Day after day, alone on a hill…

With the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan fast approaching, the Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow profiles the women of Tapaye Zanabad (the hill that women built.)

For the past decade, war widows have converged here and built by hand their mud hovels on a slope above a cemetery in an eastern neighborhood of the Afghan capital. They came at first because the land was free and they were poor. Police would fine or beat men for raising a settlement on government land, but the widows found that they could build if they were clever.

Hundreds of widows came, aid workers said, and they now number perhaps more than 1,000 on the hill and its surroundings. The first squatter homes have since morphed into a crowded community that has a private drinking water supply and spotty electricity. Most of the women have not been able to escape from wretched poverty, but they have preserved something far more unusual in a country dominated by men.

Read the whole thing.


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