"After the Taliban, we started to make Christmas trees because lots of foreigners are around, and they are asking for them," said Eidy Mohammad as he decorated a tree at his shop, the Morsal Flower Store. "Business is growing — we had only the wedding season before, but now we have Christmas as well."
Picture: An Afghan woman clad with burqa passes by a decorated Christmas tree, which is displayed for sale, on Thursday December 21, 2006 in Kabul, Afghanistan. One of artificial Christmas trees, which weree imported, costs around US$25. The tree is pretty much expensive for an average Afghan working at an Afghan company: he earns about 50-60 dollars a month.
Unlike many non-Christian countries in Asia, Afghanistan does not recognize or celebrate Christmas. But thousands of foreigners who live in Kabul working with the United Nations, non-governmental organizations or international military forces, celebrate the holiday quietly in restaurants and behind military barracks.
Many shop at Flower Street for their holiday trees.
"Christmas is a good season for flower stores in Kabul," Mohammad said, adding that during the Taliban's rule, nobody was allowed to make Christmas trees in Kabul.
He has sold about a dozen Christmas trees, earning anywhere from US$20 to US$200 — a hefty sum for Afghans, many of whom make only about US$50 a month. The trees are from across Afghanistan and are adorned with Chinese-made artificial materials."I was amused when I saw trees with lights," said 29-year-old Abdul Qader. He thought the lit-up trees were a new fad in Afghan home deco, but he later found out they were for Christmas.
"They looked beautiful to me," he said with a smile. AP