Kabul's Bush Bazaar

Cases of U.S. military MREs i i

Cases of U.S. military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for sale in the Bush bazaar. Shopkeepers say some MREs come directly from the base, others are sold to the market by refugees, after MREs are distributed to them as food aid. Ivan Watson, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ivan Watson, NPR
Cases of U.S. military MREs

Cases of U.S. military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for sale in the Bush bazaar. Shopkeepers say some MREs come directly from the base, others are sold to the market by refugees, after MREs are distributed to them as food aid.

Ivan Watson, NPR
Vendor Abdul Satar displays a pair of Italian combat boots. i i

Vendor Abdul Satar displays a pair of Italian combat boots. Goods from the other NATO military forces deployed in Afghanistan have also begun appearing in the Bush Bazaar. Ivan Watson, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ivan Watson, NPR
Vendor Abdul Satar displays a pair of Italian combat boots.

Vendor Abdul Satar displays a pair of Italian combat boots. Goods from the other NATO military forces deployed in Afghanistan have also begun appearing in the Bush Bazaar.

Ivan Watson, NPR

The US military has been deployed in Afghanistan for almost five years now. The presence of tens of thousands of foreign troops has had an effect on the local economy. One unusual market is an unforeseen by-product of the American military deployment.

The market, which specializes in goods scavenged from the U.S. military, is dubbed the Bush Bazaar. Shops are crammed with crates of Gatorade, meal rations, electronics and toiletries.

One shopkeeper says most of the goods he sells are leftover rations dumped by American military units when they leave the country. The majority of Afghan shoppers who come to the market buy juice, soap and canned fruit.

Closer inspection reveals that much of the food on the shelves has expired. Some of the goods are also counterfeit. One mustachioed vendor, Abdul Satar, insisted that some used combat boots in his possession were American, even though they bore Italian labels.

The Bush Bazaar is only three years old, but locals say there was a similar market here in the 1980s, at the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It sold Russian goods, and it was called the Brezhnev Bazaar.

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