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Afghanistan's Broken Postal System

Photographs by Lawrence Cohen

The address side of this postcard prepared by and canceled for the author shows the chaotic state of postage in Afghanistan recently. The stamp on the left celebrated the birthday of King Zahir Shah in 1969. The 1974 stamp on the right pictures his cousin Daoud — the man who deposed him in 1973, and was assassinated in 1978 when the Communists came to power. Both stamps were still for sale and in postal use when this card was canceled in 2005.

Blue and orange striped bags of mail await attention at the Herat Post Office. Where and when they'll be dispatched is anyone's guess.

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