Afghanistanis have embraced the global trend of online shopping, but not for the same reasons as the rest of the world. Still a very volatile political scenario in the country, with the threat of violence at any time or place being imminent, and almost expected, the people show a marked preference for shopping for everyday goods online because it keeps them out of harms way. Where a month or two ago there were a couple of pioneers in this nascent service niche, there are now more than a dozen, retailing anything from FMCGs to high-end luxury goods from abroad.
According to some of the local residents of Kabul, the primary reason that most women prefer to go online to buy their daily groceries and other household goods is because of the rampant sexual harassment that exists. In spite of potential progress that has been made in Afghanistan, following the major part of the conflict of the last decade and a half, there still exists extreme misogyny that is so rampant that it makes the women of Kabul fear for their safety to have to step out of their homes to do anything. With the advent of service providers like AzadBazar.af, for example, offering services that do the shopping on behalf of the women, or allow women to order products that the store keeps in stock, the threat of having to endure sexual harassment has been removed from the equation.
As Afghanistan moves ahead to rebuild and re-establish itself as a nation, while still battling the difficulties of insurgency and the Taliban threatening the peace, it seems that small initiatives based on a growing technological infrastructure in the country will help keep up the momentum for the return to a more normal way of life for its people.