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Afghans hope for end to violence

Written by: Staff
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Kabul, Dec 4 (UNI) "I will knock you down or get lost before you are thrown away," yelled a roadside moneychanger, clutching wads of dollars and local currency notes. He was charging furiously at a journalist trying to shoot his photo.

Before he swung into action, the newsman leapt into his waiting Toyota cab and sped away. The sight of such moneychangers and their aversion to media glare is not uncommon on dusty streets of this war-ravaged city where US Dollars appear in great demand over the Afghani, the local currency. Deals even at the street corner shops can be done in dollars. Moneychangers swarm around, proudly flashing wads of currency notes and beckoning visitors.

"We have survived rough weather with gashing mental wounds and such sights, currency problems etc. are usual in an abnormal situation. But (you must) appreciate the grit and courage of the local people, trying to rebuild the city while eking out bread any how," a 35-year-old hawker, sipping hot tea in misty morning in this wind swept city, told a visiting UNI Correspondent.

Winds of changes are palpable in the capital where a number of buildings had survived repeated onslaught of bombs and bullets during the past three decades of war and internal conflicts. However, their bullet scarred facade and walls are mute reminders of the scale of violence which was the order of the day during those troubled times.

Amid rows of faded tin signboards on shops, gleaming neon lights are also coming up outside a few swanky commercial establishments.

A large number of gun-wielding private security guards and posse of government guards speak volumes about the continuing volatile situation.

Pick-up vans, packed with well-built Pathans wrapped in heavy woollen shawls, screech past. "We will surmount all hostile environs-including long hours of disruption in electricity supply and lack of safe potable water, but no chance should be given for any breakdown in the government machinery, we are fed up with violence ," Haimd, a 25-year-old student said.

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