Afghanistan – Guide to Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Throughout history Afghanistan has seen numerous military campaigns most notably by the Mongols, Muslim Arabs, British and the Soviet Union due to its key location on the Silk Road, connecting it to the Middle East and other parts of Asia. Afghanistan is divided by the Hindu Kush Mountains running across the country making up the central highlands; these mountains also form part of the Himalayas. The country has a largely arid climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters with high levels of snowfall particularly in the central highlands. Some Areas in the East of the country bordering Pakistan are affected by the Indian monsoon which brings moist, maritime, tropical air in the summer. The current population of Afghanistan is estimated at approximately 32 million people, with many who had fled the troubles now starting to return. At one point the Afghan refugee population in Pakistan alone reached 3. The capital city Kabul is the largest in Afghanistan with a population of over three and a half million people. Situated 5, feet above sea level on a barren plateau surrounded by rugged, treeless mountains, Kabul guards the entrance to the Khyber Pass, the traditional route between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The city lies in the eastern part of the country, miles from the Pakistan border.

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The culture of the Pashtun people is highlighted since at least the time of Herodotus — BC or Alexander the Great , when he explored the Afghanistan and Pakistan region in BC. The Pashtun culture has had little outside influence over the ages. It is an ancient annual Pashtun festival which celebrates both the beginning of spring and the New Year.

Amongst some Pashtuns , Sheshbeeyeh, a prelude festival to Nawroz , is also celebrated. This tradition still survives, mainly amongst the southerners, in Bannu and Waziristan. Afghanistan and Pakhtunkhwa. The Pata Khazana contains Pashto poetry written as far back as the 8th century.

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Clues for spotting fake profiles. One day Georgina received a friend request from a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. She decided to accept the request and allowed ‘Jim’ to be her Facebook friend. Soon after befriending her, Jim told Georgina he had lost his wife to cancer and his story of looking after her was similar to her own experience when her husband had died of cancer. S military was nearly finished.

The big issues you have to look out for are Visa, Respect and Culture. The first one is simple. Loads of Afghans are desperately searching for a way out of.

KABUL — Mohammad Wali was just 12 years old when his widowed mother began arranging his marriage to a year-old woman from their village in Ghazni Province. I want to go to school. But his mother insisted on the marriage to ensure that she and Wali’s two teenage sisters would not become street beggars — a possibility she feared because of local inheritance customs for widows who don’t have a male heir. Your sisters will get nothing. Reluctantly, after his mother also promised he could marry a second wife of his own choosing when he was older, Mohammad agreed to the wedding — consent required from him for the marriage to be valid under Islamic law.

The impoverished family scrimped and saved to gather the double dowry the bride’s father demanded to marry off his daughter to a boy who was too young to support his own family. Mohammad Wali was married on December 8, , at the age of Within a year, the couple’s first child was born — but to the disappointment of Wali’s mother, it was a baby girl. Now, shortly after turning 15 and finishing his 10th-grade exams, Wali is expecting his year-old wife to give birth to their first son in October.

The Shattered Afghan Dream of Peace

Religion has long played a paramount role in the daily life and social customs of Afghanistan. Even under the mujahideen leaders, Afghanistan appeared to be on a course of Islamization: the sale of alcohol was banned, and women were pressured to cover their heads in public and adopt traditional Muslim dress. But far more stringent practices were imposed as the Taliban enforced its Islamic code in areas under its control. These measures included banning television sets and most other forms of entertainment.

Men who failed to grow beards and leave them untrimmed were fined and jailed—full beardedness being perceived by extremists as the mark of a Muslim—and little mercy was shown to convicted criminals.

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The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in A brief experiment in increased democracy ended in a coup and a communist countercoup. The Soviet Union invaded in to support the tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war.

The USSR withdrew in under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-communist mujahidin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in to end the country’s civil war and anarchy. A UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in , and National Assembly elections in Throughout the summer of , their campaigns disputed the results and traded accusations of fraud, leading to a US-led diplomatic intervention that included a full vote audit as well as political negotiations between the two camps.

After two postponements, the next presidential election was held in September The Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force fighting for the withdrawal of foreign military forces from Afghanistan, establishment of sharia law, and rewriting of the Afghan constitution. In , negotiations between the US and the Taliban in Doha entered their highest level yet, building on momentum that began in late Underlying the negotiations is the unsettled state of Afghan politics, and prospects for a sustainable political settlement remain unclear.

A guide to Afghanistan – etiquette, customs, clothing and more…

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Afghan culture is very collectivistic and people generally put their family’s interests ‘Dating‘ is almost totally limited to getting to know the person one will most.

