By Farid Behbud and Chen Xin
KABUL, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- The war-weary residents of this Afghan capital have been preparing for the Muslims' biggest festival, Eid-ul-Adha, to be celebrated on Friday but Zamari is frustrated with the skyrocketing prices.
"I come to bazaar for shopping, but everything costs higher in comparison to last year's Eid-ul-Adah festival. I cannot afford to buy new clothes and shoes for my children," Zamari, 35, who, like many Afghans, goes only by one name, told Xinhua on Thursday.
Eid-ul-Adha, also known as festival of sacrifice, is celebrated worldwide on the 10th day of Duhl-Hijja, the last month of the Islamic year.
During the festival, residents of Kabul would visit their relatives and prepare several kinds of cookies and sweets beside dried and fresh fruits at home to show their charity and clemency of being Muslim. They would also butcher cattle or sheep and distribute the meat to the poor.
Like other Islamic countries, Afghanistan will celebrate Eid-ul- Adha on Friday, Oct. 26, with four days of holiday beginning from Thursday.
The economy of the war-torn country has improved significantly since the fall of Taliban regime in late 2001 as a result mainly of the multi-billion dollars fund donated to the embattled country by the international community.
However, Afghanistan still remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world and has remained dependent on foreign aid.
"The sellers have increased the price of the basic needs due to the devaluation of Afghanis against foreign currencies over the past couple of months," Zamari said.
According to the figures released by Da Afghanistan Bank, the Afghan central bank, on Thursday Oct. 25, one U.S. dollar was traded for 53.75 Afghanis, the lowest exchange rate for Afghanis since the beginning of the year while one U.S. dollar was 47.75 Afghanis in Oct. 24 last year.
Zamari, who took her three daughters to a market to buy some clothes, said that this year, everything comes at the same time -- the three-day Eid-ul-Adha and the start of the winter. "It is really a burden for all of us. As a result, I can't buy everything I need, particularly the firewood to make my house warm in the winter."
Afghan people believe that a decline in foreign aid and the closure of hundreds of foreign agencies could be the reasons for Afghanis to lose its value over the past moths.
"The sellers have increased the price of their foodstuff and other items, particularly the toiletries and clothing in the pretext of depreciation of local currency," said another resident, Shaffiqullah, 20.
"The government has failed to check the problem in exchange rate markets. We are discouraged by what is happening. The high exchange rate makes things too expensive. We are suffering from the economic woes aside from the ongoing conflicts," he said.
"The high dollar is hurting selling goods this year. The Eid is a good occasion for us to sell goods such as dry fruits which are produced in Afghanistan," a roadside vendor Mujibullah said.
"I brought several types of the dried fruits to sell. The markets are full of customers who only come to look. They will negotiate the price but leave without buying anything or just buying small quantities," the 34-year-old Mujibullah said.
Although Taliban regime had been driven out of power in late 2001 and factional fighting is finished, the restoration of a durable peace is still a dream for many Afghans as anti-government militants continue to carry out suicide attacks and roadside bombings that kill innocent civilians.
In the latest bombing in Kabul, eight South Africans, a Kyrgyz citizen, all working for a local aviation company, along with three Afghan civilians, were killed and 11 other injured when a suicide car bomb targeted a minibus carrying the aviation staff near the Kabul airport.
The Kabul police have already deployed more than 13,000 cops to maintain peace and order in this city with an estimated population of 4 million.
But the police force is no match to armed militants, mostly identified with the fundamentalist Taliban, who often sneaked into the city to wage suicide bomb attacks.