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.

Drawings of mynahs by Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić, who travelled to Afghanistan in 1972 in search of birds. Photo: Author

Searching for the Afghan Snowfinch: Memories of a birdwatching journey fifty years ago

Voislav Vasic

The bearded vulture, the rich diversity of wheatears and, above all, the Afghan snowfinch – found nowhere else in the world – are what drew a young ornithologist, Voislav Vasić, to travel from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan in the summer of 1972. In this guest dispatch, Vasić, now the retired head of the national Natural History […]

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Symbolism of a Day: A century of changing independence day celebrations in Afghanistan

S Reza Kazemi

From Amanullah Khan in whose time independence was realised, to Habibullah Kalakani who seemed to distance it from the previous regime, to Nader Shah and Zaher Shah who gave it a regal face, to President Daud who continued the royal tradition, to the communists and the mujahedin who downgraded it, to the Taleban who revived […]

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AAN’s Eid al-Adha greetings – in a difficult time for Afghans

AAN

سره له دي چي ډیری افغانان یو  غملړلی اختر لري او  په وروستیو کې يې د خونړیو پېښو له امله خپل  خپلوان او دوستان  یا له لاسه ورکړي او یا هم ټپیان شوي دي.د افغانستان د تحلیلګرانو شبکه هیله لري چي د لوی اختر په را رسیدو او د قربانیو او حاجیانو د دعاوو په   برکت […]

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A still from the documentary showing a young girl wearing the traditional hat called kola-ye topak-dar in Daikundi province. Photo: Nasim Seyamak

A Kaleidoscopic Heritage: New efforts to promote Afghan traditions of art and culture

S Reza Kazemi

A fifteenth-century miniature painting of the prophet Yusuf brought to new life in an animation, puppets telling the modern love story of Siyamoy and Jalali and women’s traditional hats in Daikundi: all are featuring in a festival held in Kabul at the Qasr-e Chehel Sotun – the Palace of Forty Columns. The festival is one […]

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Lizards far from home. Some of the specimens brought back from Afghanistan in 1972 and now part of the Belgrade collection of lizards from Afghanistan at the Siniša Stanković Institute for Biological Research at the University of Belgrade. Photo: Jelena Bjelica

Lizards of Afghanistan: An unknown collection discovered in Serbia

Jelena Bjelica

In the summer of 1972, Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić travelled to Afghanistan and brought back a collection of lizards. It was a favour to a herpetologist (specialist in reptiles and amphibians) colleague. The collection, practically forgotten since has been rediscovered and re-examined by a Czech herpetologist Daniel Jablonski who published a paper with Serbian colleagues […]

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Fruit Seller selling melons in Kabul, ahead of Eid. Photo: Obaid Ali 2018

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak from AAN to All Our Readers

AAN Team

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak! The AAN team would like to wish a happy and peaceful Eid al-Fitr to friends and readers, to all Muslims around the world and particularly the people of Afghanistan. We hope the coming days of Eid bring happiness and joy to all. AAN hopes Afghans can celebrate this Eid as peacefully as […]

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Rug Weavers and Bride Prices in the Northwest: Still expensive in spite of government and Taleban rules

Obaid Ali

Weddings in Afghanistan are often an expensive and ‘back-breaking’ affair. A government law to change the expensive wedding culture remains largely unimplemented and there seems to be little will to enforce it. The Taleban have also imposed an assortment of rules for controlling wedding costs in areas under their command, which vary depending on the […]

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Collection of books related to Afghanistan and the region at AAN's Kabul office. 2019

Afghanistan Analyst Bibliography 2019

AAN Guests

Today, we publish an important work, a bibliography of Afghanistan. It is intended to be an up-to-date resource for studying and researching contemporary Afghanistan, particularly the post-1979 period. The author, Christian Bleuer, began compiling this bibliography in 2004/05 when, as a graduate student, he became increasingly frustrated with trying to find sources. Initially, it was […]

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Man selling fish in Pul-e Surkh, Kabul. Demand rises sharply ahead of Nawruz as many engaged boys send fish to their fiancées. (Photo: Ali Sina Sorush, 19 March 2019)

Happy Nawruz: May every day be Nawruz for AAN readers

AAN Team

AAN wishes a happy new year and joyful Nawruz to all its readers. Afghans and many others across the region will be celebrating the first day of 1398, also the first day of spring, with family visits, special food and picnics. In Kabul, some will go to the Sakhi Shrine, while many others will congregate […]

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Dr Muhammad Sharif Fayez (1944-2019), first post-Taleban Minister of Higher education and higher education reformer

AAN Obituary: Muhammad Sharif Fayez (1944-2019) – a higher education reformer, come too early or maybe too late

Michael Daxner

With Muhammad Sharif Fayez, another member of the first post-Taleban Afghan cabinet has passed away. In this cabinet, Fayez served as Minister of Higher Education from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, he became the founding president of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), which he chaired until 2006. As president emeritus until his passing, he […]

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AAN obituary: Ludwig Adamec, the Afghanistan Encyclopedian (1924-2019)

Thomas Ruttig

Professor Ludwig W Adamec was the author of “The Who is Who of Afghanistan” – a book every student of Afghanistan will have encountered early in her or his career. Printed in 1975, and updated several times since then, it is nothing less than one of the standard works of Afghan studies. AAN’s Thomas Ruttig […]

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The Myth of ‘Afghan Black’ (2): The cultural history of hashish consumption in Afghanistan

Obaid Ali Jelena Bjelica Fabrizio Foschini

Hashish or chars is a fairly common substance in Afghanistan. Its use, without ever attaining the levels of mass consumption that characterise other lightly-intoxicating substances in other war-torn countries, like the chewing of qat in Yemen or Somalia, for example, has remained relatively widespread. This does not mean that it is condoned by society: hashish-users, known as […]

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