I am meeting someone for the first time and I want to make a good impression. What would be good discussion topics? The best topic to discuss is asking Afghans about their lives, taking care to not raise any expectations unnecessarily. As the economic situation of the people is extremely bad, sometimes asking about how they do will be interpreted as you trying to offer some help.

It is safe to talk about their kids in general, but no personal questions should be asked, especially about female members of the family. A question about which province they come from is always helpful, especially if you know something about that part of the country and can share that with them eg: “it is a beautiful part of the country”, “I have seen pictures of it”, “I would like to go there some time” and so on. Questions on marital status of the women should be avoided, especially in front of others, as this is considered rude.

It is OK if you make some jokes, but of course it should not be targeting one person or one ethnic group in an humiliating way. I mention this because there are common jokes in Afghanistan with particular reference to some ethnic group, especially to minorities. Take care with your audience. For example, jokes that might offend women include ones which have any sexual topic or material in it.

First of all, Afghanistan is a complex country with different cultures depending on where in Afghanistan you are from.

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This means that family responsibilities tend to hold a greater importance than personal needs. Throughout all of Afghanistan, family matters are kept strictly private. Women may be slightly more likely to open up to other women about their personal life, but usually family matters are kept within the family. Afghan households are generally large and multigenerational.

Adult children usually live in the family home of their parents or in-laws throughout their life.

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Visit our new interactive Atlas! The lowest median age at first marriage is in Nimroz. Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Afghanistan, child marriage is also driven by:. Afghanistan has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by in line with target 5.

Afghanistan co-sponsored the and UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage. Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in , which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in , which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage. As part of its commitment, Afghanistan will ensure access to legal remedies for child brides and establish a uniform minimum legal age of marriage of The plan was developed in partnership with UNFPA Afghanistan and followed several consultations with the international community.

As of , Ministry of Education officials in Nangarhar are reportedly developing a pilot education programme for girls in three districts where they have identified a correlation between limited schooling and high rates of child marriage.

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KABUL Reuters – Frustrated by strict social rules, young and educated Afghans are quickly learning that taboos can be sidestepped at the tap of a mobile phone. In deeply conservative, Muslim Afghanistan, social media is opening a new route for men and women to communicate in private. Some even find love in a country where most marriages are arranged and strict rules make it tough – and dangerous – for men and women to interact even in the most liberal circles.

A recent explosion in Internet use has opened a new frontier, and many are using tools such as instant messaging to approach each other and set up dates. Social media websites such as Facebook offer a rare opportunity for couples to learn about each other before marriage, he said.

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The general pattern is to marry kin, although families try to diversify their social assets through marriage. Arranged marriages Traditional bridal jewellery from the Kabul region. Certain springs are considered holy, and their water is believed to have a curative effect.

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Although he and his family had fled the country during the Taliban regime, everyone Zubair knew seemed to agree that it was his religious duty to resist the foreign occupation of his homeland. One of his teachers arranged his enlistment in the Taliban. Zubair underwent a brief training program in Kunar Province, in northeastern Afghanistan, where his father had died during the war against the Soviet Union.

He was deployed to his native village, in the Korengal, a narrow, cedar-forested valley that harbored one of the U. For more than a year, Zubair conducted ambushes, engaged in firefights, and hid from jets and drones.

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Aug 21 1 Elul Torah Portion. Yet, up until the assassination of King Nadir Shah in , the country had been remarkably tolerant towards Jews for over a thousand years. Major Afghan cities such as Herat and Kabul were once safe-havens for Jews fleeing persecution in other lands. The Jews of Afghanistan once numbered in the thousands and enjoyed peace and prosperity. This is not because Jews did not live there before that time, but rather that all records which might have proven the existence of a pre-Islamic Jewish community in Afghanistan have been lost.

However, there are some Afghan tribes such as the Durrani, Yussafzai, and, most notably, the Pashtun who claim to be one of the Ten Lost Tribes. Jewish Virtual Library states that some Pashtuns have Jewish sounding names such as Asheri and Naftali, and they practice Jewish customs such as marrying under a chuppah and circumcising their sons eight days after birth.

Adding further fuel to the fire, the sensationalist media even published a report a few years ago claiming that the members of the Taliban may be descended from Jews. Some reports mention Persian Jews fleeing the invading Muslims in the 7th and 8th centuries, but actual records attesting to a Jewish presence in Afghanistan date back to the 10th century C. The documents show evidence of Jewish commercial activity on the Afghan part of the Silk Road, a vast ancient trade route that stretched from China to the Mediterranean Sea.

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