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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 08:10 UK
The changing face of the Afghan capital

by Tulip Mazumdar
Newsbeat reporter in Afghanistan

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As Newsbeat prepares to leave Afghanistan for the second time this year, a stop-off in the capital offers the chance to look back at how things have changed for residents since the fall of the Taleban.

At first glance you could be in any normal big, bustling capital anywhere in the world. Market stalls line the roads in the busy city centre selling everything from live chickens to a roadside shave.

But this is Kabul and despite efforts from Nato troops, including British forces, to bring security and stability to the Afghan capital, life here is far from normal.

Ahmed Rashad is an 18 year-old English student in the city and said: "Every week we have explosions in every province of Afghanistan and suicide attacks. More people (being) killed."

But he also said that life now is better than it was under the Taleban.

"In the period of Taleban we were so poor and we could not live tranquil. The Taleban wanted to destroy Afghanistan," he added.

In recent months, attacks in Kabul have become more common, raising concerns that the Taleban is becoming stronger here again.

Kabul
Kabul is a busy capital like any other in the world

But most people agree that their standard of living has improved.

For example, statistics from Nato state that last year 83% of people had access to medical facilities compared to 9% in 2004.

One very obvious change that you see is the number of people out and about playing sport.

Outside the Olympic stadium on one of the grassless fields The Kabul Cricket Tournament gets underway alongside children flying their kites.

Shazadu Masood is head of cricket in Afghanistan and he said: "This is a good sign that we are playing cricket in a peaceful environment.

"Not only here, but in Helmand province which is a complicated province in Afghanistan"

Things are changing here, but for most it's not happening fast enough.

Nato forces are supposed to be handing responsibility for security over to the Afghans at the moment, but many people agree a meaningful full handover in the capital, let alone the rest of the country, is a long time off yet.



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