Set up in southwestern Kabul in 1961 during the reign of King Zahir Shah, Jangalak quickly became the nucleus of Afghanistan’s emerging proletariat and took center stage during strikes and labor protests. In the late 1980s, the upwardly mobile neighborhood was being inhabited by western-educated technocrats and civil servants.
But the continuous fighting since 1992 has not been kind to Jangalak. It was caught between rival warlords with an ethnic grudge to settle and endured an unstoppable hail of fire from the surrounding hills, forcing most to flee.
The years following the US invasion of Afghanistan, the eerie industrial park has filled up with ghosts of the past. Many returning refugees, unable to afford the capital’s inflation-struck economy, have sought refuge in Jangalak. More came from the countryside, where the war against the Taliban has entered its tenth year.
Iason Athanasiadis is an Istanbul-based freelance journalist.