Context & Culture

Memorials and Patrons: How northern Afghan elites try to own history

Elites in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and most important city in the north, have, in recent years, supported the building of new memorials and re-naming of the city’s streets and intersections. They are also sponsoring intellectuals and their literary and artistic output. These are politically driven cultural projects, attempts by the leading […]

A Break(dance) from the Elections: The street hits the Kabul stage

As election chaos and fraught discussions over Afghanistan’s future weary even the most passionate activist, there is a fringe of Afghans only minimally concerned with politics who spend their time… breakdancing? Not the most intuitive choice for young citizens of a country where many still frown on music and dance. Or perhaps it is the […]

Bala Hissar, Sherpur fortress and Arg: The architecture of power in Kabul

Throughout the centuries, the seat of power in Kabul has almost always been within the walls of a strong fortress-palace. That will continue, as whatever the outcome of the current election, the new president will continue to live in the Arg. Guest author Bill Woodburn*, retired military engineer and specialist in fortified architecture, traces the […]

Past Is Prologue or: A tale of two Olympics

Shortly before a historic and emotionally laden Olympic hockey match between American and Russian athlets in 1980, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. The US, at that time, had actually already started its covert operation to support the mujahedin against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul; it would be their fight that would finally lead to the Soviet withdrawal. In […]

Obituary: The master of modern Pashto ghazal passes away

One of Afghanistan’s most important poets, Muhammad Seddiq Pasarly, has died, aged 85. Known popularly as the ‘Master of Pashto Ghazal’ (Pashto love poems), Pasarly also translated works by Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam for Pashto readers. AAN’s Borhan Osman has written this obituary.   What is youth? It is […]

In memory of Dr Victor G. Korgun

When it comes to expertise on Afghanistan, not many look east. Those who did will have discovered Russian Viktor Korgun who, as we were sad to learn today, has passed away in Moscow. He was also respected in Afghanistan as shown by the invitation – as one of only few foreign experts – to a scientific conference […]

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