Culture & Identity of Afghanistan
WARNING: Afghanistan is currently unstable,
please read this travel warning before
The culture and way of life in Afghanistan is varied, more than varied, it is so
diverse there is no single way to define it. There are many more differences than
there are similarities in the country and few defining characteristics are all inclusive.
Most of the people are Muslim and this is probably the greatest similarity among
the people. Next, comes a loyalty to the people's local tribe, but even this
is not true among all people.
Many people in Afghanistan, or their ancestors, made their way to Afghanistan as
a safe haven from political organizations or wars. The country made a good home
due to the mountains and near isolation from mountain valley to mountain valley.
This near isolation led to a dependence on local ties, family, friends, neighbors,
and community or tribe. In fact, not even the people in the country are unified
in terms of ethnicity or language so these local ties have always been the most
important aspect of safety and identity. Additionally, this isolation has led to
a bit of mistrust to outsiders, including national-level offices like the government,
encouraging closer ties to the local community.
Today less than a quarter of the Afghanis are urbanized and over three quarters
make a living in agriculture. The way of life is still reliant on the land and on
community. For many of these farmers life revolves around the sunlight, weather,
seasons, and also religion, which holds an important place in the lives of most
people. The weekly and daily schedule is often dictated by the above mentioned items
and there is little discretionary income to take time off of work, to travel, or
to spend money on wants.