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.

Not a "Tailless Star”: an obituary for leading Afghan intellectual Muhammad Qasim Akhgar

Thomas Ruttig

On Tuesday night (28 January 2014), with the passing away of Muhammad Qasim Akhgar, Afghanistan lost one of its leading intellectuals. Ustad Akhgar died after a long illness, only 62 years old and he died as he had lived, in more than modest circumstances. An independent leftist, author and human rights activist, who maintained his […]

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Obituary: The master of modern Pashto ghazal passes away

Borhan Osman

One of Afghanistan’s most important poets, Muhammad Seddiq Pasarly, has died, aged 85. Known popularly as the ‘Master of Pashto Ghazal’ (Pashto love poems), Pasarly also translated works by Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam for Pashto readers. AAN’s Borhan Osman has written this obituary.   What is youth? It is […]

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In memory of Dr Victor G. Korgun

Ekaterina Stepanova

When it comes to expertise on Afghanistan, not many look east. Those who did will have discovered Russian Viktor Korgun who, as we were sad to learn today, has passed away in Moscow. He was also respected in Afghanistan as shown by the invitation – as one of only few foreign experts – to a scientific conference […]

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From Alexander the Great to Ahmad Shah Massud: A social history of the pakol

Fabrizio Foschini

The flat, woollen, rolled-up hat called a pakol is nowadays one of the undisputed symbols of Afghanistan. But how such a humble garment, stemming from the remotest corners of the Hindu Kush mountains, made it to international appreciation on par with lavish silky chapans and majestic four-meter-long lungis, remains somewhat of a mystery. AAN’s Fabrizio […]

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A happy and peaceful new year!

AAN Team

Dear readers, here at AAN, we would like to wish you a happy new year. For Afghanistan, 2014 is a year of many expectations but also anxieties. May it be a year of successful transition, harmonious cooperation and real peace negotiations. We will be here to accompany you. The AAN team

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Merry Christmas!

AAN Team

Here at AAN, we’d like to wish all our readers a Happy Christmas! May your holidays, in Afghanistan as well as abroad, be peaceful.   For those who remain in Kabul and wish to celebrate in style, AAN made a trip to Flower Street in Shar-e Naw to check on the availability of Christmas glitter and […]

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Autumn Pastimes, or the Other Fighting Grounds of Afghanistan

Obaid Ali

Bird fighting has an ancient history as a common autumn pastime among Afghans. As soon as the weather gets colder, various tournaments take place among bird enthusiasts, either in the open air or in a warm arena, depending on what sort of birds are fighting. In Kabul, the favourite birds to take the field are […]

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Discussing ‘The Social Wandering’ of the Afghan Kuchis

Fabrizio Foschini

A new report by AAN, ‘The Social Wandering of the Afghan Kuchis,’ explores both the transformations that Afghan nomads have undergone in recent decades and their current, changing position in Afghan society. Decades of insecurity, drought and economic competition have led an increasing number of Kuchis to settle close to urban centers. There, they have […]

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The Nation’s Voice? Afghanistan’s loya jirgas in the historical context

Benjamin Buchholz

On 21 November, another loya jirga (grand assembly) is forthcoming in Afghanistan, convened to represent ‘the nation’s voice’ about the still pending Afghan-US Bilateral Partnership Agreement (BSA), the basis for any post-2014 NATO mission in the country. This will be the fifth such assembly under the Karzai government. On this occasion, our guest author Benjamin Buchholz […]

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Guts, Prettily Coiled: A guide to Eid sacrifices

Christine Roehrs

Today is Eid al Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the most important religious holiday in the Afghan calendar. In millions of yards across the country, Afghans will slit the throats of cows or sheep in remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail in submission to God’s command and of the lamb which […]

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A Very Happy Eid-e Qurban!

AAN Team

Here at AAN, we’d like to wish all our dear readers a very happy Eid-e Qurban and for Afghanistan peace in the coming year. We marked the last Eid with a celebratory dispatch of ten stories from Afghans on their customs and memories of Eid al-Fitr. Today, we are publishing a report from AAN analyst Christine Roehrs […]

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Football Victory II: A night and a day of celebrations

AAN Team

It was a burst of massive happiness, a moment of sheer bliss and pride, something few Afghans have experienced much of in the past and thus even more powerful: only moments after Afghanistan won the South Asian Football Federation Championship, defeating India with 2:0, waves of people filled the streets of Kabul and many other […]

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