Afghanistan, postal service, GPS, Ghayor Waziri

Postman in Afghanistan don’t just have to worry about the ongoing civil war....

Just delivery the mail to houses is a problem because in Kabul there are often no street names and houses usually not numbered.

46-year-old Muhammad Rahim Khaksar arrives at the post office on his old bicycle.

He has been working as a postman for the past 10 years now and he picks up and delivers mail every day.

“This parcel comes from Iran, for Mr Ghulam Nabi in Dasht e Barchi district on Grave avenue. It’s not a famous street and the mail doesn’t have the exact house number as well. I hope I can find this address.”

He heads of in the heat on his bicycle to find the address. Every now and then he stops to ask for direction.

A shopkeeper tells him he is now on Grave Avenue but he doesn’t know the house we are looking for.

We’ve searched, and asked, and knocked doors, but we still can’t find Ghulam Nabis’ house.

After an hour, we finally meet the right person and give him the mail.

“This letter comes from my brother in Iran. We usually contact each other through mail because it’s more secure and cheaper. We’re happy with the postal service in Afghanistan.”

Postman Muhammad Rahim Khaksar says it’s a normal delivery.

“For example, we received a mail from the US. On the envelope, it’s written that this mail must go to Muhammad Husain in Dasht e Barchi – that’s all. But Dasht e Barchi is a big area. How can we find the address when thousands of people have the same name on the same address?”

54-year-old postman Nike Muhammad has been a postman for more than 30 years. It once took him five days to deliver one letter.

“We tried our best to find the address and deliver the mail in a few days. If we can’t find the address, then we return the mail to the sender. I have had to do that for so many times.”

Kabul’s population has boomed to five million, as people flee conflicts in the rural areas and coming looking for work. Much of the recent expansion is illegal.

Now the government is trying to create some order.

They are preparing a comprehensive address system where all streets and houses will be coded, numbered and mapped using GPS or Global Positioning System.

“If this project is implemented, all the addresses and maps are going to be modified in the future. Our postmen will have the map ready and there will be no problem in finding the address,” says Mohammad Naseem Rahimi, head of the Afghanistan postal service.

Postman Nike Muhammad and his colleagues are looking forward to that day.

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