Delivering mail in Kabul, where streets have no name

KABUL, July 15, 2013 (AFP) – In Kabul, many streets have no name and houses often have no number, meaning that postmen already braving the constant threat of suicide bombings must play detective to deliver mail. Such hard work is not well-rewarded in Afghanistan, which has 900 postmen nationwide with 100 in Kabul.

Agha earns just 5,000 Afghanis ($90) a month. Barely enough, he says, to feed his family of eight.

But he is hopeful that soon most streets and houses in Kabul will have a proper name and number.

“This is a good move by ministry to create a new postal system,” he says. “With the completion of this project, we could do our job more easily.” Mohammad Rahim makes his rounds on the tattered, hilly streets of the Afghan capital riding an old bicycle. After 10 years on the job he is undaunted by even the vaguest addresses on letters.

“Here we have a letter for a man who lives near Doctor Hashmat’s house,” Rahim, 46, says. “I don’t know the address, so let’s see, how can we find the right place?”

His only clues are the addressee Mohammad Naeem, the doctor’s name and instructions on the back of the envelope saying “Kart-e-Sakhi hilltop, behind the agricultural ministry”.

Wearing