[T]he water table is both contaminated and dropping. Neighbors race against one another, boring deeper and deeper wells. The only place in the city with an underground sewer system is Microrayon, a neighborhood the Soviets built in the 1960s and ’70s. The rest sends its sewage into open gutters or poorly built septic tanks that further pollute the groundwater.
On a related note, Jonathan Gourlay finds a model for our exit:
Afghans who wonder what life will be like after the U.S. leaves should look to Micronesia, which the U.S. never really left after the end of the Cold War brought an end to its military significance. Basically: more political independence and more economic dependence. The Federated States of Micronesia is a constitutional democracy whose economy is now run by a five-member board—three Americans, two Micronesians.
(Photo: A school boy residing in the hillside neighborhood of Jamal Mina high above Kabul walks to school past an open sewer on September 27, 2012. By Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images.)