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The construction of the second stage of government residential blocks in Kabul worth $1 billion has been awarded to a private company, the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs and Housing said on Wednesday.

The Khwaja Rawash Project stage 2 includes 175 blocks with over 14,000 apartments, Minister Hassan Abdullahi said, and signals one of the first public-private partnerships for the Afghan government in the housing sector.

"The ministry policy in housing is to support the private sector. The private sector is to build the houses and give to the people at a low price according to their incomes," Abdullahi said.

The joint investment by the government and private sector is being constructed in Kabul's Kasaba area and is based no strict engineering criteria, he said.

Executive Head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries Mohammad Qurban Haqju welcomed the project.

"It is great that a big project is going to be built according to modern housing in the 21st century like housing in the US and Europe. Also the handicapped and disabled should have access to the apartments," he said.

The project is expected to be finished in four years, according to the ministry.

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