Photographer: Victor J. Blue /Bloomberg
Photographer: Victor J. Blue /Bloomberg

Afghan Days: A Look at Life, Labor, and Commerce in Kabul

The U.S. has spent some $700 billion on the Afghan conflict since 2001, more than tripling local incomes in that time and spurring the country's nominal gross domestic product to expand fivefold. As that spigot closes, growth is slowing. Photographs by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Pedestrians make their way through an underpass in downtown Kabul.

Food vendors grill kebabs in a busy area of downtown.

A vendor polishes a pair of shoes in a secondhand shoe stall. Afghanistan's economy expanded 1.7 percent in 2014, down from 12 percent two years earlier, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Boys sell fabric on the street in the neighborhood of Kut-e-Sangi.

A craftsmen polishes lapis lazuli stones in a workshop. GDP growth is projected at 2.5 percent this year.

A map of Afghanistan carved from lapis lazuli stone is displayed for sale.

A customer buys a centerpiece for a wedding on "Flower Street," a street known for its floral shops, in the Shar-i-Now neighborhood.

Shoppers make their way through a commercial district in the neighborhood of Kut-e-Sangi.

A cyclist rides his bike past an amusement park. Foreign investment has fallen, trade is depressed, and mining projects have failed to see much progress.

A girl looks at raisins drying in a field near the Deh Sabz district.

A craftsman sits next to a large, finished tandoori oven outside a workshop in Kabul. The oven, used to bake the staple Afghan bread naan, takes from three to five days to build and costs around $185. 

A tailor sews a garment at a shop in the neighborhood of Kut-e-Sangi.

A man prays inside a flower shop on "Flower Street."

Laborers load buses with goods for transport bound for the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Used watches are displayed for sale the neighborhood of Kut-e-Sangi.

A patient waits in a dentist's office. Economic expansion has slowed as the U.S. withdraws its soldiers and cash.

A merchant advertises available phone numbers at a mobile phone store in the downtown area.

Shotguns, air rifles, and Kalashnikov rifles are displayed for sale at a market. More people in the country were killed or wounded in the first half of 2015 than in the same period a year earlier, according to the United Nations.

A sidewalk barber gives a haircut and shave.

A vendor prays at his market stall.

A vendor sells flowers outside the ruins of the iconic Darul Aman Palace, built during the reign of King Amanullah Khan. The building was damaged by fire and by heavy shelling in the country's civil and Soviet–Afghan wars.

Buildings stand in the neighborhood of Karte Sakhi in Kabul.