Meet Naveed Noormal and learn about Afghan culture!

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We're thrilled to bring you answers from Naveed Noormal. Naveed answered YOUR questions about Afghanistan's history, traditions and culture. And he also tells us a bit about his job!

Naveed has worked as a diplomat at the Embassy of Afghanistan in London, Office of the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister, US Embassy in Kabul and non-governmental organisations. He is a fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Asia Foundation Development Program.


Why is it important for us to know more about Afghanistan’s culture and history?
blissful_message, Pabna Cadet College, Bangladesh

Good question! There are a lot of news about Afghanistan these days. You might already know that government of Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after almost 20 years of US and international partners in Afghanistan. This was shocking to many around the world. To understand the country better, it is important to understand its history and culture. The mainstream media always focuses on the current news, and it deviates the attention to history and culture of geographies, therefore, it is important for everyone to learn about a country through its history, culture and people. There are also a lot of misinformation on the internet and media about everything. To avoid misinformation and disinformation, it is very realistic to start learning about countries from reliable sources.


I don't think we hear about the 'good' sides of Afghanistan because the media choses stories that shock and gain people's attention. They only give one perspective of the country as it sells more stories. Do you agree?
respectful_squirrel, Ditton Primary School, United Kingdom

Indeed! Look it is always the bad news, that makes the news. You wouldn’t hear about a school built in a suburb area of Afghanistan from media, but if a bomb blasts, the news gets across the world in a couple seconds. That is why, for us to know more about a country, it is important that we talk to people who know the country well and those are mostly the citizens of that specific country. Sometimes you get these foreign experts on a country, but believe it or not, they would still look at the country from their own perspective. What I can tell you here is that there many good sides of Afghanistan that needs to be shown to the world. Afghanistan is a country with a tremendous history and civilization. There are historical places that you must see, they have delicious food, famous for their dry fruits, rugs and hand-woven carpets, beautiful scenery and very hospitable people.


There are historical places that you must see, they have delicious food, famous for their dry fruits, rugs and hand-woven carpets, beautiful scenery and very hospitable people.

Naveed Noormal


How has your job helped you pay attention to the positive stories coming from Afghanistan?
healthy_antelope, Beit Hanoun Prep Girls A School, Occupied Palestinian Territory

A part of a diplomat’s job is to talk about their country and make sure that people understand the reality on the ground. My job as a diplomat helped me connect with different people from grassroot to policy-making level. To be able to lobby about positive stories of your country, you need to learn and understand the real positive stories. In the contemporary world, fake news or misinformation are subject to a lot of crosschecks, therefore, you need to make sure what you share with people is true, otherwise, you can’t only help lobbying about positive side of your country, but harm it in a way.


What is your strategy to unravel "unseen Afghanistan" to the world?
amazing_walrus | School of Excellence Sector-23 Rohini | India

Talk about it. The shortest answer is to make sure that you communicate with people about what you have seen in your country that they haven’t seen it on media or heard of it. Throughout my career, I have always tried to talk about unseen Afghanistan and have share my insights and analysis with people. At times, where I have seen misinformation and misrepresentation about my country, I have taken a step to discuss it and make sure an inside perspective from Afghanistan is included. It doesn’t have to be always me to talk about my perspective of Afghanistan, but a voice from inside Afghanistan who knows the realities better. Afghanistan is multiethnic country, and everyone has their own way of looking the beauties of the country. You will get different perspectives about Afghanistan if you talk to four different people from four different corners of Afghanistan. It is the diversity that makes Afghanistan more colorful and beautiful.


Make sure that you communicate with people about what you have seen in your country that they haven’t seen it on media or heard of it. Throughout my career, I have always tried to talk about unseen Afghanistan and have share my insights and analysis with people.

Naveed Noormal


I wanted to know if your jobs have had an aspect that you disliked, such as frequent travel, or prevented you from doing things you liked?
caring_personality, Shouka Prep Girls School, Occupied Palestinian Territory

Being a diplomat was always something that I wanted to become. I was passionate about it from day first when I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. However, let me share with you that every profession has its pros and cons. There are times that you get frustrated at work. I sometimes disliked my job for being too busy and I had to give my family and private time to it, however, there was always a motivation behind that I was serving my people and country. A part of diplomacy is to lobbying the policies that you receive from your principle and at times, you might not agree to it.

Thank you very much to Naveed for his brilliant answers.

What part of Afghanistan's history and culture would you like to learn more about? Explain your answer in your comments below!

Comments (17)

  • British Council.jpg playful_dragonfruit | Beit Hanoun Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    26 Nov 2021

    There is a question I want to ask you about the culture of Afghanistan that the Taliban objected to the female students’ dress, so the women used a slogan called “Do not touch my clothes” and “Afghan culture. You will be amazed to see dresses full of colors, and each dress will be distinct from others, and there are long and pleated skirts suitable for folk dance in Afghanistan.There is a woman who published these clothes and said I wanted to tell the world that the clothes you see in the media do not represent our culture, nor our identity, but I know A region in Afghanistan is a traditional and appropriate dress, but despite the diversity, these fashions share: many colors. The women also share the same idea, which is that the Afghan dress represents their identity. But the question here is I want to know the culture of Afghan clothing, as there are those who say that they They wear the veil and others say they wear short clothes?

