Pashto Language Blog

Housing in Afghanistan and How Afghans Live Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 in Culture

When it comes to housing there are two totally different types of housing in Afghanistan, the traditional mud houses, and concrete houses and mansions.  In the cities you will see very modern architecture, beautiful mansions, but at the same time you might see a very traditional mud house next to it. A majority of the afghan population live in very traditional mud houses.

The mud houses, as its name describes them, are made of mud. The people use the local materials to build these houses, with no plumbing or proper sewer systems. The roofs are flat and are built using wooden poles, and then coated with a mixture of mud and straws.  Tall mud walls surround every house in order to provide security and privacy to those living in the house.  Usually more than one nuclear family live in one house,  and it is not uncommon to see up to  ten, fifteen, or even more people living in one dwelling; and this happens quite often in the urban areas where housing is a big problem.

Modern building materials are widely available throughout the country. In the cities there are some neighborhoods that have used contemporary architecture with houses that are western style. These neighborhoods also have houses that cost up to millions of dollars and are like mansions and palaces, renting up to ten thousand dollars per month.

In mud houses,  the rooms are built on one side of the court yard leaving space for a yard where people usually grow flowers, and make patio-like space where they can sit when the weather is nice. The inside of the rooms look quite different from the western style houses. The couches and tables are not used in the traditional style houses. There is usually a carpet on the floor with mattress and pillows alongside of each wall.  The accompanying video shows housing in Afghanistan.


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About the Author: Sayed Naqibullah

Sayed Naqibullah speaks Pashto and Dari as his native languages. Since 2004 he has been teaching Dari and Pashto and working as cultrual advisor to NGO workers, foreigners who live, work, or are visiting Afghanistan. Sayed has worked as a linguist for several companies that produce language course-ware. He has worked as a guide, interpreter and translator of a number of NGOs working in Afghanistan. Sayed is also a blog writer on Afghan culture and languages. He is the author of a Dari language textbook called “Dari as a Second Language”.


  1. Barbara Murphy-Bridge:

    Thank you ( Manana ) for the video. You have an excellent site and it very much appreciated!

    Barbara on Cape Breton island, Nova Scotia, Canada , this December 5, 2012

  2. shafiq:

    Asalam O Alikom,

    Does anybody know what is going in housing sector in Afghanistan? What is the progress in housing for citizens and housing policy on government side?

  3. John Regan:

    And these structures last a surprisingly long time as you know, Sayed. I spent three years in Afghanistan, traveled quite a bit around the country, and have very fond memories of your people. I’m primarily a wildlife guy, however, and concentrated a lot of effort on that. If interested check out my site called Afghan-Arabia Wild. I also wrote a book about the reptiles and amphibians of Afghanistan. By the way, I have pictures of some very modern and beautiful homes outside of Kabul.