Afghanistan: The Code of Honor

Afghanistan lakes Band-e-Amir

The Lakes at Band-e-Amir in March, showing the strange combination of desert, snow and crystal clear waters. ©AfghanistanMatters_flickr

There is no way to describe Afghanistan in this small space, except to say that we love the people, and at the same time despair at some of their activities.

The Afghan Code of Hospitality

One of the most important Afghan tribal rules is that of hospitality.  If you are a visitor to an Afghan home, you will be given the best they have.

Afghan independence based on history

An Afghan child

An Afghan child. © DVIDSHUB_flickr

To me, the most predominant aspect of the Afghan’s personality is his independence.  The Afghans will fight to keep their independence, and have often been forced to do so. Their region—with its important geostrategic location—has been a target of many invaders since ancient times.  Since the 1970’s, the country has suffered a continuous state of civil war.

Afghan pride behind their actions

Afghans show great pride in their country, ancestry , clan, personal honor and their religion, in addition to their independence.

Better schools and a change of economy

In order for the Afghans to find their place in the modern world, they must improve their economy and their education of their people.  Although this is improving, it is slow.

They can no longer rely on the production of hashish and opium, which accounted for one-third of Afghanistan’s GDP in 2007.

The Afghans are primarily an agricultural people and are known for producing some of the finest melons, grapes, apricots, pomegranates and nuts in the world.

Treatment of Women

The western world is justly horrified by the many incidents of cruel treatment of women by men, which is particularly evident in the poor rural and extremist parts of society.   In Afghan culture, honor defines the worth and reputation of an individual and his family.   The harsh treatment of women is often rationalized by saying it is because the strict rules of society demand that a man’s honor  not be compromised  by the actions of woman in the family.    Until women gain their freedom and rights in society, the country cannot make real and lasting progress.

Great rug weavers

They are great rug weavers, and they also have the potential to utilize their  as yet undeveloped  mineral wealth.  (See also our sections on  jewelry and beads to see some of the Afghan’s new production.)

Afghan Rug Carpet Afghanistan animals

Afghan carpet. © Sharon Lundahl