Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Context and Culture

This thematic area encompasses the wide array of subjects that illustrate Afghanistan’s rich history, arts, literature and culture, and the many ways Afghan society is changing and evolving.

Creating the ‘idea’ of a Country: AAN dossier looks at Afghanistan in World Literature

Fabrizio Foschini

How do foreign literary works shape attitudes towards Afghanistan and Afghans? That is the subject of this dossier which brings together AAN reports from its ‘Afghanistan in World Literature’ series. Over the years, we have written many pieces on this subject, spurred not only by a passion for everything related to Afghanistan, but also by […]

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AAN wishes prosperity and stability for Afghanistan at Eid al-Adha

AAN

This year, Eid al-Adha[1] has once again coincided with very difficult times in Afghanistan. Many Afghans are facing economic hardship, poverty, and unemployment as the country’s economy struggles to regain lost ground. Afghanistan remains in the grip of a devastating drought for the third year running. Many families are mourning the loss of loved ones […]

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Eid Mubarak from AAN to All Our Readers

AAN Team

The AAN team would like to wish a happy and peaceful Eid ul-Fitr to friends and readers, to all Muslims around the world and particularly the people of Afghanistan. We wish this, even knowing that the recent bloody attacks in Kabul, Kunduz, Mazar-e Sharif, Khost and elsewhere means this Eid is falling at a time of grief […]

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Marking a New Century in Afghanistan: Nawruz 1401

Roxanna Shapour

The start of the Afghan new year on 21 March 2022, or by solar Hijra calendar 1 Hamal 1401, arrives in Afghanistan with a sense of foreboding and uncertainty for the future, after a mere seven months and five days since the Taleban took power and toppled the Republic. AAN’s Roxanna Shapour reflects on the […]

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Head of the Culture Department in Ghazni, Mullah Habibullah Mujahid stands with toher Taleban next to a section of a wall of a former US military base with the names of US soldiers in Ghazni. Photo Hector Retamal/AFP, 15 November 2021

War, War, War: A look at which AAN reports you were reading in 2021

Kate Clark

AAN publications in 2021 were dominated by our efforts to understand the conflict and the failing peace process. More than 40 per cent of our reports last year dealt with war and peace. For our readers, the subject was even more important: among our most-read reports, more than 70 per cent focussed on the conflict. […]

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Afghanistan in World Literature (V): Two French portraits

Fabrizio Foschini

Over the years, AAN has written about how Afghanistan is portrayed in the literature of other countries. Such portrayals have been instrumental in shaping the views and impressions of the country up to the present and given the continuing influence of outsiders on Afghanistan, it seems important to map this literature. In this report, AAN’s […]

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Music Censorship in 2021: The silencing of a nation and its cultural identity

Fabrizio Foschini

Music and musicians once again face serious threats following Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taleban in August this year. Over the past two decades, the theory and practice of traditional Afghan instruments, as well as other musical forms, has seen a remarkable revival after the destruction of the country’s musical heritage during the 1990s, with skills […]

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AAN wishes calm for Afghanistan at Eid al-Adha

AAN Team

This Eid al-Adha comes at a very troubling time for Afghanistan. War has continued and intensified across the country, leaving a trail of deaths, injuries, displacement and damage on all sides. Equally worrying is the widespread uncertainty and fear about what is coming next. At AAN, we sincerely hope this Eid will help to usher […]

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At Eid al-Fitr, AAN Wishes Calm and Peace for Afghanistan

AAN Team

Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, has again come at a deeply unsettling and anxious time for Afghans. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take and harm lives, the war has intensified, appearing also to have become more indiscriminate and merciless. For the sake of Eid, […]

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At the Turn of a Century: A rare chance to discover Nawruz in history and in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

By popular count at least, the coming solar year 1400 will usher in a new century in Afghanistan. Taking this as an exceptional once-in-a-lifetime chance, AAN researcher Reza Kazemi taps into a diverse array of sources, including history, literature and folk music, to look at Nawruz in deep time and through Afghanistan as a kaleidoscopic […]

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Playful Pastimes and Much More: Seven folk games from Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi AAN Team

A ‘fundraising’ game by children to buy themselves treats for Nawruz, a children’s play that satirises wedding traditions, a funny game about how to deal with a duff player, a deceptively easy game particularly played by girls with hazelnut-sized stones, two more stone throwing games played by grown-ups and a complicated ‘egg fighting’ game favoured […]

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A Sufi Lodge, a Leaning Minaret and a Polymath’s Shrine: A look at recent efforts to preserve – and appreciate – historical Herat

S Reza Kazemi

Herat, the oasis town in the far northwest of Afghanistan, has been a flourishing Sufi and cultural centre at various points along its long, chequered history. Based on observations, conversations and a literature review, and illustrated by photos, AAN researcher Reza Kazemi takes a look at the city’s rich heritage through three memorials: a tenth-century […]

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