Afghanistan: The Microrayons of Kabul

In the last seven years, a small city of concrete apartment buildings and shops has risen on the outskirts of Kabul, not far from the airport. It is the Soviet district, a miniature Moscow that is the center of a separate and reclusive world occupied by the thousands of Soviet civilians who live and work here.

Philip Taubman, “Kabul Journal; For Soviet Civilians, A ‘Nervous’ Life,” New York Times (24 January, 1987)

The “microrayon” is a region northeast of the city that consists of Soviet-style prefabricated buildings that were produced in a Soviet-constructed factory. At the time of the invasion, these multiple-storied concrete buildings pierced the skyline, and new restaurants, stores, supermarkets, and garages catered to the foreign colony and the growing Afghan middle class.

Lester W. Grau,”The Takedown of Kabul: An Effective Coup de Main,” in W.G. Robertson and L.A. Yates, eds., Block by Block: The Challenges of Urban Operations, US Army Command and General Staff Press (2003)

In Kabul, the modern Mikrorayon area, populated by civil servants and members of the Communist party, was probably more westernized than the bourgeois areas of Shahr-i naw (New City). Yet, Shahr-i naw was where social practices changed the most.

Gilles Dorronsoro, “Kabul at War (1992-1996) : State, Ethnicity and Social Classes,” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (2007)

Currently the acute shortage of housing in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul, has resulted in a great demand for the Microrayons…. It is very regrettable that such a valuable project has never been repeated and there is no plan to build similar housing units.

Azar Ahangar, “The Microrayons of Kabul,” Jadid Online (2007)

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I see there’s been a helicopter crash which perhaps conveniently has killed the navy seals team who reputedly killed Bin Laden. If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d be thinking, well, that’s the witnesses removed then. This is just too much coincidence for me.

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