What comes to your mind when you hear the word- ‘Afghanistan’? Terrorism? Taliban? Burkhas? But Here are some amazing facts about Afghanistan that will leave you wondering-
1. Before the rise of Taliban, Afghanistan was not so conservative country; women could dress freely, were allowed to study. There were even Afghan girls and boys scouts.
2. The national sport of Afghanistan is buzkashi or goat-grabbing. There are two teams, riding on horse, gaining control over a beheaded goat. They even want this to become a Olympic sport.
3. Poetry is an integral part of Afghan’s culture. In a city called Herat, men, women and children gather to share poems and listen to traditional Herati music on Thursday.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger is widely adulated by young men across the country. Walls of many body building centers are put up with posters of the muscle man.
5. A Japanese journalist turned chef Hiromi, married an Afghan girl, has been living in Afghanistan and now teaches natives to make delicious sushi.
6. People of the country are not referred to as ‘Afghanis’ but as, ‘Afghans’. Afghanis is the currency.
7. Before the rise of extremism, there stood two massive Bamiyan Buddha statue. It was destroyed later.
8. Not to say but this deserved to be mentioned. Afghans have amazingly beautiful eyes.
9. Remember this face? This photograph taken by National Geographic of Afghan girl became iconic image for Afghanistan. Here is another picture of the same girl, taken after years. Her eyes captivated the world and is still recognizable as the- Afghan girl.
10. Architecture remains an identifying feature for the country. This is a picture of the Blue Mosque in Afghanistan.
11. Before invasion children were not under the constant threat of extremism. Elementary education was common even in rural areas.
12. Afghan Women were granted voting rights in 1920, equality in Afghan constitution in 1960s. By early 1990s, women formed 70% of school teachers, 50% of government workers and in Kabul, there were around 40% of doctors! Can you believe that?
13. However, entire scenario turned upside down with the later years with rise of extremists. They were infamous for brutality inflicted on women- no educational rights, beaten and thrashed publicly for being ‘unloyal’ and were forced to wear burqas.