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Afghanistan: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Learn About the History and Culture of Afghanistan

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province, Afghanistan

The name "Mazar-e Sharif" means "Noble Shrine", a reference to the large, blue-tiled sanctuary and mosque in the center of the city known as the Shrine of Hazrat Ali or the Blue Mosque.

Photograph by Sgt. Kimberly Lamb (U.S. Armed Forces)

Afghanistan’s history has been both peaceful and troubled—a country ruled for centuries by a stable government and rocked by civil wars. The same ancient trade routes that carried goods across the country also brought invaders and conquerors. Yet from this country reeling in controversy and paradox comes a culture rich and diverse, offering to the world a wide array of traditional and modern art, music, and literature. This collection, produced in partnership with the Association for Asian Studies, is designed to shed light on a country darkened by war, misunderstanding, and fear.

The collection includes a series of articles about Afghanistan from Education about Asia, Fall 2012 issue, plus a variety of maps, activities, articles, and other resources designed for 7th-grade students through adults. You are invited to use these resources to deepen students’ awareness of the history and culture of this often misunderstood country.


What History Can Teach Us about Contemporary Afghanistan

This article explores the deep history of Afghanistan that shapes the perceptions of the country. Through an overview of Afghanistan’s history from the 18th century to the present, the author asserts that common beliefs about Afghanistan’s history are refuted by careful consideration of the realities of long years of peace and stability.

What History Can Teach Us about Contemporary Afghanistan

The history of Afghanistan is a story of contradictions—from growth and stability to invasions, civil wars, and devastation. This article contrasts Afghanistan’s “Golden Age,” the period between 1963 and 1973, with the state of the country in the years that followed—a period that was the most destructive and tragic in the nation’s history. Gain insight into the events that brought about Afghanistan’s spiral downward, and learn about Afghanistan today—a nation attempting to rebuild.


The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. Education About Asia (EAA), published since 1996, is the teaching journal of the Association for Asian Studies.

Lesson Plan

The Geography of Afghanistan

Students are introduced to the physical and human features of Afghanistan.

The Silk Road

Learn more about the impact of this ancient trade route on Afghanistan.

Silk Road Threads Through History

National Geographic Archaeology Fellow Fredrik Hiebert explains the significance of Afghanistan to the ancient Silk Road.

The Silk Road in Afghanistan

National Geographic Archaeology Fellow Fred Hiebert talks about how the Silk Road shaped the identity of Afghanistan.