A Long Shot in the Hindu Kush: Archery in Nuristan – Jonathan Rider


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An RSAA lecture with Jonathan Rider.

Nuristan was the last province in Afghanistan to be converted (very forcibly) to Islam in 1896. To this day it retains a distinct cultural identity and is famous for its architecture. Less well documented is the practice of archery.

For the last two decades Nuristan experienced some of the most intense conflict in the country. It has been virtually inaccessible to researchers and despite its remoteness and isolation, Nuristan’s pre-islamic heritage is gradually being eroded by the pressures of conflict, economic necessity and neglect.

Taliban control of the country has brought a degree of comparative security. Jonathan Rider recently took the opportunity to travel to Nuristan to conduct a preliminary assessment of the province’s unique cultural heritage, and to participate in the local archery tournament. His talk will provide a lively account of archery in Afghanistan, and a glimpse of life under the Taliban.