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.

Failings of Inclusivity: The Herat uprising of March 1979

Charlie Gammell

In the spring of 1979, Afghanistan was almost in open rebellion against the government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA); first uprisings happened around the country. One, that started today 36 years ago in Herat, succeeded in driving out the ‘Khalqi’ government and controlling the city for three days of chaotic independence in […]

Context and Culture Read more

A Perfect (Snow) Storm: What can be done against avalanche damage in Afghanistan

Ikramuddin Bahram

After an exceptional dry winter, snow finally arrived in Kabul and the northern and central provinces. However, the sheer amounts of what should have been a blessing for farmers, turned into a catastrophe for some communities living in these areas, as the snowfall triggered a series of avalanches, claiming the lives of almost 300 people. […]

Context and Culture Read more

One Day in a Year: Afghan views on International Women’s Day

Naheed Esar Malikzay

“The celebration of 8 March is a new concept, but Afghan women’s role in society has been respected for thousands of years,” President Ghani said in his speech for International Women’s Day on 5 March 2015, three days before the date. But if that is true, women’s rights activists asked after the event, why is […]

Context and Culture Read more

“An attempt to wipe out history”: The destruction of the Bamian Buddha colossi in 2001

Kate Clark Thomas Ruttig

On 26 February 2001, the leader of the Afghan Taleban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, ordered from his headquarters in Kandahar that “all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the different areas of the Islamic Emirate must be broken” because they were worshipped by people of non-Islamic religious beliefs and were therefore ‘idols.’ This kind of worship, […]

Context and Culture Read more

Six Days That Shook Kabul: The ‘3 Hut uprising’, first urban protest against the Soviet occupation

Thomas Ruttig

Today 35 years ago, the first large, urban uprising against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan took place in Kabul. It was eight weeks after Soviet tanks had rolled into the country to save the regime of the PDPA, which had taken over power in a coup d’etat 20 months earlier and quickly run up against […]

Context and Culture Read more

A Happy and Peaceful New Year!

AAN Team

Dear AAN friends and readers, we here at the Afghanistan Analysts Network would like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous new year 2015. May it bring us closer to peace in Afghanistan. The team will certainly keep you up to date about what is happening in this regard – and in many […]

Context and Culture Read more

“Green Is Happiness, Green Is Peace”: Gardening Afghanistan, from Babur to Bost hospital

Lalage Snow

A garden for a king who loved the flower covered Kabul foothills so much he wanted to be buried there, a garden for checkpoint soldiers (where once a queen allegedly had tea under an apricot tree), one for hospital patients to heal in and one for the children of a poor farmer. In the midst […]

Context and Culture Read more

Merry Christmas!

AAN Team

Here at AAN, we’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas! May your holidays, in Afghanistan as well as abroad, be peaceful. And for those who remain in Kabul and wish to celebrate in style: as every year, fancy trees  are back again and sold, including decoration, on Flower Street in Shar-e Naw. Many […]

Context and Culture Read more

Rambo Was Too Late: Afghanistan in Western films (part I), from 1909 to 2001

Christian Bleuer

Afghanistan has rarely featured in western films, especially when compared to other foreign locales – from countries in Africa to Latin America to East Asia. This cinematic neglect is matched by the lower prominence that Afghanistan was accorded in the popular imagination and in western foreign policy during this era. Despite the shortage of films about […]

Context and Culture Read more
The unfortunate, and unexploded, houbara, mistaken for a 'Taleban operative'. Photo: Khaama Press

Bird Bomber: Police kill ‘dangerous’ houbara bustard (amended)

Kate Clark

Police in Faryab have shot a wild bird which had an antenna attached to it, fearing it had been sent by the Taleban to target them. They said it exploded, scattering suspicious bits of metal. However, the bits of metal included an ID tag with a telephone number and email address and claims of it […]

Context and Culture Read more

Cult, Culture and the Need for Public Education: Why the National Museum in Kabul has little meaning for Afghans

Jolyon Leslie

The National Museum has been a powerful symbol in the portrayal of Afghanistan’s recovery since 2002 and focus of intense international attention. However, the ‘narrative of loss’ that runs through portrayals of the museum’s recent history tends to displace serious discussion as to its role as an institution in today’s Afghanistan. After more than a […]

Context and Culture Read more

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Go Online: Afghanistan’s youth and new media

Theresa Falke

Afghanistan’s mobile phone sector has made great strides and is often named as one of the success stories of post-2001 reconstruction. Although the immediate economic benefit for users is debatable, it has opened new possibilities for Afghans to communicate outside of the all-encompassing social control, particularly for women. But internet access has not kept pace […]

Context and Culture Read more