Shelled mercilessly throughout the civil war, much of West Kabul still lays in ruins. But today these ruins pulse with life. Bombed out buildings host a wide range of small businesses, from bakeries to carpentry workshops, and also serve as playgrounds for children and grazing areas for herds of urban sheep. Kabul's ever-rising number of heroin addicts lurks inside a massive complex that once hosted Soviet-style governmental institutions while, out in the streets, unlicensed food stands feed Kabul's working class. A young vendor said: "Policemen do not disturb us these days but I hope they will not come after us in the future. The police must allow poor people to work."
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