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.

Talking Pashto 2: 40 countries, two options

Thomas Ruttig

We continue our series of mini Pashto lessons, not with a poem or a proverb this time, but with a short and striking sentence I heard from a campaigner for one of the woman candidates in Paktia yesterday. ‘Da de tsalwexht pe sha-o-khwa hewaduna dwa lare lari: De edari fasad per zed mubareza – ya […]

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Talking Dari (1): The Road to Turkestan

Thomas Ruttig

Today, we continue our little series with important Afghan-language expressions that are useful to describe political situations in striking accuracy. This time we turn to one of the most famous Iranian poets – so actually we also could say ‘Talking Farsi’ here. But let’s not be too nitty-gritty. ترسم نرسی به کعبه ای اعرابی کین ره […]

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... and Amanullah the reformer-king, with Queen Soraya.

Afghan Encounters in Europe or: How My Grandma Saw King Amanullah – Part 3

Thomas Ruttig

In the third and final part of a little series, Thomas Ruttig takes you on a journey in G.H. Wells’ time machine, back to Berlin in the year 1928 when Afghan King Amanullah visited the German capital as first head of state after the end of Kaiser Wilhelm’s monarchy. Read how the King drove the […]

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Afghan Encounters in Europe or: How My Grandma Saw King Amanullah – Part 2

Thomas Ruttig

Thomas Ruttig takes you on a short trip on Afghan traces in central Europe, this time encountering Afghanistan’s cultural heritage saved from looting and destruction and shown at a museum in Germany’s former capital. II. Bonn on the Rhine One of the major cultural venues in the town that was (West) Germany’s capital for more […]

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Afghan Encounters in Europe or: How My Grandma Saw King Amanullah – Part 1

Thomas Ruttig

Summertime, vacation time. But an Afghan analyst finds it difficult to get away from his chosen subject even then. Sometimes, even pure chance leads him back on track – as on a short trip through Switzerland and Germany. Travel notes from Thomas Ruttig. I. La Gruyère, Switzerland This little town in the Fribourg Alps, known […]

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Kabul’s kitschy wedding cake architecture

Anne Feenstra

Kabul is a city of dramatic contrasts. In the streets, shiny black-windowed limousines drive immediately alongside scruffy pushcarts with wobbly wheels. On the sidewalks, one-legged beggars hold out hands to well-dressed business men in sharp, knitted suits and gleaming shoes. In the built environment, too, these contrasts seem nearly infinite writes our guest blogger Anne […]

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Talking Pashto (1): One-Liner of the Week

Thomas Ruttig

Today, we start a little series with important Pashto expressions for field use. It is meant to complement the electronic translation computers handed out to the international forces which – reportedly – contain useful phrases like: “Lasuna porta!” (Hands up!), “Mulla Omar cheri dey?” (Where is Mulla Omar?) and “Hawayi maidan kum taraf dey?” (Which […]

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Talking Haqqani

Thomas Ruttig

‘Totally baseless, a lie and no truth in it’. This is what an Afghan presidential spokesman said after a not-too-unimportant TV station reported contacts between Kabul and the Haqqani network, the most ruthless outfit of the Afghan insurgency. Is there no fire at all for all the smoke? asks Thomas Ruttig. It all started with […]

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Flash from the Past: Football under the Taleban (2) – Nobody Shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’

Thomas Ruttig

Kabul Olympic Stadium sometimes was turned in to an arena for executions and floggings under the Taleban regime. For this, it became world-famous. But to do the venue some justice, most of the time it was used for proper sports. Thomas Ruttig visited a match there – football in Afghanistan 2000: Air goals by funnily […]

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Flash from the Past: Football under the Taleban (1)

Kate Clark

he World Cup 2010 in South Africa is in its first round of the knock-out stage. It has seen favourite teams crashing and others shining. Afghanistan did not qualify. It lost both first round Asia qualification matches against Syria 1:5 on aggregate. Afghanistan’s only scorer was Obaidullah Karimi who plays for Hamm United FC in […]

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Drugs, plots and stockpiles: Afghanistan’s failing poppy crop

Kate Clark

A mysterious desease is spreading through Afghanistan’s poppy fields: Is it a secret counter-narcotics operation or simply caused by nature? And what do ‘the markets say’? Answers given by Kate Clark, AAN Senior Analyst ‘Reports of a “mysterious” fungus that has damaged opium poppy crops in Afghanistan have hit international headlines’ writes a breathless commentator […]

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“Oh let it rain, let it rain on the fields, let it drench the head scarf of my beloved”

Kate Clark

Going to Bamian and Yakaolang brings up a lot of memories and shows how times have changed since Taleban times. An AAN ‘travel blog’, by Kate Clark, currently a Senior Analyst with AAN. Getting out of Kabul for me usually means heading to the hot and dusty south or south east to report on the […]

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