Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Afghan Culture

The culture of Afghanistan has been around for over two millenniums, tracing record to at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire in 500 BCE.Afghanistan translates to the "place of Afghans" or "land of the Afghans" in the nation's official languages, Pashto and Dari (Persian). It is mostly a tribal society with different regions of the country having their own separate tradition, reflecting the multi-cultural and multi-lingual character of the nation. In the southern and eastern region, as well as western Pakistan which was historically part of Afghanistan, the Pashtun people live according to the Pashtun cultureby following Pashtunwali, which is an ancient lifestyle that is still preserved until today. The northern and central regions of Afghanistan are culturally Tajik,Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimak. The western region of Afghanistan has a mixture of both Pashtuns and Tajiks, Some of the non-Pashtuns who live in close proximity with Pashtuns have adopted Pashtunwali in a process called Pashtunization (or Afghanization).
Afghanistan has been the main crossroads for Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, and has influenced its culture. Besides being devoutedMuslims, the people of Afghanistan are generally very shy and private by nature.

Art and Music

Local Art has spanned many centuries. One of the most famous kinds is the Gandhara art between the 1st and 7th century based on Greco-Buddhist art. Since the 1900s, Afghanistan began to use Western techniques in art. Afghanistan's art was originally almost entirely done by men but recently women are entering the arts programs at Kabul University. Art is largely centered at the Kabul Museum and the National Art Gallery of Afghanistan located in Kabul.
Traditionally, only men have been involved in theater acting. Recently, in theater arts women have begun to take center stage. Afghanistan holds the 47th largest club in the Middle East, the Jiffa Zayin, with a capacity of 180.
Other known forms of art in the country are Music and Poetry. The art of making carpets has been prominent for centuries. Afghanistan is known for making beautiful oriental rugs. The Afghan carpet has certain prints that make them unique to Afghanistan.
Since the 1980s, Afghanistan has witnessed several wars so music has been suppressed and recording for outsiders minimal. During the 1990s, the Taliban government banned instrumental music and much public music-making. Many musicians and singers continued to play their trade in the cities of other countries. Pakistani cities such as Peshawar,Karachi and Islamabad are important centers for the distribution of Afghan music. Kabul has long been the regional cultural capital, but outsiders have tended to focus on the cities of Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif with its Qataghaani style. Lyrics across the country are typically in both Dari (Persian) and Pashto. Hindi songs from Bollywood films are also very popular in Afghanistan.


Poetry in Afghanistan has long been a cultural tradition and passion. Historically, poetry written in the Persian language has been dominant, although in modern times, poetry in Pashto and Turkic languages are becoming more recognized. Some notable early Pashto poets are Khushal Khan Khattak, Rahman Baba, Nazo Tokhi, and a number of others.
Afghanistan have had many men and women poets throughout its history but due to cultural conflicts and wars the women poets have been hidden. Today, there are some established very young Afghan women poets such as Ms. Sajia Alaha Ahrar, known as Ms. Alaha, who is currently a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington in the United States. In April 2010, she wrote a poem entitled "Desire for World's Peace" with English translation.


The region has made major contributions to the world, architecture. UNESCO has acknowledged Afghanistan's role by declaring the Minaret of Jam and the Valley of Bamiyan, home of the famousBuddhas destroyed by the Taliban, World Heritage Sites.
Other examples of universally important contributions to architecture may be found in Herat, Mazari Sharif and Ghazni.


Afghanistan has a wide varying landscape allowing for many different crops. Afghan food is largely based upon cereals like wheat, maize, barley and rice, which are the nation's chief crops. Afghanistan is well known for its grapes.
  • Popular Afghan dishes:             Palao (Traditional Rice dish)
  • Mosh Palao
    Shorba (Afghan Soup)
    Do Pyaza
    Mantu (Meat dumplings)
    Kofta (Meatballs)
    Kichiri Qaroot
    Qorma Sabzi
    Baunjan (cooked Eggplant w/Potatoes and Tomatoes)
    Bendee/Baumya (cooked Okra w/Potatoes and Tomatoes)
    Heeknusb (Hummus)
    Aush (hand made Noodles)
    Bolani (Afghan Flat Bread or Crêpe)
    Chapli Kabab
    Shor-Nakhod (Chick Peas w/special toppings)
    Naan (Afghan Bread)
    Afghan desserts:
    Gosh Feel (Pastries)
    Shir Berinj (Rice Pudding)
    Kadu Bouranee (Sweet Pumpkins)
    Spice Rub



The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, commonly known as Afghanistan is a landlocked and mountainous country in south-central Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, andChina in the far northeast. The territories now comprising Afghanistan have been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration.Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BCE.Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3000 to 2000 BC.

The country sits at an important geostrategic location which connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which has been home to various peoples through the ages.The land has witnessed military conquests since antiquity, including by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs,Genghis Khan, and many others.It has also served as a source from which many local dynasties such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans,Hephthalites, Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Timurids and others have established empires of their own.
The political history of modern Afghanistan begins in the 18th century with the rise of the Pashtun tribes (known as Afghans in Persian language), when in 1709 the Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and Ahmad Shah Durrani established the Durrani Empire in 1747.The capital of Afghanistan was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and part of its territory was ceded to neighboring empires by 1893. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the British and Russian empires.On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war and the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi, the nation regained control over its foreign policy from the British.
Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan has experienced a continuous state of civil war punctuated by foreign occupations in the forms of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the October 2001 US-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban government. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security and assist the Karzai administration. The country is being rebuilt slowly with support from the international community while dealing with the Taliban insurgency and widespread political corruption.

Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., a U.S., Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. Karzai was re-elected in November 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability - particularly in the south and the east - remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.

34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul