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.

BREAKING NEWS: Harirod Storm Swept the Northern Alborz

Fabrizio Foschini

Yesterday, 19 October 2012, Tofan Harirod defeated Simorgh Alborz 2-1 in a hotly contested final match of the Roshan Afghan Premier League. This may not have decisive and immediate implications on the political situation of Afghanistan, but the date will indeed remain a memorable one in the annals of Afghan sport. Moreover, it turned out […]

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Flash From the Past: The Wonderful Days of Afghanistan as a Football-Free Zone

Kate Clark

Unlike my colleague, Thomas Ruttig (see the other blog: ‘X-Factor Football’), I wasn’t an under-14 champion at soccer. Indeed, after a brief flirtation with the sport in my early teenage years, I came to the conclusion being a football fan is one of the dullest past-times on the planet. So, for me, one of the […]

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X-Factor Football: Afghanistan’s New Football Premier League

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s first-ever professional football league has reached the semi-final stage. This has lifted Afghan football – which has been part of international football since the 1948 London Olympics – to a new level of organisation. For the first time, Afghanistan has a club competition, something which, in most countries, is the basis for selecting the […]

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Under Strange Flags: Afghans’ delayed protests against an ‘anti-Islam film’

Borhan Osman

Afghanistan’s public has reacted, after a few days of delay, to a video produced by fringe anti-Islam activists in the US. While last Friday saw violent demonstrations in many parts of the Muslim world, Afghans widely remained quite calm despite mullahs across major cities preaching angry sermons about the hostility of America or the West, […]

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A Pathan Moustache Hair’s Worth: Afghans in Bollywood, Bollywood in Afghanistan

Fabrizio Foschini

Hardy, hungry Afghan highlanders have for centuries looked beyond the Khyber Pass in search of…movies. And, be it clever marketing, be it spontaneous fascination, Bollywood cinema has also been keen on portraying Afghans throughout its different eras. Fabrizio Foschini has been looking at the outcome of this colourful cultural encounter, helped by the fact that […]

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Kabuli Youth in Ramazan Nights: A Passion for Futsal and More

S Reza Kazemi

Under the growing fog of war in Afghanistan – ISAF just reported an increase of violence by 11 per cent – the Afghan youth are struggling to live normally and gain visibility nationally, let alone internationally. During the current month of Ramazan, futsal (1) outdoors and indoors has become particularly popular among a significant part […]

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Afghan-led? or: People with one name only

Thomas Ruttig

Tom Peter, the Christian Science Monitor correspondent in Kabul, just wrote a story how US soldiers in Arghandab district had denied him access for 90 minutes to the local district governor with whom he had scheduled an interview and who did not want him to bring in his tape recorder. He wondered ‘how much control […]

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Flash from the Past: Afghans’ Shattered 2000 Olympic Dreams (amended)

Kate Clark

The 2012 Olympic Games start today in London with half a dozen Afghans representing their country in taekwondo, boxing, judo and athletics (1) and at least two Para-Olympians competing in weight-lifting and athletics (2). AAN’s senior analyst, Kate Clark, was in Kabul during the 2000 Olympics, when potential Afghan contenders had to stay at home […]

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Arts in a War Zone: Afghanistan at the Documenta

Martin Gerner

The Documenta in the German city of Kassel is said to be the world biggest exhibition on contemporary art. Taking place every five years, it is curated each time by a single foreign curator and his team of international agents and aides. This year, for its 13th edition, for the first time Afghanistan is a […]

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Plants of Afghanistan 2: the Koh-e Baba Foraging Top Ten (amended)

Kate Clark

Wild rhubarb (chukri or rawash) is surely one of the delights of the Afghan spring. Like many forage plants, rhubarb is both a delicacy in the cities, and an important food for those living in rural areas. As the winter snow melts, the rhubarb rhizome produces stems which can be plucked and eaten raw while […]

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Plants of Afghanistan 1: Centre of Global Biodiversity

Kate Clark

Among the hundreds of containers bound for Afghanistan which were impounded for over a year at Karachi docks because of a trade dispute were copies of a ground-breaking book on Afghanistan’s plants. S W Breckle and M D Rafiqpoor’s Field Guide Afghanistan: Flora and Vegetation, (1) is unique, the result of decades of work by […]

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Guest Blog: Inequality in Equality: Linguistic Convergence between Dari and Pashto

Lutz Rzehak

Language matters. The issue of how to ‘correctly’ name institutions is just one linguistic issue which has become highly politicised in post-Taleban Afghanistan. AAN guest blogger Lutz Rzehak(*) looks at these issues from the point of view of a linguist who speaks three of Afghanistan’s languages and has carried out research there for several decades. […]

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