Context & Culture

Football Victory I: Lions beating Tigers – the match report

The jubilation of football players who have just won a cup final is similar the world over, but neither Bayern Munich, who won this year’s European Champions League, or Spain, who won the last World Cup, celebrated as the Afghan national team did in Nepal last night. They danced wildly, threw their manager in the air […]

Poetry in Motion: Love, war and politics on trucks

I am chasing you like a drone You have become al Qaida; there’s no trace of you Trucks painted in vivid colours and lettered with poems like the one above, which has borrowed the terms of war to describe love, are part of the “cultural landscape” along the dusty roads of Afghanistan, especially the south […]

A Journey’s End: Returning to Kabul after three decades

Nearly 30 years ago, the mother of AAN guest author Ali M. Latifi fled Kabul from the Soviet-backed regime, holding her three children by the hand. Shortly before this year’s Ramadan began, she came back for the first time. She wanted to visit Ali, her youngest child, who now works in Kabul. And she wanted […]

Watching Warblers: A bird lover’s delight in Kabul

Did you think the vast, loud and smoggy capital of Afghanistan was the last place to watch birds? Think again. With its parks and gardens, it is an oasis for tired migrants in the otherwise rocky and dry region. Siberian Chiffchaffs, Hume’s Leaf Warblers, Bluethroats, Hoopoes and many more – they all come to rest […]

War Doves: The Afghan sport of pigeon flying

It is a familiar sight in Kabul’s springtime skies: pigeons flying in thick flocks, circling and dipping, reacting to a man on a rooftop waving a stick. Kaftar bazi or the Play of Pigeons is an Afghan national sport – one of the calmer sort. This doesn’t mean it isn’t highly competitive. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini […]

Inspiration in Kabul: Nancy Dupree and the Opening of the Afghanistan Centre

The Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU) has been officially opened. A beautiful, airy building with a central green courtyard, it has space for both researchers and the Centre’s collection of 80,000 (and increasing) documents collected over the last three decades. The driving force behind the project is Nancy Hatch Dupree who said that ‘for […]

Despite Growing Ulema Conservatism: Afghans Managed to Celebrate Nawruz

Increasingly, during the last few years, the millennia-old celebrations of Nawruz, the New Year which starts at the spring equinox, ie around 21 March, has become the object of a religious debate in Afghanistan. Although the spring festivity is a major official holiday and continues to be a popular occasion for families to go on […]

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