10 Photos You Didn't Expect Out Of Kabul

Sameera Ehteram
You will be surprised to see these photos from Kabul.

There is more to Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul than war; restrictions on the basic freedom of women and extremism.

Currently, it is transforming from a war torn capital to an vibrant cosmopolitan hub.

Kabul, though changing, is still weighed down by infrastructure problems and instability. However, shopping malls and cafes are not only standing in the city, they are thriving with youth and activity.

A customer sits at a barber shop in Kabul.

Not too long ago, shaving a beard or being clean shaven would have landed a person in jail.

A security guard sits in front of a barber shop with vibrantly painted with female figures - a stark contrast to the recent past of the city.

Afghanistan is preparing for an election on April 5 that should mark the first democratic transfer of power in the country's history, but it has been hit by a wave of violence. The Islamist Taliban movement has ordered its fighters to disrupt the polls and threatened to kill anyone who participates. However, political awareness and a yearning for change are heavy in the air.

The capital is emerging as a home to a vibrant youth scene of musicians, artists, athletes and activists.

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This photo shows Afghan pop singer Arash Barez signing a notebook for his fan after a concert.

Here’s a scene that would be unimaginable during the Taliban days – a couple walk hand-in-hand at a local bazaar in the city.

Not long ago, men and women were prohibited from intermingling and could not be seen relaxing at a café together.

A female soccer player practices during a training session.

Saying that the air in Kabul is changing for the better would be absolutely on the mark. Yes, the Afghan capital may still be rife with tensions and threats, but the city is gradually returning to its former glory.