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The Modern Face of Kabul

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Despite decades of conflict in Afghanistan, the country's capital city of Kabul is home to a vibrant youth scene, a handful of sleek shopping malls, cafes, and more. Reuters photographer Morteza Nikoubazl recently set out to document modern Kabul, populated by musicians, artists, athletes, and activists who are trying to live 21st-century lives in spite of massive infrastructure problems and the ever-present threat of militant attacks. Afghanistan is preparing for an election on April 5 that should mark the first democratic transfer of power in the country's history, but it has been hit by a tide of violence as the Taliban has ordered its fighters to disrupt the vote and threatened to kill anyone who participates. Many of the people in these images were happy to be photographed, but did not want to give their names. This photo essay is part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan. [26 photos]

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Mahmoud Hejran (2nd from left) and Zabih Hosseini (center), members of the Afghan band Tanin, play the guitar and sing as they travel back to their music studio after performing on a live TV program in Kabul on March 4, 2014. Despite decades of conflict in Afghanistan, and several recent militant attacks, the country's capital Kabul is home to a vibrant youth scene of musicians, artists, athletes and activists. Shopping malls and cafes stand in the city, which is nonetheless beset by infrastructure problems and instability. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Mahmoud Hejran (2nd from left) and Zabih Hosseini (center), members of the Afghan band Tanin, play the guitar and sing as they travel back to their music studio after performing on a live TV program in Kabul on March 4, 2014. Despite decades of conflict in Afghanistan, and several recent militant attacks, the country's capital Kabul is home to a vibrant youth scene of musicians, artists, athletes and activists. Shopping malls and cafes stand in the city, which is nonetheless beset by infrastructure problems and instability. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)
A customer stands in an Apple computer store at Majid shopping mall in Kabul's business district on March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An Afghan social activist and member of Peace Street NGO paints a graffiti on a wall of the education ministry building in Kabul on March 8, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Afghan artist Shamsia Hassani poses for a photograph on the roof of her graffiti workshop in Kabul on March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Youths sit in a cafe in Kabul on March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An interior view of the City Walk shopping mall in central Kabul, photographed on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A female soccer player controls a ball during a training session at the Golab Trust Sport Complex in Kabul on March 10, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Young people talk in an outdoor area of a cafe in Kabul on March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A woman paints at a private art institute in Kabul on March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An Afghan artist poses for a photograph at Turquoise Mountain Institute in Kabul on March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An Afghan couple climb the stairs as they carry an LCD-TV at a television, satellite and computer shopping center in Kabul on March 3, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A trader watches television as he sits in his shop in a television, satellite and computer shopping center in Kabul on March 3, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A couple walk hand-in-hand at a local bazaar in Kabul on March 13, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An Afghan man walks past a 3G logo in central Kabul on March 9, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Boys play computer games at a market in Kabul on March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A groom stands next to his car as he poses for a photograph just after leaving a barber shop in Kabul on March 6, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A security guard sits in front of a barber shop outside the Kabul-Dubai wedding hall in Kabul on March 8, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Afghan pop singer Arash Barez (left) signs a notebook for a fan after his concert at a ceremony to mark International Women's Day in the Kabul-Dubai wedding hall on March 8, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
An Afghan man roller blades along a street in Kabul on March 7, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Afghan videographers work during the filming of a live TV program at Negah private TV studio in Kabul on March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Afghan singer Matin (right) speaks to his girlfriend as they sit in a cafe in Kabul on March 4, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A wedding photographer shows bridal portraits at his photo studio in Kabul on March 6, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A customer sits in a barber shop in Kabul on March 12, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A female Afghan power-lifter demonstrates in a stadium in Kabul on March 8, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
A Bollywood film plays on an in-dash DVD player as a vehicle travels along a street in Kabul on March 6, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #
Afghan rapper Mahmoud Hejran poses for a photograph at his apartment, which is used as a music studio, in Kabul, on March 3, 2014. (Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl) #

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