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Decoding Afghanistan’s colourful headgear culture | Arts and Culture News


The style of wearing a cap or turban shows status and also indicates which country or ethnic group they are from.

Located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia, Afghanistan has for centuries been a meeting place of cultures and ethnicities, as evidenced by the wide variety of headgear worn by its people.

The style of a cap or turban shows the status and status of the person wearing it, and also indicates which country or ethnic group they are from.

For example, an Uzbek cap – flat and round, worn tight – decorated with colorful woolen embroidery and popular among Afghans from the northern regions of Mazar-i-Sharif, Faryab and Jawzjan.

afghan hat
An Afghan cap seller wearing an Uzbek cap waits for customers at his stall in a market near Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

The Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group whose Taliban rule is mainly hail, often prefer plain black turbans, tightly wrapped around hats with “tails” falling over their shoulders.

Villagers say that a Pashtun boy entered adulthood when he wore a turban.

In southern Kandahar, young men do not wear round, soft caps with a slit in the front on their foreheads, while elderly men, especially farmers, prefer beanies and scarves.

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Kandahari hats are sold at a market near Pul-e Khishti Mosque in Kabul [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Afghan women in some rural areas, especially in the western province of Herat, also wear hats embroidered above or below a shoulder-length chadar shawl.

The Tajiks pakol is soft with chubby rolls of sheep’s wool to keep cold heads warm in winter.

It became the symbol of the late anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who wore it on the head and his warriors from the beautiful Panjshir Valley.

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An Afghan man wearing a pakol hat takes a photo in the ancient Charikar area in Parwan province of Afghanistan [Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP]

Weddings often require a special headdress, such as the Gilgit hat worn by grooms – similar to a pakol but with a feather pinned to the front or side for a chic look.

One of the oldest styles of clothing worn by Afghans is the Karakul, made of the wool of newborn lambs and known as the cross-border Pakistani Jinnah, where it was popularized by the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali. Jinnah.

It has found new favor in Kabul as a staple of former President Hamid Karzai.

Karzai
Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai [Reuters]



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