Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Last Lament of a Fallen Dynasty: Bukhara, Shahrisabz, and a Curious Nineteenth-Century Persian Document by James Pickett, University of Pittsburgh

Here’s a puzzle:

In Kunduz (now northern Afghanistan) the Friday sermon was read in the name of the ruling dynasty of Bukhara rather than the local Qataghan dynasts, at least during the 1850s. The Friday sermon (khuṭba) has been an Islamic symbol of sovereignty for over a thousand years. However, Bukharan troops had never set foot in Kunduz, nor had they extracted resources from that territory (at least during the reign of the Manghits, 1747-1920).

Continue reading Last Lament of a Fallen Dynasty: Bukhara, Shahrisabz, and a Curious Nineteenth-Century Persian Document by James Pickett, University of Pittsburgh

Personal Reflections on Kunduz and the Bombing of the MSF Hospital

When I heard Kunduz, a major city in the north of Afghanistan, had been overtaken by the Taliban, I was shocked. The shock did not stem from surprise, or a disbelief that Talib fighters might be capable of such a victory, despite the psychological impact, the possible loss of morale, that the takeover led to. Kunduz had long been the most problematic city in the north of the country. A mix of ethnicities, interwoven with vying political factions, meant that the Taliban were able to take advantage while the city was essentially mismanaged. Continue reading Personal Reflections on Kunduz and the Bombing of the MSF Hospital

Mother of Cities: The Oxford Balkh History Project

As we fully enter the conference season, many will be reminded that a “panel” implies varying degrees of cohesion between the different speakers.  Conference-goers who attended “Balkh: Transformation of a Sacred City in the Early Islamic Era” at the recent ASPS conference in Sarajevo from September 1-6 witnessed a panel in which all of the speakers had been working together for over two years using entirely different sources in different languages to address a common set of research problems related to the city of Balkh in northern Afghanistan.  Continue reading Mother of Cities: The Oxford Balkh History Project

NATO and Russia: Reconciling Interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia?

About 70 policy-makers, diplomats, academics, experts and students from all over the North Caucasus Federal District – as well as Moscow, Brussels and Berlin – visited the city of Pyatigorsk June 6-8, 2013 for the conference, “New Challenges to Regional Security” organized by the NATO Information Office in Moscow and Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University.  Continue reading NATO and Russia: Reconciling Interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia?