Context & Culture

Guest Blog: Mining the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’

The big Logar copper mine of Mes-e Aynak, with its Buddhist finds, epitomizes a dilemma many countries are facing: excavate your natural resources or protect your cultural heritage (and natural environment). In Afghanistan, after three decades of violent conflict, the latter is threatened to lose out in this competition. But as the country’s archeological sites, […]

A Tahrir Effect in Kabul?

Tunis, Cairo. Mass demonstrations in Sanaa, Amman and Algiers, smaller ones in Damascus, Nouakschott and Khartum. Even in Azerbaijan people started protesting after they realized that they had a Mubarak statue in the Azeri-Egyptian Friendship Park in their capital Baku. Many people have been asking: Is this the fifth wave of democratization now? And some […]

Guest Blog: Afghanistan on stage in Germany

In our events column, we had announced a new theatre performance in the German town of Potsdam, not far from Berlin, dealing with Afghanistan which opened on 12 January. Now we offer the personal impressions of Kathrin Ost(*), a young and promising German actress, who attended the opening performance. What do I know about Afghanistan? […]

Tactical or genuine? The Taleban’s ‘new education policy’

This time, the Times Education Supplement (TES) has the latest scoop about the Taleban. The article with the headline ‘Taliban “backs girls’ education”’ has already been picked up around the world. But it is worth to look at the source of the sensational statement. It is not from Mulla Omar’s ‘Quetta shura’ but from Kabul’s […]

Flash to the Past: … but not without snow

Ten years ago, AAN’s senior analyst Kate Clark was reporting on the first snow of the 2000/2001 winter for the BBC from Kabul which, then, was still ruled by the Taleban; people then were hoping a horrific drought would finally be breaking. An estimated twelve million Afghans had been hit by crop failure, many were […]

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 […]

What comes after remembering? Some thoughts after National Victims Day in Afghanistan

There are days when Afghanistan’s sadness becomes overwhelming. For us, the Afghan National Victims’ Day was such a day. AAN Senior Analyst Sari Kouvo and Political Researcher Obaid Ali participated in the Afghan National Victims’ Day demonstration and commemoration. Around forty women and men have already gathered when we early Friday morning arrived at Kabul’s […]

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! […]

Afghan Government Declares Kabul Smog Holiday

From tomorrow, 1 December, until the end of the Afghan year (20 March), Kabul will enjoy a proper, two-day weekend. Every Thursday, government offices will be closed and workers asked to stay at home. But it is not a social achievement – it is a smog-induced extra holiday, an attempt to give this polluted city […]

Nine Years and Fifty Days

Unfortunately, I do not have much time to follow the Afghan press – and even less the many Afghan TV and radio stations. But it is worth tuning in – and if it is only to be reminded of a historical coincidence. So, here a few impressions on what I picked up over the past […]

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