City of Light – Kabul

kabul-development-projects

Kabul over the years due to occupation and civil unrest has fallen to rubble in many parts of the city, and much of the cities structures are used for makeshift shelter. Many of us would love to see the great city of Kabul revived and brought back to shine brighter than it ever has with the City of Light development plans. The urban reconstruction plan for Kabul known as City of Light is development project that will revitalized the city of Kabul and rejuvenate commerce and the cities way of living. The plan originally proposed by Hisham N. Ashkouri is a design project that will cover roughly a  3.5km long and 1.75km wide area in the heart of Kabul. When completed the design will embody the art and culture of the city, with colors and patterns similar to the popular rugs and artwork that the city so heavily cherishes. Many contractors have been consulted, and have voiced their opinion on the project, including California businessman Joe Shier. Joe who owns a solar company in Santa Ana California, was said to have consulted on the project regarding proposed solar power, and solar screens for the project. I reached out to Joe at his business www.solarpanelssantaana.com and asked more about his thoughts. Joe said the project was intended to resemble past successful development projects using an Arid Region Design Technique relying primarily on concrete for high rises, which will all be fitted with solar screens. Joe said the project was large, and would dramtically change the look and feel of the city. “It would be a beautiful integration of public space, commerce, living, and culture” said Joe about the proposed design. However yesterdays attacks in Kabul, and the overall unrest in the country did make Joe and others skeptical of the project and nervous of its long term success. Like we have discussed here, financing for projects such as this are contingent on high success probabilities and low risk. Lenders will be reluctant to support such an endeavor if they do not see the possibility of a return, and especially if they question if they will even get their original investment back if the city falls into unrest and terrorist attacks. The hopes and dreams of an entire city will most likely go unrealized because of the dogmatic actions of a few extremists. “Nobody wants to invest in a city that might just get blown up.” said John in our last conversation.  (more…)

24 Jul 2016

Kabul Afghanistan Terrorists Attack 7/23

Today Saturday July 23rd, over 80 people were killed in an attack by the Islamic State on a group of protestors who were protesting a multi million dollar power line that was routed to go through Bamian, a province dominated by Hazara in central Afghanistan. Over 230 people were additionally wounded in this attack which has been reported to have been done by three people wearing explosive belts. This incidence has been the most deadly attack since the 2001 extraction of the Taliban led by U.S. forces and said to have been committed with the intent of spawning a civil war. Of the three terrorists involved in the attack, only one explosive belt went off. The other belt failed to detonate, and the third culprit was shot and killed by security. Thankfully only one explosion occurred, but it still amounted to cause a significant amount of harm.

Acts like this have been waged between the divided ethnicities of Afghanistan, the Shiite and the Sunni before, however this was one of most deadly in history. Bamian which is dominated by Hazara’s are predominately Shiite, and most of the Afghanistan is Sunni, so this act of terror was economical for the impoverished Hazara (who want the power lines), but it was also rooted in an age old ethnic divide.

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23 Jul 2016

Security and the Economy

Afghanistan’s economic growth has been stale, because from the outside, Afghanistan still appears to be very risky. Many uncertainties politically has resulted in diminishing confidence of the private sector, and lessened activity. This has lead to marginal growth over the past couple years and economic turbulence for much of Afghanistan. Kabul being one of the fastest growing cities in the world has felt the brunt of these lessened economic activities and in turn resulted in more violence and unrest. Agriculture which has been the biggest contributor to Afghanistan’s GDP historically is down from previous years and the growing population is feeling the effects of this, especially in poorer areas reliant on agriculture. Growth is expected to be slow over the next few years and much of the financial future is thought to be contingent on Afghanistan creating political and security stability which will help bolster private sector confidence.

There is much uncertainty in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan and the global political system works heavily off speculation and confidence. Despite attempts at improving local and national political situations, Afghanistan as a whole is seen as unstable and thus not suitable for the sizable capital needed to turn the economy around. Investors need to have faith in the local political system to defend and honor their investments, because without that faith, the risk is simply too large. There are many suitable markets for investors these days, and Afghanistan must do what’s in their power to be competitive globally and earn the investment of the private sector. If not, Kabul and the rest of the country will live in isolation of global investment, and simply rely on organizations like the world bank and IMF to provide loans in order to stimulate the national economy. And these loans are unsustainable if there are not accompanied with other flows of investment into the country. Afghanistan long term needs to create more opportunities for trade that are net positive for the country, which can be through an increase in agriculture, manufacturing, labor and more.

Security in general needs to improve in order for commerce to continue to rise domestically and to establish confidence with outside investors. Nobody wants to throw their money into uncertainty, and currently Afghanistan is demonstrating overall uncertainty.

 

22 Jul 2016

Water Management Gone Wrong

Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan, for those unaware. Kabul sits at an elevation of over 5800 feet, at the merging of three bodies of water. With Kabul’s population of about 4 million people, a very high percentage (70-80%) do not have access to clean drinking water. That is just Kabul alone. In Afghanistan, with a population of 30 million people, clean accessible water is a topic. Where it comes from and how much clean water is available, is a talked about amongst geologists, the people of the country, and those that understand the urgency.

When brought up, Afghanistan is thought of as the country of war and conflict. The war on water and the conflict of lack of it is not thought of. So what is going on and what actions is the afghan government taking to utilize whatever water resources are available?

Many of the current issues that Afghanistan face, specifically speaking of it’s water supply, are directly influenced by the wars that have continued on for decades. They have left the country harmed in many ways. Yet the wars are not the single source contributing to the water crisis.

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20 Jul 2016

Kabul Afghanistan

There is a lot to enjoy about Kabul, Afghanistan. Enjoy this short video while we elaborate on our projects throughout Kabul.

19 Jun 2016