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.

What We Wrote, What You Read in 2023: Daily struggles, edicts and orders, falcons flying high

Kate Clark

2023 was a busy year for AAN, with just over 50 publications. They ranged from in-depth investigations into the economy, public finance and the aid industry to a poetic journey into the world of falconry. We introduced a new form of report – short, first-person accounts by Afghans of what they are doing to survive […]

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Recommended Reads from AAN Writers and Readers: The search for context, deeper understanding, surprise and good stories

AAN Team AAN Guests

We thought we would start the new year by asking AAN writers and friends to recommend books about Afghanistan. The books they reviewed were diverse – fact and fiction, classics and newly-published and written in English, Pashto and German. Two were books that the reviewers felt helped make sense of why the Islamic Republic and […]

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Of Hunters and Hunted (1): Falconry in Afghanistan from classical literature to colonial sources 

Fabrizio Foschini

Unbeknownst to many, Afghanistan has a rich historical heritage related to falconry. Photographs dating from the 1950s to the 1970s offer a relatively recent glimpse of Afghan falconers with their birds. However, those ancient traditions of Afghans practising falconry – embodied in literary works such as the Baznama, The Book of the Falcon, by Pashtun poet […]

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The Daily Hustle: “Helping the dreams of girls come true”

Rohullah Sorush Roxanna Shapour

After the Islamic Emirate banned older girls from education, many girls found alternative avenues to continue their studies, find intellectual stimulation – and even, as this Daily Hustle found out, make a living in the private education sector. AAN’s Rohullah Sorush hears from one young Afghan woman about how, even in the face of overwhelming […]

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The Daily Hustle: Crossing the Durand Line to visit family in Pakistan

Ali Mohammad Sabawoon Roxanna Shapour

The story of Afghan families is often one of loved ones separated by long distances and national borders. Every year, many Afghans who have family living in neighbouring countries make the hours and sometimes days-long journey overland from Afghanistan, braving long bus rides, hours waiting to cross borders and the demands for payment by border […]

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Extensive but not Inclusive: Afghanistan’s growing list of national holidays

Fabrizio Foschini

August has already seen two days of national public holidays in Afghanistan and will see a third this week, celebrating the anniversary of the departure of the last United States troops on the 31st. That follows the celebration of Taleban forces’ entry into Kabul on 15 August 2021, which sealed the fate of the Islamic […]

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AAN Wishes our readers, friends and all Afghans a very happy Eid al-Adha

AAN Team

Eid al-Adha, and the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, marks the Islam’s most important holiday. A joyful four-day festival that is an occasion to visit family and friends, eat fruits of the season and wear brand new clothes bought especially for the occasion, gifts for the children. This year, though, as cash-strapped […]

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Eid al-Fitr Mubarak from AAN to All Our Readers

AAN Team

In the Islamic tradition, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. For the entire month leading up to the sighting of the new moon and the end of Ramadan, Muslims have been fasting […]

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Back to the Village: Afghan city dwellers go home for a long-over-due visit

Sabawoon Samim

After the Taleban seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the lives of millions of Afghans changed overnight. While these events have had a negative impact on the lives of many, some have seen positive changes. The end of the conflict meant that many urban dwellers who had been born in rural areas and had […]

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Nawruz

Simple Pleasures Amidst Great Frustrations: An essentially outlawed Nawruz in Taleban-ruled Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi Sayed Asadullah Sadat

The second Nawruz, the first day of the spring and the new solar hejri year, after the Taleban’s return to power comes in an overwhelmingly frustrating atmosphere and appears even more lacklustre than the previous one. The Taleban have effectively banned it as a holiday and public celebration. A host of other crippling challenges such as severe […]

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New Lives in the City: How Taleban have experienced life in Kabul

Sabawoon Samim

A large number of Taleban fighters have moved to Afghanistan’s cities since the movement’s capture of power, many of them seeing life in the city for the first time in their lifetime. These fighters, many of whom are from villages, had lived modest lives, entirely focused on the war. Their circumstances have changed entirely since […]

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An Afghan girl carries a thermos and packed lunch out to family members working in a field in Bati Kot district in Nangrahar province. Photo: Shafiullah KAKAR/AFP

What We Were Writing, What You Were Reading in 2022: Reports about economic struggle and loss of rights

Kate Clark

2022 was the year in which the new reality of Islamic Emirate rule bedded down, following the precipitous collapse of the Islamic Republic in 2021. In that year, our reports and, even more so, the attention of our readers was dominated by trying to make sense of the war, the change of regime and failure […]

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