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.

Guest Blog: How to name Universities or: Any Linguistic Problem in Afghanistan?

Lutz Rzehak

Language matters. The issue of what the ‘correct’ naming of an institution is, is just one of the linguistic debates that have become highly politicised in post-Taleban Afghanistan. Our 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 […]

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Guest Blog: An Afghan Pulitzer Prize Winner

Martin Gerner

Afghan photojournalist Massoud Hossaini, who has worked for AFP news agency in Kabul since 2007, won the Pulitzer prize in the category of ‘Breaking News Photography’ earlier this week. Hossaini is the first ever Afghan to win the highly prestigious Pulitzer prize, sought after by top journalists worldwide. AAN guest blogger Martin Gerner, a media […]

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Afghanistan in World Literature (III): Kabuliwalas of the Latter Day

Fabrizio Foschini

To inaugurate the new course of our Chat Mat column, here we resume our old series aimed at unearthing precious Afghan gems from the stockpile of world literature. Having presented some Victorian pearls earlier in the series, it is time to move to closer quarters, to India and to what was arguably its most anglicised […]

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‘Pashto Mashto? Nakhair, Chat Mat.’

AAN Team

Dear readers of Pashto Mashto, As you may have noticed already, with the new year has come a new name for this series, although the content will go on as usual. Here is why. The inaugural blog of this series, back in January 2010, has proven prophetic when it said the series would not, ‘try […]

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Afghan New Year: Sal-e Naw Mubarak

Kate Clark

Three swallows were sighted in the skies over Kabul by members of the AAN team this week – a welcome harbinger of spring after this year’s long, cold winter. They disappeared again, as a dust storm racked Kabul on the last day of the Afghan year. Nawruz has now dawned, even with grey and gritty […]

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Guest blog: The logic of bandit life: From 20th century Chinese bandits to the contemporary Afghan insurgency

Deedee Derksen

Chinese bandits never cleaned their guns before noon. That could lead to an attack by the enemy. They didn’t say ‘tiger’ or ‘spirit’, as these words would bring bad luck. Socks were ‘smelly tubes’, bullets ‘white rice’, and they called giving up banditry ‘washing their hands’. Deedee Derksen reads ‘Bandits in Republican China’ by Phil […]

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Melons: Afghan riches at the surface level

Fabrizio Foschini

Winter chills are slowly creeping into our sunny Kabul existences. There are few comforts for this, and one is certainly fruit. In this season, oranges, guavas and, above all, pomegranates do a lot to assuage our troubles. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini and Gran Hewad have also been finding solace in the memory of the bountiful melon […]

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Guest Blog: The Recovery of Afghanistan’s Regional Music

John Baily

For some years, the Afghan music scene has been dominated by a new fast dance style which uses keyboards and other western instruments and developed in the Afghan diaspora at a time when music in Afghanistan itself was under extreme pressure. It looked like the new pop music was flourishing at the expense of the […]

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BREAKING NEWS: Double Rainbow over Kabul

Thomas Ruttig

Rain in Kabul is always good news. But it also has an aesthetic component: Before the backdrop of the mountains around the city, it creates the most beautiful rainbows. This inspired AAN’s Thomas Ruttig and Fabrizio Foschini to muse about a few rain-related issues. The heavy shower that went down over Afghanistan’s usually dust-covered capital […]

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Afghanistan mourns Ghazal King Jagjit Singh’s passing and the loss of its own musical excellence

Naheed Esar Malikzay

On Monday 10 October 2011, Jagjit Singh, a legend of Indian music, passed away in Lilavati hospital in Mumbai. Hearing that heartbreaking news, Afghans have expressed their condolences and sorrows in different ways. After receiving several sympathy messages from friends and relatives, AAN’s Naheed Esar Malikzay reflects on how his music specifically and Indian music, […]

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Guest Blog: Where Fiction and Reality Meet: A Decade of Afghan Cinema

Martin Gerner

‘A country which used to produce a revolution as often as a film’, the International Film Guide said about Afghanistan in 1983, pointing to the dearth of film-making in the country. Post-Taleban, this has changed. The past decade, there has been an explosion in Afghan film making, with the production of mostly independently produced, short […]

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AAN reads: Junger’s ‘War’

Thomas Ruttig

When I read one of the first reportages coming out from the Korengal, not by Sebastian Junger, in early 2008*, my first association was Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’. Later, the first video clips came out that even aggravated this impression. Now the full book is out, and it is as powerful as Norman Mailer’s […]

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