and so on. This article is aiming to provide a brief picture of main the challenges hoping to draw attentions of thinkers and actors for solving chronic challenges of this important city.
As pointed out, the first main problem of Kabul city is water shortage due to various reasons such as chronic droughts, lack of enough green area, poor water management, wastage of water by citizens and so on. Based on technical reports, annually around 22 meter of Kabul underground water is dropping. The experts emphasize that this problem is extremely worrysome and if the situation continues – with people using too much water – the water resources will farther drop. Therefore, the reduction of underground waters enumerated as an intensifying challenge needs to develop a comprehensive program to prevent the growing the water shortage.
The second main problem is rise of social crime in Kabul city. Almost every day, there are complains about social crimes including looting residential houses, killing students on Kabul streets and kidnapping traders in the work place. Few days ago, Ali Sina, a highly talented student of American University of Afghanistan, was killed when coming home. He was killed after he had resisted against robbers who tried taking his laptop and other property. As report quoted from MoI officials, 2632 criminal cases have been recorded within one last year which include: 523 deaths, 638 injuries, 26 kidnaps, 937 thefts and the rest reported as miscellaneous. However, MOI has launched a successful operation in recent days arresting dozens of criminals with their warm and cold weapons in order to be brought to justice. 
The third problem is disorganized structure of city due to lack of being built on the basis of a clear map. Therefore, Kabul is called an unmapped city. This issue is considered as a root problem for many other problems such as congested traffics, environmental pollution, air-pollutions, and social crimes and so on. Because of this problem the personnel and vehicles of Kabul Municipality cannot easily access to all parts of the city for collecting and management of waste. Thus, Kabul police cannot easily patrol everywhere so as to control the social crimes. When a citizen calls the police for help, it might take long time to reach and rescue the victim.
The fourth problem is overpopulation; as most of social and economical services are centralized in Kabul city, it attracted a lot of people from remote villages to Kabul city. Thus, unemployment and insecurity in the provinces are of the other factors which caused Kabul to be one of fastest growing cities in the world. Therefore, Kabul city not only hosts millions of people who are unfamiliar with the culture of urban life but also hosts millions of unemployed people who are struggling for self-preservation. The self-preservation factor compels them to loot or kill others so as to earn a living.
The fifth problem in Kabul city is air-pollution; as a result of overpopulation, using old vehicles, unmapped city, and lack of clean energy and so on, Kabul has repeatedly earned the position of most polluted city in the world. During the winter seasons, many of public and private health centers are filled with respiratory patients. According to experts, the danger of air-pollution is not less than danger of terrorists for families who live in Kabul city.
The last important problem is poverty which palys an important role in increase of social crimes in the city. Moreover, most of unemployed people fight for self-preservation through selling fruits, vegetables and second hand stuffs on the Kabul roads which causes a lot of traffics in the city. For example, if we take a walk to Qutta Sangi, Sinomaee pamir and Dashte Barchi areas, half of the roads are occupied the hawkers. Taken as a whole, Kabul does look like a capital city rather it looks like a paralyzed city due to multiple interconnected challenges as briefly explained. Given all these challenges and given that Kabul is considered as a symbol of entire culture of Afghanistan, it needs serious attention of thinkers, actors and even international community to address the challenges that it is facing currently