The Cultural Life in Afghanistan

By | March 7, 2021

Illustration to Hafez's Diwan, Herat 1523

Illustration to Hafez’s Diwan, Herat 1523

As a country located in southern Asia according to a2zgov, Afghanistan looks back on a long, turbulent history and, thanks to its role as a transit country between the Middle East, South and Central Asia, is home to rich, diverse traditions in music, folk art, architecture, painting and literature, to name just the most important areas.

A treatise on the (modern) Pashtu-language literature of Afghanistan and the Pashtun areas of Pakistan is provided by Fazal-ur-Rahim Marwat. The poet, writer and literary critic Latif Nazemi also offers a historical overview of Persian literature in Afghanistan.

In the period since the fall of the Taliban regime, contemporary visual arts in Afghanistan also experienced a new upswing, in some cases taking up traditional forms such as miniature painting.

A representative of the modern street art scene in Kabul is, for example, the graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani, who is the first woman in Afghanistan to express social and political messages with her street art, not without personal risk.

The Creators Project Meets Shamsia Hassani (English, 6:17 min.)

Short article about the young feminist graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani, whose work questions the prejudices about the role of women in Afghan society.

It is similar with the artist group ArtLords around the co-founder Omaid Sharifi from Kabul. They also use their street art on protective and security walls to sensitize the population to political and social issues and to recapture the public cultural space. It started with an anti-corruption campaign on government buildings, but the range of topics is now broader. The art of masonry is partly designed as action art for participation, so that random passers-by can take part. Officially, all of this happens with the approval of the government, but there are occasional discussions with the police and some graffiti had miraculously disappeared from government buildings overnight.

Telecommunications, Internet and Post

Mobile advertising in Afghanistan

Mobile advertising in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, a country located in southern Asia according to allcountrylist, the number of landline telephone connections is rather low at around 481 thousand (2018), and calls are mainly made using mobile phones. The radio networks are only available nationwide in the larger cities and individual regions.

There are currently six private cellular operators who have received a GSM license from the Ministry of Communications and supply Kabul, Herat, Marzar-e Sharif, Kandahar, Kunduz and Jalalabad, among others. In addition to the largest provider Roshan Telecom, these are Afghan Wireless, Etisalat Afghanistan, MTN, Wasel Telecom and Salaam. The partially privatized Afghan Telecomis, according to its own statement, the only telecommunications provider that provides a basic supply of all information and communication services (landline, mobile and Internet). With coverage of more than 200 cities and districts, Afghan Telecom currently has the largest network coverage alongside Roshan.

The telecommunications industry in Afghanistan is a booming sector with lucrative profit prospects; the number of mobile phone users has grown from around 13 million in 2010 to around 23.9 million in 2017.

Internet cafes can be found in Kabul but also in other cities such as Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif. The equipment can vary from simple to modern.

In spring 2012, the non-profit organization Young Women for Change (YWC) also opened the Sahar Gul Internet Cafe in Kabul, which is intended exclusively for women and is intended to give them safe and undisturbed access to the World Wide Web.

In addition, of course, there is also the good old post office, which was founded in 1878, although Afghanistan only became part of the Universal Postal Union in 1928, which among other things handles cross-border mail regulates, has joined. The state-run Afghan Post with 463 post offices delivers letters and parcels nationally and internationally. Other private courier companies also offer their postal services: In addition to the internationally operating DHL, FedEx and TNT, these are the national companies Bakhtar Speedy Post, Naye Postal Service Company, Aeroparcel, Kabul Ariana Speedy Post and Shaheer.

The opening times of the post offices in Kabul are from Saturday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Country overview

Afghanistan, located at the interface of Central and South Asia according to allunitconverters, is predominantly determined by mountain regions, but shows a diverse natural spatial differentiation. The Hindu Kush runs through the country in a northeast-southwest direction and forms the main watershed between the catchment area of the Amu-Darja and that of the Kabul rivers.

History & State

Afghanistan – a state under construction. The national unity government agreed after the 2014 presidential election, internally divided, acted ineffectively in the face of major challenges. The 2019 presidential election was contested by Ashraf Ghani, which was not recognized by rival Abdullah Abdullah. The disputes sparked a state crisis, but eventually a power-sharing was agreed. A feeling of déjà-vus arises…

Economy & Development

The economic (re) construction of Afghanistan has had some spectacular successes in the past few years, but remains acutely at risk from terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption.

Society & culture

Afghan society has always been shaped by two factors: ethnic diversity and traditional character. Since prehistoric times, Afghanistan has been a transit country par excellence, both for belligerent conquerors and for traders and missionaries of various religions.

Everyday life & practical information

Traveling to Afghanistan is strongly advised against taking into account the security situation. Even for development cooperation employees, freedom of movement in the country is severely restricted. How the situation will develop is currently not foreseeable.