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Current practice of earthquake engineering in construction industry in afghanistan and recommendations

MOJ Civil Engineering
Mojeeburahman Mashal, Ismail Sarwary
Kabul Polytechnic University, Afghanistan
Ismail Sarwary, Kabul Polytechnic University, Afghanistan


Earthquakes pose serious threats to life and infrastructure in Afghanistan especially in vulnerable densely populated cities such as Kabul. Active plate boundaries surround Afghanistan on the west, south, and east causing strong ground shakings in many parts of the country. These strong earthquakes often claim lives and cause social and economic losses to the nation. In order to reduce the extent of damage and loss of life during earthquake catastrophes, the effects of earthquake must be properly considered in design and construction of infrastructure including buildings, towers, bridges, dams, tunnels and other engineering structures that are constructed or will be constructed in regions of high seismicity in the country. In addition, parts of the country especially western Afghanistan are seismically inactive. In such regions, design and construction of infrastructure for large earthquakes will result in economic losses and inefficient use of resources. This paper evaluates the reliability and certainty of current practice of seismic design and incorporation of earthquake engineering principles in construction of civil engineering structures in seismically prone parts of Afghanistan.


Factors influencing earthquake engineering practice such as

  1. Reliability of seismic design input data or current earthquake hazard map,
  2. Proficiency of earthquake engineering practitioners and methods of structural analysis, and
  3. Adoption and enforcement of seismic design and construction standards are evaluated. This paper concluded that the current practice of earthquake engineering in Afghanistan is not adequately reliable and therefore building and other infrastructures are either under-designed or over-designed where both result in sub-standard infrastructure.

Under-designed structures threaten lives and cause economic losses during strong earthquakes, while over-designed structures are not economical and have wasted resources. At the end, recommendations are made to enhance the reliability of earthquake engineering practice in the country for producing earthquake tolerant infrastructure that will results in greatly reduced loss of lives and property.


Reliability, Engineering, Practitioners, Construction, Afghanistan, Infrastructure, Earthquakes