• Short Summary

    Slowly, and with some growing pains, Afghanistan is emerging from feudal times.

    SYNOPSIS: In the past?

  • Description

    Slowly, and with some growing pains, Afghanistan is emerging from feudal times.

    SYNOPSIS: In the past decade some parts of the country have started to take on a new appearance. Perhaps the place where the change is most evident is Kabul -- capital of the landlocked mountain state. Since 1973 President Mohammed Daoud has held the reins of power-- seized from King Zahir Shah in a military coup. During that time he's used money from the Soviet Union, China and Middle Eastern Gulf states to help develop his country. Hosing for its 16 million people has bee a priority and medium density blocks of flats are going up quickly and efficiently.

    Life is a little slower in the ancient town of Istalef -- 75 kilometres (50 miles) from Kabul. Although it was completely destroyed int he Anglo-Afghan war last century it was rebuilt and its life style has changed little since Alexander the Great passed through it on his way to India many chantries ag. One improvement since feudal times is an open channel of water that runs through the street -- used daily by shopkeepers to scoop water from to dampen the hot dusty pavement outside their shops.

    Ancient crafts are very much alive and superb pottery, intricate carvings, leatherwork and richly woven carpets sell well to local people and tourists alike on the open air street stalls.

    The Afghanistan sheepskin coat if famed throughout the world. Cured and tanned by local people the skins are brought into town and made up by the tailor for all to see. sewing sheepskin is a laborious task and by hand even more so. Choosing a coat is also a serious business--it has to last a long time and keeps its owner warm during the freezing Afghanistan winter. It's a leisurely business and it's not a bad idea to take along a few friends for a second opinion.

    Afghanistan is also improving its agriculture. Not far form Istalef the wheat crop was being bar vested. This year's been a particularly good one and the farmer are overjoyed. Mechanisation hasn't reached the fields yet but there are many willing hands to bring in the grain in the age old way. This year it's expected the wheat crop will be up to 15 per cent more than last year.

    Now the grain is ripe the only problem's the birds. But like their counterparts throughout the world the boys -- young and old -- don't seem too worried about talking time off from their work to frighten them off with slingshots and catapults. Threshing the wheat is also done by hand. All the family helps -- including the four legged ones.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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