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.

AAN’s 50 Most-Read Dispatches: War, headgear, politics…

Kate Clark

AAN researchers, individually, each follow the topics that interest us – although we also keep an eye on overall output to make sure we keep our coverage broad and our topics various. But what about you, our readers: what are you interested in? Three years after re-vamping the AAN website in 2014, we took a […]

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What Links Sarajevo to Kabul? Impressions from the western end of the Persianate world

Thomas Ruttig

Sarajevo and Kabul lie over 4,000 kilometres apart. One feature that connects the two cities, however, is that both were destroyed during civil wars in the last decade of the twentieth century. Earlier this year, when AAN’s co-director Thomas Ruttig visited Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia during a vacation, he came across […]

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A decorated car often accompanies the bride as she travels from her parent’s house to the house of new in-laws. In this wedding in the Ibrahimzi area of Deh Yak district in Ghazni province, the bride price was 11,000 US dollars. (Author’s photo: 2014)

The Bride Price: The Afghan tradition of paying for wives

Fazl Rahman Muzhary

Weddings are hugely expensive affairs in Afghanistan, with excessive costs for wedding halls, lavish meals and usually a bride price. The bride price is the money paid by the groom’s family for the bride to her family. It is a contested tradition that is viewed as having no foundation in Islamic law and does not […]

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Reburial of Habibullah II (Kalakani) on Shahr Ara Hill. Photo: Pajhwok.

Who Was King Habibullah II? A query from the literature

Thomas Ruttig

The recent reburial of King Habibullah II – aka Habibullah Kalakani aka derogatively Bacha-ye Saqao (The Water Carrier’s Son) – that stirred up controversy and violence was another reflection of Afghanistan’s increasingly ethnicised politics. Competing narratives about historical events and the legacy of historical figures reflect deeper, underlying societal and political cleavages, both between ethnic […]

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Herat Shorts Festival: The effects of armed conflict on children, seen through a cinematic lens

Jelena Bjelica

What do a 16-year high school student, a middle-aged aviation engineer, a 29-year old tenth-grader in night school and a 45-year old doctor in the Afghanistan National Border Police have in common? Not just that all of them come from the western region (Badghis or Herat), but all of them were also competitors in the first-ever […]

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"Unaware of Eid, Khaled knows only sweat and toil", titles Pajhwok about this 13-year old from Kunduz. Photo: Pajhwok.

AAN Wishes Peaceful and Happy Eid al-Adha Days

AAN Team

دافغانستان د تحلیلګرانو شبکه د نیکمرغه لوي اختر د رارسیدو له امله ټولي اسلامي نړۍ، په ځانګري توګه د افغانستان مسلمان ولس ته دزړه له کومي مبارکی وایي. هیله ده چي دلوي اختر له برکته په افغانستان کې سوله، ثبات او ورورولي ټینګه شي. زمو‌‌‌ږ ورستۍ مقاله د لوی اختر د نمانځنې په باره کې […]

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Sign of the Olympic rings at the sports ground near the Kabul National Stadium (Photo Source: Tolonews August 2016)

Two Sides of the Medal: Afghanistan at Olympia in Rio – and infighting at home

Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s Olympics team has marched, along with those of 206 countries and territories and an additional refuges team, into the Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games (5-21 August 2016). Sprinter Kamia Yusufi carried the Afghan flag, but, in reality, this was the smallest Afghan team since the country […]

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Men dance the attan in Andar district of Ghazni, Eid al Fitr, 28 October, 2012. Photo: Fazal Mazhary

Eid Mubarak from AAN to All Our Readers

AAN Team

After each dark night, a bright morning comes, and after each Ramadan, comes Eid al Fitr. As this year’s long, hot month of dawn-till-dusk fasting ends, the AAN team would like to wish a joyful Eid to friends and readers, to all Muslims around the world and particularly to the people of Afghanistan. په هره تياره […]

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The RTA building in Kabul (Photo Source: Report by DSWCI)

“No Microphone for the President”: Can Radio Television Afghanistan still become a public service broadcaster?

Jelena Bjelica

Turning government-run Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) into a public service broadcaster, a symbol of a democratic state, has been on the agenda of both donors and the Afghan government since 2002. However, only small, cosmetic changes have so far been made. As a result, many argue that this goal is no longer realistic. The overstaffed, […]

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Kabul Duck Alert 2: Pictures of birds and birdwatchers at the Kol-e Hashmat Khan wetland

Kate Clark

The springtime migration of birds over Afghanistan is in full swing. The Kol-e Hashmat Khan wetland in south Kabul is an internationally important site for tired waterbirds to stop and rest, and build up their strength. Soon, they’ll be heading north again, crossing the Hindu Kush mountains to reach their summer breeding grounds in Central […]

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How Kol-e Hashmat Khan looks to migrating water birds: a haven amid city and mountains (Photo Source: Andrew Scanlon/UNEP)

Kabul Duck Alert: Afghan capital still important stopover for migrating waterbirds

Kate Clark

It is springtime which means birds in great numbers are migrating northwards over Afghanistan. The wetland in the south-east of Kabul city, Kol-e Hashmat Khan, is an internationally important place for water birds to rest and recuperate before taking back to the air and resuming their flight over some of the world’s highest mountain ranges. […]

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Happy Nawruz! A blessed year 1395 to our readers

AAN Team

Dear readers and friends, the AAN team wishes you a blessed, healthy and hopefully more peaceful Afghan year 1395. This year spring has come early and many trees are already in full bloom. But this is no reason to abandon the tradition of getting some pink tulips from the north, Afghanistan’s new year flowers, to mark the beginning […]

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