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Welcome to Kabul! Here’s some brass knuckles

KABUL, Afghanistan — Ahmad pulled a set of brass knuckles from his pocket to demonstrate how unsafe he feels in his Kabul neighborhood. Occasionally he can also be found carrying a knife or gun for self-defense.

"During the night when people go to wedding parties in the city and they want to come back here, no taxi driver is ready to bring them," he said.

Such is life for the people of Company, a sprawling area on the fringes of Kabul. As the West focuses fighting in the countryside, this part of the Afghan capital has slipped unnoticed into lawlessness.

The bloodshed and intimidation are often evident only in the rumors and whispers that are uttered behind closed doors. But then they burst into the open, and another man is beaten or killed in the street.

Fingers are pointed at warlords, insurgents, corrupt officials and common criminals, depending on who is asked. All the residents who spoke to GlobalPost in recent months were scared to give their full identities.

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