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.

Pashto Mashto – what’s that? Read it!

Thomas Ruttig

The following blog starts our new non- but not a-political blog category called Pashto Mashto. It will not deal with daily political affairs but with issues related to Afghan languages and, more generally, culture(s). Cultural issues in the broader sense are often only covered at the margins by media (including bloggers) but are, at the […]

Context and Culture Read more

Read PASHTO MASHTO!

Thomas Ruttig

Blog-e newin-e Shabaka-ye Tahlilgaran-e Afghanistan be-khwaned! De AAN neway blog wu-lwalley! Read AAN’s new cultural-linguistic Pashto Mashto under blog here, find out what that means and learn more about Afghanistan’s ‘human terrain’. The new category of blogs deals with non-political issues, like language, culture etc. But not only with Pashto… Contributions and comments are most welcome. Xhe raghlast […]

Context and Culture Read more

How Do Afghans Tick? (in memoriam Bernt Glatzer)

Thomas Ruttig

The following is the translation of an interview given by late Dr Bernt Glatzer to a Berlin daily newspaper in 2008. He talks about how he himself became involved in Afghanistan, gives his opinion about current events and covers the ethics of ethnologists in war. More than six years ago, the Taleban regime in Afghanistan […]

Context and Culture Read more

Small stories from the province (1): A very high-ranking dog

Martine van Bijlert

“Did you hear about the Australian dog that was lost?” We had been discussing everything from the latest tribal gossip to the final announcement of the provincial council and the recent local appointments. And now, as we are packing up to go, there was apparently still a story of a dog. I had noticed the reports in […]

Context and Culture Read more

Militias – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Genies (1): A Look Back

Thomas Ruttig

When I read Matthieu Aikins’ brilliant reportage in Harpers (‘The Master of Spin Boldak’) about the mutation of a 1980s tribal militia into a drug trafficking network that survives to the day, I was reminded of an episode in 1988. I was living in Wazir Akbar Khan then. Around the corner was the house of […]

Context and Culture Read more

New Book: ‘Empires of Mud’

Thomas Ruttig

Antonio Giustozzi is arguably the most studious and productive researcher and author on Afghan affairs. His output is based on insight won during intensive travels to the country far beyond the capital. After editing the recently published ‘Decoding the New Taliban” – with AAN members and friends contributing some chapters – he has now put […]

Context and Culture Read more

What possibly still could be done…

Thomas Ruttig

…. after the ‘Friends of Afghanistan’ anti-democratic ‘consensus’ The leaked ‘consensus’ of the ‘Friends of Afghanistan’, i.e. the foreign ministers of the most influential Western governments, that President Karzai has won the 20 August elections, is the final knock-out for the remaining democratic aspirations of Afghans. Although it has not been stated officially yet, there […]

Context and Culture Read more

Kabul Diary (1): Glimpses of Kabul, Summer 2009

Thomas Ruttig

Blue sky over the Spinghar mountains through the airplane window. Small green fields along grey Kabul river. The tin roofs of Pul-e Charkhi reflecting the sun. The first traffic jam at Indira Gandhi hospital. A push-cart with eggfruit stuck amongst taxis and UN cars. Bicycle riders head on in the traffic. Landcruisers with tinted window […]

Context and Culture Read more

Another Day without an Orange Revolution

Thomas Ruttig

Quite some people here in Kabul – maybe internationals more than Afghans – had been looking forward to the day that just passed with mixes feelings. It was 9/9 – and eight years ago Ahmad Shah Massud, the leader of the Northern Alliance mujahedin was killed … … during a fake interview in Khwaja Bahauddin […]

Context and Culture Read more

Modest beginnings

Martine van Bijlert

April 2009. After having worked out of the EUSR office in Kabul for almost five years I am suddenly institutionally homeless. I borrow a spare office in an NGO compound, so that I can at least offer people a quiet place and a cup of tea. The walls are bare, the couch sags and the […]

Context and Culture Read more