Context & Culture

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 […]

The New Gangs of Herat: How young Afghans turn away from their community

In the city of Herat, an increasing number of young people drop out of school, form petty gangs, become drug addicts and generally have problems with their community. Many of these youth are also connected to friends abroad with several of them migrating to Iran, Europe and Australia to escape the local community, and recently […]

A Very Happy Eid-e Qurban!

Here at AAN, we’d like to wish all our readers a very happy Eid-e Qurban and that the upcoming year – and the long-awaited new government – may bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. For those who wish to learn more about Afghan Eid customs, have a look at this report about Eid sacrifices for Eid-e […]

Book Excerpt: Scenes of Afghan History – Hamed Karzai before 2001

As many influential Pashtuns, in the country and the diaspora, the Karzai family – and Hamed Karzai himself – offered support to the Taleban after they emerged in 1994 but were rejected by the movement’s leadership. They turned against them and – after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 – made overtures to the ‘Northern Alliance’ […]

With a Little Help From His Friends: A new biography of Hamed Karzai

With only a few days left in the last of Karzai’s two 5-year tenures as head of state (the inauguration of his – still unknown – successor has just been postponed again), Dutch journalist Bette Dam presents the reviewed and updated English version of her biography of the politician who has shaped Afghanistan’s last 14 […]

Ahmad Zaher or Manga Style? The cutting-edge business of Afghan barbers

A young Afghan man’s morning, across the country, often starts with a time-consuming session of arranging his hair. Afghan men are proud of their usually thick, glossy tufts and barbers accordingly make good business providing their style-hungry customers with the latest cuts. This has tradition. A variety of distinct hairstyles can be seen on photographs […]

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