Author Archives: AAN Team

About AAN Team

Where exactly is Abbottabad, or A Vindication of Geography

Abbottabad (or, in the local pronunciation: Abtabad) has already risen to a status shared only by some of Calvino’s ‘Invisibles Cities’: that of a mysterious fairy land of which everybody talks but few know something for certain. In particular, when the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing broke, its exact distance from the Pakistani capital […]

Flamingo Watching in Dubai

‘Listen to the birds. That’s where all the music comes from.’ (The first of Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing) ‘If you can’t listen to them, watch them at least. It gives you some peace of mind after watching the war.’ (AAN Senior Birdwatcher Thomas Ruttig) No, the Emirates are not only megahigh-rises, never-ending […]

The Muhammad Omar everybody should listen to

In this Pashto Mashto blog, Fabrizio Foschini goes for a stroll in Kabul’s musical scene, according to his own, rather personal experience of it. I have always been a lazy student. When, on some Fridays, my ustad wakes me up shouting over the phone ‘Ahmad where the hell are you? Come, and today don’t bring your rubab! […]

PashtoMashtoLeaks (1): Bagram Calling

Yesterday, the BBC reported as follows: ‘President Barack Obama has told US troops in Afghanistan they are making crucial “progress” against insurgents. During an unannounced visit to Bagram air base near Kabul, Mr Obama said: “Today we can be proud that there are fewer areas under Taliban control.” He also spoke to President Hamid Karzai […]

Birding for Survival

Our Dutch ex-soldier-cum-birdwatcher HG Scheltema from Kandahar (see his bird list here(*) has a friend, a US National Guardsman from Connecticut who served in Iraq for a year in 2004/05: Birding Babylon. His name is Jonathan Trouern-Trend who wrote a blog on his bird-watching (see it here, it seems to be continued by other bloggers). Meanwhile, […]

If you want to learn Pashto…

Sean Mann, a research intern at our partner organisation TLO, has put together an online bibliography to Pashto learning materials. It includes textbooks, dictionaries, multimedia, radio, university courses, etc. It is called ‘Pashto Language Resources’ and is hosted on Christian Bleuer’s ‘Afghanistan Analyst’ website – use this link. You can start with the following sentence: کاڼه […]

Afghanistan Bird Watch 2: Birds on the Wire

Earlier this afternoon shortly before grey clouds rising over Paghman let the sun disappear and brought a short drizzle, three bottle-green parakeets darted across the airspace over our AAN garden, between the high pine trees, the grapevines (that did not carry this year) and the neighbouring house’s wall on which his pigeons gather. This reminded […]

Afghan civil society launches Access to Information campaign

This morning a large number of Afghan civil society organisations and several media organisations used the media attention surrounding the Kabul conference to launch a campaign highlighting the need for access to information and calling for the necessary legislation to be drafted. The demand is an important one. The pervasive ambiguity, the lack of clarity […]

Flash from the Past: Russian Advice on Afghanistan

‘In fact, we [the Soviet Union] were the first to defend Western civilization against the attacks of Muslim fanatics. No one thanked us.’ This is only one of the core sentences in an op-ed I almost had missed. It was co-authored by ex-General Boris Gromov, now the governor of the Moscow region who commanded the […]

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