Clean living, Afghan style: Bathtime in Kabul


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The Independent Online

With few homes in Afghanistan featuring their own private bathrooms, communal bathing is popular enough to support more than 250 public facilities in the capital, Kabul, alone.

On Fridays, many men in Afghanistan traditionally pay hour-long visits to the steam-laden rooms of their local bath houses – at a cost of between 20 and 30 Afghanis (25p to 40p) – before they go to group prayers at their mosques.

Few of these offer much luxury, however, with only 40 per cent estimated to meet the standards set down by the Ministry of Public Health. They are also considered to be breeding grounds for diseases that are easily passed from person to person using shared towels.