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.

Svetlana Alexievich, during the 2015 Ryszard Kapuściński prize ceremony, Warsaw. Photo: Charta97.org.

Literature Nobel Prize for Svetlana Alexievich, author of 1990 Afghanistan book Zinky Boys

Thomas Ruttig

Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Among her many breath-taking and deeply unsettling books is one about Afghanistan. Published in 1990, Zinky Boys is based on interviews with former Soviet soldiers and their relatives in her Belorussian home country in the second half of the 1980s, then still a Soviet republic. […]

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Afghan Women’s Football: The players’ passion for the game

Kate Clark

This year’s Afghan women’s football tournament has kicked off with a match pitting Kabul against Bamyan, shown live on national television. Kabul proved too strong for Bamyan and won 10:0. Yet, the Bamyan players were unbowed: Kabul has many of the Afghan national team players on its side and female soccer players in Bamyan can […]

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A Peaceful And Delightful Eid al-Adha!

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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A Taleb Lost in a Polish Forest and More: Afghanistan in western films (part 2), 2001 to 2015

Christian Bleuer

Since 2001, there has been a relatively large number of western films that feature Afghanistan – either briefly or, in some cases, for the entire length of the movie. But despite the significant numbers of American and European mainstream films that deal with Afghanistan, there are few that truly explore the country and its people. […]

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The expedition after their arrival in Kabul, with Hentig (seated, 2nd from left) and Niedermayer (seated 3rd from l.). Photo from: Niedermayer's book, In der Glutsonne Irans.

Afghanistan in World War I (2): “England must lose India” – Afghanistan as a German bridgehead

Thomas Ruttig

100 years ago and a good year after the outbreak of World War I, a German political-military mission crossed the border into Afghanistan on the night of 19 to the 20 August 1915. Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer and Werner Otto von Hentig, a Bavarian military officer and a Prussian diplomat, both with Persian experience, led the […]

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“But This Gang Of Ministers Could Neither Fly Nor Swim Properly”: Memoirs from 1920s Afghanistan (Book Review)

Jolyon Leslie

In 1927, a tumultuous time for Afghanistan as King Amanullah attempted comprehensive social reforms, an Indian teacher, Syed Mujtaba Ali, came to Kabul. His travelogue, “In A Land Far From Home”, published in India in 1948, very entertainingly reports on Kabul during those days, recalling encounters on the street as well as with the Afghan […]

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The German expedition members also gave medical treatment to the local Nuristani population. Photo from: Herrlich, Land des Lichtes (1938).

The Hunt for the Holy Wheat Grail: A not so ‘botanical’ expedition in 1935

Thomas Ruttig

AAN has just reported about an area in Central Afghanistan, the Shah Foladi in the Koh-e Baba mountain range, that was recently declared a new conservation area for its botanical diversity. This reminded AAN’s co-director Thomas Ruttig of a first ‘botanical’ expedition – 80 years ago, in 1935 – to another isolated mountainous region of […]

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Happy, Sweet Eid Days To You!

AAN Team

With the long and hot days of Ramadan fasting over, we hope that the coming Eid Al Fitr holidays will bring some sweet time with family and friends to all of you. The Afghanistan Analysts Network wishes a peaceful Eid Al Fitr to all its friends and readers, to all Muslims and particularly to the […]

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Hamstrung by Translation: How to analyse Afghanistan in an Afghan language?

Borhan Osman

The most efficient languages to write about Afghan politics and society ought to be the two main languages of the country, Dari and Pashto. No foreign language can capture the various concepts native to Afghanistan as intricately as native speakers’ own languages do, for example in the case of Pashtunwali customs. However, the local languages […]

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Bamyan, First Ever Cultural Capital of South Asia: A big party, but what else?

Qayoom Suroush

Five months late and almost half-way through its crucial year, Bamyan has finally been inaugurated as the 2015 South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cultural capital, the organisation’s first ever. Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh, Second Deputy Chief Executive Muhammad Mohaqeq and Minister of Information and Culture Bari Jahani were among the guests who […]

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Post Runners, Aerogrammes and the Big E-Mail Challenge: Scenes from 135 years of Afghan postal service

Thomas Ruttig

Calling the pre-email postal service (hand-written letters, you remember, and postcards) “snail mail” has been appropriate for Afghanistan for most of the past century, and even before. Established in 1878, it took Afghanistan’s service half a century to become part of the international postal system. After that, it was cut off during long years of […]

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The Kabuliwala of Kolkata: Photo exhibition about a community longing for Afghanistan that once was home

Nazes Afroz

In the suburbs of Kolkata, India, lives, in seclusion, a little known community of migrants who once came from Afghanistan – the first of them around the year of 1840. Kabuliwala they are called, and the today 5000 people have managed to preserve the way of life they brought from Paktia, Paktika and Ghazni. Inspired […]

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