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Feature: Afghans celebrates Eid al-Adha amid security concerns, falling incomes

Xinhua, September 25, 2015 Adjust font size:

"I am happy to celebrate Eid al- Adha but I am concerned about the security situation here and particularly about the possibility of a suicide attack on our mosque, which will turn a happy day into a tragedy," Zamir Gul, a resident of Kandahar, told Xinhua.

Suicide attacks were not uncommon on the first day of the festival, the 36-year-old former stronghold of Taliban militants said.

Bargaining at a cattle market in Kandahar for a cow to sacrifice on the first day of Eid al-Adha festival, Gul said that conducting suicide attacks are a common practice of the militants, as has been proved in the past, and would likely be the case in the future.

Eid al-Adha, the Muslims' largest annual religious festival falls on Thursday and Muslims across the globe including Afghanistan celebrate it with fervor and solemnity.

Nevertheless, Gul complained about the high price of animals on sale at the market, saying the skyrocketing price of cattle has made it difficult for him to buy a cow to offer as a sacrifice during the festival.

Eid al-Adha is a three-day public holiday in the conflict- ridden Afghanistan during which the people, besides visiting the houses of relatives and friends to enhance cordial relations, also slaughter animals and distribute the meat to poor families.

"The prices of animals this year are much more than the prices last year," Gul said, adding that the price of a two-year-old cow is between 35,000 to 40,000 Afghanis (around 630 U.S. dollars), while it cost around 30,000 Afghanis last years.

In addition to rich families feeding those less fortunate, Afghans as a tradition buy a variety of sweets and confectionery to welcome guests during Eid.

During the three-day Eid holidays, both state-run and private audio and visual media outlets broadcast special programs including music and serials, which keep their audiences happy.

"My only dream is to have lasting peace in Afghanistan and right now I wish to enjoy the Eid al-Adha celebration in a peaceful environment," another Kandahar resident, Ahmad Gul, 23, told Xinhua.

"I am praying that the joyful days of Eid last forever," he added.

Wednesday was the last day for people to get their shopping and finalize preparations for Eid al-Adha, with the markets all hustle- bustle in the capital city of Kabul, which saw packed malls busy with people making last-minute purchases to welcome the Eid al- Adha.

But some shopkeepers maintained that their situations remained tough.

"Due to security concerns and economic hardships, our customers ' numbers have dropped in comparison to last year," a shopkeeper, Ghulam Sediq, told Xinhua.

He also said that many people due to economic problems do not have the same purchasing power they had last year.

The withdrawal of NATO-led forces from Afghanistan in 2014 has negatively affected the economic situation of the foreign-aid dependent Afghanistan, as numerous foreign and Afghan companies have withdrawn due to security concerns, leaving thousands of people jobless.

"I am hopeful that the government will put all necessary security measures in place to enable Afghans to celebrate Eid in a peaceful environment," Zulmai Khan, 65, told Xinhua while shopping for new clothes for his children in the mall," adding that his disposable income for shopping was less than it was last year. Endi