The second part of “the Horrors of Afghanistan” isn’t so scary and depressive as the previous one… Or are we just used to it?
The hotel in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
These Russian guys are UN contractors. They fly and maintain helicopters. Their mission here lasts 4 months but almost all of the time they spend in the hotel – to go out of the gate is forbidden. Very dangerous. The guys get 150.000 rubles (about $ 5.350) monthly. They like the hotel they live in. “Until yesterday the conditioner in our room was broken and at night it was really hot – 35 C. Now it’s repaired, the temperature is ok, 29 C. Basically, here we have everything we need – food is served, clothes are washed, we sleep in comfortable beds and use the Internet.”
As for the heat, the guys are right, it’s unbearable. In daytime the temperature reaches 50. When you open a car window, it seems like a hairdryer blows on you with hot air. But if you close it, you can simply suffocate. Cars with air conditioning are rare.
A reception desk. As we already wrote, foreigners are treated not very well here, so all the places where white people live are well guarded.
6 a.m, children play soccer in a small dust storm.
The guard of the hotel.
The local market is very colorful and looks like those of the Middle Ages. A perfect place for shooting historical films. There is no central sewage system in the city, but there are gutters along the streets in which all the wastes and garbage are thrown in. The stench is terrible.
The city dump is huge, smelly and very beautiful! Look, what wonderful caves in the slopes! Let’s see who lives in there…
About 100 drug addicts constantly hang about in these caves. Here they use heroin. But, in contrast to Kabul junkies, these ones are very friendly and ready to communicate.
A dose of heroin in Afghanistan costs only $ 2. It’s as much as a tin of RedBull or a ripe watermelon. A kilogram of heroin will cost $ 2.000. By the way, the local addicts prefer smoking heroin rather than injecting. It is heated on foil and inhaled through a straw.
One of the addicts’ name is Masi. He has been using heroin for more than 20 years. When the Taliban came to power, his family fled from Afghanistan to Moscow. Masi entered Moscow State University but couldn’t finish his studies – in the 90’s Germany conducted a program of repatriation of the Germans living in the former Soviet Union and Masi’s parents somehow convinced the authorities that they were German and emigrated to Germany.
The family settled in the new place. Masi gradually taught German, but his friends still remained the expatriate Soviets. One of them, an Uzbek, hooked him on heroin. After a few drives to the police, it turned out that he was in the country illegally and was sent home – to Afghanistan. The family, however, stayed in Germany.
Now he has neither a job, nor any prospects to get it. He lives in a cave on a garbage heap, and his only source of income – 200 euros sent by his parents every month.
This guy has just used a dose and now tries to stay on his uncontrollable feet.
That’s how the stinking gutters that run along all the streets of the city look.
There are special people who sometimes clear them. Look how much rubbish this man got out of only one corner. The water is completely black and similar in consistency to oil.
In some places the water isn’t very dirty, and kids bathe there with great pleasure!
Not thinking of typhoid and cholera that now are spreading all over the city…
Porn is sold right on the streets.
As well as stolen mobile telephones.
Here you can cut off a piece of ice for yourself.
Local wool carpets cost from 100 to 500 dollars. But it will be difficult for you to buy them if you have no cash with yourself. There are no ATMs in the city! To be more precise, there are two of them, but both are broken! The nearest one is located in Kabul.
In Mazar-i-Sharif, many people speak Russian, probably because of the close location to Uzbekistan. The Beriozka shop (“birch” from Russian)
The main attraction of Mazar-i-Sharif is the Blue Mosque. According to local legend, it’s the tomb of the Caliph Ali whose body was stolen by kidnappers. For this reason, Mazar-i-Sharif is a place of worship, especially for the Shiites. The real tomb of the Caliph Ali is located in Najaf in Iraq.
It’s quite clear here.
And lots of pigeons.
There are very few Taliban in northern Afghanistan and they immediately stand out from the crowd.
Compare these evil Taliban thugs.
And this kind Uzbek. It’s very easy to distinguish them. The Taliban look at you like at a piece of meat in a store.