Kabul Afghanistan Nightlife

Kabul's burgeoning tech-savvy hipsters are a far cry from 2001, when entire neighborhoods were reduced to piles of rubble during the country's civil war the previous year. In recent years, another Kabul has emerged, with smothered streets, car bombs, and dismal security conditions masking the most dire security concerns, including a resurgent Taliban advancing into urban centers and an Afghan branch of ISIS emerging from numerous provinces.

As US troops have returned home in waves to end America's long war, Taliban insurgents have been emboldened and moved closer to the capital. The Taliban's other tactical approach speaks volumes about its increasing sophistication, and that speaks volumes about the country's security situation after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government, known as intra-Afghan talks, are being held under the terms of the agreement Washington signed with the insurgents in February. The Taliban's leadership council is based in Kabul, its political office in Qatar, and Islamabad has been critical of the insurgents conducting the peace talks. It is a delicate but pragmatic compromise reached after the fall of the Taliban, the result of a lack of political will on the part of the thousands of foreigners who work in and around Kabul and generally enjoy drinking.

There are two bars serving cocktails, wine and beer, an outdoor and indoor restaurant serving exotic French cuisine that would be welcome in Paris, and a bar for Muslims who are not allowed to drink but whose presence is unthinkable in an Islamic state - Afghanistan. Irish pub, which is fully stocked and serves whiskey and cold beer. In Taliban times this would have been unimaginable; under Taliban it was unthinkable.

There are also a few bars and clubs, and you can also meet Afghan ladies in these places or take the ladies out for dinner or coffee. All cafes and restaurants in Afghanistan are open until midnight, but only for a limited period, usually from midnight to 5 a.m.

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The Afghan capital gives us an insight into the lives of young people, their families and friends. While Kabul is a city of blacked-out streets and barred windows at dusk, a handful of restaurants and cafes attract a class of Afghans who benefit from an economy that has been sustained for more than a decade by the presence of hundreds of thousands of Westerners.

The latest talk of the city is the back room, where customers can sing Afghan, Western and Arab hits on a neon-lit stage. The problem with most places is to abide by the law, as they Alcohol, which is illegal, and armed Afghan guards at the gate do not let guests or their Afghan compatriots in because they serve liquor that good Muslims should not drink. Afghan bouncers keep Afghans away by checking ID cards and requiring guests to register. Weddings are also a popular activity in beauty salons, where women are usually made-up - something most foreigners in the Afghan capital probably wouldn't have expected.

It is sometimes different, but walking around Kabul as a foreigner does not make the city safer for Afghans. Many may think foreigners are protected by the supposed danger, but I dare say I had to behave myself and fear, or even fear, for my life in it.

I remember the golden age of Kabul nightlife when I enjoyed working as a security guard at Kabul airport in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I was told that I met some of the most talented, well-travelled and talented young men and women from all over the world in bars and clubs. They told me that this was the "golden age" for Kabul's nightlife, where thousands of homesick foreigners danced, drank banned alcohol, and ate Western food, oblivious to the reality of a war zone around them.

More About Kabul

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