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.

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

Jolyon Leslie

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 […]

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

Theresa Falke

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

S Reza Kazemi

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 […]

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From ‘Slavers’ to ‘Warlords’: Descriptions of Afghanistan’s Uzbeks in western writing

Christian Bleuer

From the early 1800s to the present day, western writers have explored Afghanistan either in person or from a distance, their publications providing a view of Afghanistan’s governments and people to the wider audience in Europe, the United States and the west. However, this view is distorted in many ways. One noticeable case in this […]

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A Very Happy Eid-e Qurban!

AAN Team

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 […]

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Hamed Karzai as translator for Pir Gailani, likely in 1992. Source: archive/unknown (please let us known when you have the copyright for this)

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

Bette Dam

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’ […]

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

Thomas Ruttig

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 […]

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

Obaid Ali

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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The Mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani in Kandahar, where the Cloak was initially meant to be hosted. Photo: Fabrizio Foschini

Under the Cloak of History: The Kherqa-ye Sharif from Faizabad to Kandahar

Bette Dam Fabrizio Foschini

These are hard times for holy shrines in many Muslim countries. Often targeted by fundamentalist militants who reject practices of popular religious devotion as un-Islamic, many ancient and famous ziarats have been destroyed or damaged. The last on the list seems to have been the tomb of Yunus (Jonah) near Mosul, Iraq, reportedly blown up […]

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Happy Eid al Fitr!

AAN Team

While many Afghans seem tired of the long electoral process, and despite the concerns and uncertainties felt by the Afghan people, we hope that the coming Eid Al Fitr can bring happy days to all. The Afghanistan Analysts Network wishes a very happy and peaceful Eid Al Fitr to all Muslims, and particularly to the […]

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Afghanistan in World War I (1): Afghans in the Kaiser’s jihad

Thomas Ruttig

 A hundred years ago, on 28 July 1914, the First World War started when Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia after a group of young pro-independence Serbian terrorists shot dead the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo one month earlier. Soon, millions were dying on the battlefields across four continents in what was termed the “first global […]

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Memorials and Patrons: How northern Afghan elites try to own history

S Reza Kazemi

Elites in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and most important city in the north, have, in recent years, supported the building of new memorials and re-naming of the city’s streets and intersections. They are also sponsoring intellectuals and their literary and artistic output. These are politically driven cultural projects, attempts by the leading […]

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