One of Afghanistan's few reconstruction bright spots these days is found in the capital, where a sense of normalcy is slowly returning after almost a quarter century of conflict. As Edward Grazda's photo essay shows, Kabul is in the midst of a construction boom.
Since November 2002, Kabul has been transformed. Construction cranes are everywhere. A huge new US Embassy is being built with construction going on around the clock. High-rise office towers and hotels financed by Iranian, Turkish, Chinese and Afghan investors have drastically altered the once low-rise Kabul skyline.
In late 2002 there was one internet cafe, now there is one on almost every downtown block and the World Wide Web now extends into virtually every Kabul neighborhood. There is even an internet kiosk at Kabul airport. The old Kabul Hotel, scene of the February 1979 assassination of then US Ambassador Adolph Dubs, is being transformed into a five-star hotel by the Aga Khan's Serena Hotel Chain.
Diners - those who can afford it - mostly foreign workers - can now choose from Chinese, Indian, German, Iranian, Thai and Italian restaurants. Satellite phones have been replaced by cell phones - some people carrying two - one from each of the two phone service providers in the capital - since it is almost impossible to call from one carrier to the other. In every neighborhood, Afghans are working on their own to rebuild their bombed out homes.
Two new private airlines - Kam Air and Pamir have started internal air routes competing with the national Ariana Air lines. Traffic and pollution are only getting worse. While Kabul is not like most areas of Afghanistan, where security concerns are still very real, the construction and entrepreneurial activity offer a sign of hope for a better future.
Photographer Edward Grazda has made repeated visits to Afghanistan over the years. He documented the dramatic changes that decades of warfare have wrought in Afghanistan in his book "Afghanistan Diary: 1992-2000."