Afghanistan

Turkey: a view from the East

We often talk about Turkey as a bridge between East and West, but many times the comparisons are looking from the West. Today have a chance to see Turkey from another perspective, thanks to Ahmad Reshad Noori, a student from Afghanistan.

Reshad was part of a group of Afghan students studying Turkish in the same school when I first arrived in Turkey. These smart, enthusiastic and lively students put me to shame with their ability to learn Turkish at lightening speed! Four years later, Reshad has just graduated from a civil and environmental engineering degree at the University of Cukurova, Adana (Turkey) and is now studying for a Master’s degree. In this interview he talks about his impressions of Turkey, the rapid changes in today’s Afghanistan and his dreams for the future.

(more…)

November 4, 2011 2 comments

Quick guide to Afghan pop music

Afghanistan pop music’s heyday was during the 1970′s and the country has gone through a lot since that time. But it still has a thriving music scene. Here’s an introduction to some of the classics as well as the most popular new singers.

If you’re curious about languages, it’s also an opportunity to hear what Afghan languages sound like. The main languages spoken in Afghanistan are Dari (Persian/Farsi) and Pashto.

Ahmad Zahir

Ahmad Zahir is one of the most well-known Afghan singers. He died 30 years ago but his music is still popular.

Listen here to his album ‘Afsoos’ on the music site Mastana.

Nashenas

Another classic, Nashenas is considered by many Afghans to be the best Pashto singer.

Listen to his music here.

Shafiq Mureed

Shafiq Mureed is a young singer who studied in India, and it sounds like some Bollywood influences sneaked into his album ‘Ehsas’. It shows in the language too – although most songs are in Dari, some are sung in Hindi.

What do you think? Listen for yourself.

Farhad Darya

A modern Dari-language singer with an innovative and influential style. Find more on Farhad Darya on his official site.

Aris Parwaz

Another modern singer, with a West-meets-East sound. Listen here.

Learn more about Afghan music from National Geographic.

Like these? Do you have any favourites to add? Let us know in the comments.

Read More:
Roshan on bringing mobile phones to Afghanistan
Tightrope walkers of Xinjiang – where Central Asia meets China
Morlam DJ: Thai folk music remixed
Introduction to Arabic music from singer Reem Kelani

October 6, 2009 2 comments

Doing business, Afghan style

What do you know about Afghanistan? It’s hard not to see the scenes of violence and the tragic stories that regularly make the news. Maybe you have also heard nostalgic tales told by travellers of the 60’s and 70’s when the breathtaking Afghan mountains were a popular backpacking destination and Kabul was known as the Paris of the East. Maybe you have read A Thousand Splendid Suns, and understand some of what the Afghan people have been going through in the last couple of decades, and maybe you caught a glimpse of their resourcefulness, pride and will to rebuild their battered country.

But there’s more to Afghanistan than this. What about the success stories? The thousands of ordinary Afghans who enjoy spending time with their families, starting new businesses, making new friends on Facebook? What about the companies who are working to bring services and goods that people in other countries take for granted?

To find out more I talked to Shainoor Khoja, who works at the Afghan mobile GSM company Roshan, about life and doing business in Afghanistan. She started by telling me Ali Agha’s story (name has been changed).

(more…)

May 5, 2009 2 comments