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Asia Society
Homeland Afghanistan

Geography and Destiny For centuries, scarce resources and difficult terrain have required people in the Hindu Kush region to develop unique solutions to survive. But while geography has brought challenges, it has also offered opportunities. In Afghanistan, geography is a multi-sided destiny.

Identity and Perception Local, tribal, and religious identities in the Hindu Kush region have always shifted depending on one’s point of view. As Afghanistan decides what it means to be Afghan, it faces a kaleidoscope of moving perspectives.

Tradition and Modernization Afghans have always had to be flexible. At times, this flexibility has brought people together, and at other times it has torn them apart. Reconciling tradition and modernization means making sense of what’s at stake when people change--and when they don’t.

Traces and Narratives History is not always written. Much of what we know about Afghanistan comes from scattered artifacts, symbols, and oral traditions. Understanding these traces means piecing together the narratives that history leaves behind.

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Afghanistan Today

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0126. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

Bluuurgh. "Taliban in Herat." Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taliban-herat-2001_retouched.jpg.

G-00199-12. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

ISAF, and U.S. Marine Corps Corporal John Scott Rafoss. "090103-M-6058R-033." Digital image. Isafmedia's Flickr Photostream. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/3166572484/.

Jalali, Jawad, and UNAMA. "Photo of the Day: 15 March 2009." Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/unama/3366538261/.

Jalali, Jawad. "Photo of the Day: 8 March 2010." Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/unama/4416718052/.

Q-00498-32. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

Q2-01283-33. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

Rieger, Michael. "Photograph by Michael Rieger Taken on 09/25/2001 in New York." Digital image. FEMA Photo Library. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://www.photolibrary.fema.gov/photolibrary/photo_details.do?id=4184.

UNESCO, Manoocher, and Webistan. Kabul Museum - Statue Restoration. UNESCO, Kabul, Afghanistan. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://photobank.unesco.org/exec/fiche.htm.

UNESCO, Roya Aziz, and Star Group. Burka. UNESCO, Kabul, Afghanistan. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://photobank.unesco.org/exec/fiche.htm.

U.S. Army, and Spc. Christopher Nicholas. "Onlookers to War." Digital image. The U.S. Army's Flickr Photostream. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/4112090147/.

U.S. State Department. "Loya Jirga 2002." Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Loya_Jirga_2002.jpg.

V2-01425-04. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

V2-01425-35. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

Waezi, Fardin, and UNAMA. "Daily Bazaar." Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed January/February, 2010. www.flickr.com/photos/unama/4229588145/in/photostream/.

Waezi, Fardin, and UNAMA. "Ferris Wheel." Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed January/February, 2010. www.flickr.com/photos/unama/4151958857/in/photostream/.


Producer: Kate Harding

Even in modern times, Afghanistan has continued to find itself at the mercy of the world’s great powers. But there is more to Afghanistan’s modern history than violence.



Get to know Afghanistan today.

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