Context & Culture

One Day in a Year: Afghan views on International Women’s Day

“The celebration of 8 March is a new concept, but Afghan women’s role in society has been respected for thousands of years,” President Ghani said in his speech for International Women’s Day on 5 March 2015, three days before the date. But if that is true, women’s rights activists asked after the event, why is […]

“An attempt to wipe out history”: The destruction of the Bamian Buddha colossi in 2001

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the Afghan Taleban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, ordered from his headquarters in Kandahar that “all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be broken” because they were worshipped by people of non-Islamic religious beliefs and were therefore ‘idols.’ This kind of worship, […]

A Happy and Peaceful New Year!

Dear AAN friends and readers, we here at the Afghanistan Analysts Network would like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous new year 2015. May it bring us closer to peace in Afghanistan. The team will certainly keep you up to date about what is happening in this regard – and in many […]

Merry Christmas!

Here at AAN, we’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas! May your holidays, in Afghanistan as well as abroad, be peaceful. And for those who remain in Kabul and wish to celebrate in style: as every year, fancy trees  are back again and sold, including decoration, on Flower Street in Shar-e Naw. Many […]

Rambo Was Too Late: Afghanistan in Western films (part I), from 1909 to 2001

Afghanistan has rarely featured in western films, especially when compared to other foreign locales – from countries in Africa to Latin America to East Asia. This cinematic neglect is matched by the lower prominence that Afghanistan was accorded in the popular imagination and in western foreign policy during this era. Despite the shortage of films about […]

Bird Bomber: Police kill ‘dangerous’ houbara bustard (amended)

Police in Faryab have shot a wild bird which had an antenna attached to it, fearing it had been sent by the Taleban to target them. They said it exploded, scattering suspicious bits of metal. However, the bits of metal included an ID tag with a telephone number and email address and claims of it […]

Cult, Culture and the Need for Public Education: Why the National Museum in Kabul has little meaning for Afghans

The National Museum has been a powerful symbol in the portrayal of Afghanistan’s recovery since 2002 and focus of intense international attention. However, the ‘narrative of loss’ that runs through portrayals of the museum’s recent history tends to displace serious discussion as to its role as an institution in today’s Afghanistan. After more than a […]

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Go Online: Afghanistan’s youth and new media

Afghanistan’s mobile phone sector has made great strides and is often named as one of the success stories of post-2001 reconstruction. Although the immediate economic benefit for users is debatable, it has opened new possibilities for Afghans to communicate outside of the all-encompassing social control, particularly for women. But internet access has not kept pace […]

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