    Reply to this comment
    1. avatar.jpg Charlotte @ The Economist
      playful_dragonfruit's comment 01 Dec 2021

      Thank you for your question to Naveed, playful_dragon! I agree, it is wonderful to see the many different colours and clothing styles that are in Afghan culture. Perhaps something to consider when asking this question is, do you think all women have the same view on clothing? Or might some people have different opinions across Afghanistan?

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg caring_personality | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    28 Nov 2021

    Thank you for these wonderful answers. We were pleased that an expert like you shared his answers with us. My other question, despite the wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, do yo think that he is United and do you think it is possible that they can start a new life that they can adapt to?

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    29 Nov 2021

    In fact, I was attracted by Mr. Naveed's saying, that Afghanistan make of different races, and this is what makes it vital, but on the other hand, is it possible for a person of one religion to encroach on a person of another?? , I mean, it is possible for one person to mistake another person, by saying something about religion, or race, or something like that.. It can be a big problem, if it is misunderstood, what are the ways in which How can such accidents be avoided? .

    Reply to this comment
    1. avatar.jpg Charlotte @ The Economist
      pioneering_wilddog's comment 01 Dec 2021

      I think what you are trying to say here, pioneering_wildog, is that where there are people from lots of different backgrounds in a country, how can we ensure that we do not cause offence to others from a different background. How do you think this could be done?

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    30 Nov 2021

    It is good for me to learn about the culture and history of Afghanistan because this gives me knowledge and experience in the field of history, which will benefit me in my lessons

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    01 Dec 2021

    The part that raises my personal curiosity is that I know a kind of Afghan culture, which is the Afghan art, or is it, as it depicts to us, that it is a barren land and a graveyard of empires. Do Afghans have an artistic asset that they can be proud of? Do they seek to advance the arts, whether cinematic or the art of painting and sculpture? I am talking about art in its comprehensive concept here!! Has Afghanistan been affected by the civilizations it has gone through? Will we find generations of Afghans bragging about works of art that have honored their country?? We must search for the bright face of Afghanistan and away from the dark image of conflict and conflict. We must find even a little light in some areas!!

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      aware_painting's comment 02 Dec 2021

      This would be an interesting thing to research, aware_painting! Could you find an example of a beautiful artwork from Afghanistan?

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    02 Dec 2021

    History does not forgive those who bury Afghani art. It has the right to show that art. We do not deny that art has been an Afghan culture since ages. Here, for example, is the art of painting in Afghanistan, and we find that the oldest oil painting on earth is from Afghanistan. The art there revolved around Islam, but in the modern era Afghan artists derive from other sources. The existence of the National Gallery is no secret to you. Which contains a wide range of local artwork

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg genuine_memory | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    02 Dec 2021

    The good thing is that you can differentiate between the right one for any decision you take, whether it is harmful or beneficial to other thank you for working with sincerity on explaining the smallest details about the history and culture of Afghanistan because this is beneficial for future and future generations

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    06 Dec 2021

    The part that I would like to know about the history and culture of Afghanistan is the customs, traditions, customs, laws, clothes and arts that the Afghani people follow.

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    06 Dec 2021

    I want to know about the customs, traditions, art, music, movies, books, monuments, religious sites, tourist places, historical sites, cemeteries, bridges, squares, and the types and forms of art that the people of Afghanistan follow.

    Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg playful_dragonfruit | Beit Hanoun Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    07 Dec 2021

    There is a question that plays on me. I am tired of thinking about this question, which is that there is news saying that Afghanistan has huge mineral wealth. Afghanistan has a great economic advantage, which will make the Taliban movement, after its second seizure of power in the country, the interest of countries looking to invest in this country. . This is what the news says. As for me, I think that Afghanistan, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, has a mineral wealth estimated at nearly a trillion dollars, equivalent to 820 billion euros, because of what it has of iron ore, copper, lithium and other minerals.

    The value of these minerals has increased dramatically in the wake of the transition and the global trend towards clean energy. During the past decade, these resources and natural wealth have not been exploited due to the conflict that tore Afghanistan.

    Reply to this comment
  • Cyfarthfa Park Primary logo introspective_science | Cyfarthfa Park Primary B| United Kingdom
    08 Dec 2021

    Naveed Is a hero, I love learning about the afghan culture and what happens. Truly a wonder.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      introspective_science's comment 08 Dec 2021

      We're glad you enjoyed reading his answers!

      Reply to this comment
  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    11 Dec 2021

    The Afghans have many cultures and arts and this has been known throughout the ages, but what I would like to know is whether Afghan art and culture have been affected by the thought of the Taliban movement?? How much is an artistic match between the movement and what the artists present? Perhaps everyone is aware of the extremist Islamic thought.. Perhaps the Taliban approach has also affected the people and the public, how it will not affect the artists who are perverted in the eyes of the Taliban, music is forbidden, and drawings in which living beings are embodiment of souls. This in their thinking is forbidden from the taboos of their strict Islamic thought. It made artists hunted under the intellectual suppression of a movement imposed by the current situation on the Afghans.

    Reply to this comment

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