We are The Afghan Eye. We are an independently operated media platform dedicated to critiquing and providing a counter narrative to what mainstream media portrays of Afghanistan.
From stereotypes of violence, misogyny to ‘radical Islam’; Afghanistan and the residents therein are presented habitually as savage, barbaric and in need of foreign occupation, bombing and warlords to keep them tamed. This is part and parcel of the general ‘War on Terror’ which has been instrumentalised to penalise practising, politically conscious Muslims for having the wrong views or asking the wrong questions.
This has become an entrenched perspective across much of the West. Western media has identified its select group of Afghanistan ‘experts’ who serve the interests of political organisations. Not only are these ‘experts’ not independent, they also influence the Western perspective on Afghanistan. More tragically, through the power of media in the globalised age, they influence greatly how Afghans inside and outside of Afghanistan perceive their country of origin.
Wherever you look, whether in popular, seemingly innocent fictional tales in novels, or in news coverage, the way Afghans are identified is cut to size that is ideal for mass consumption. Afghans are fighting the wars of other great powers on their soil, as they have apparently done since time immemorial. Afghans are violent, thus necessitating the need for violence against them. Afghans are embroiled in ‘ancient’, centuries’ long ethnic conflicts against one another, which there is no hope of resolving. Afghans are misogynistic, making essential the ‘liberation’ of Afghan women. Afghans are fanatical and extreme in their adherence to Islam, making them ideal targets for the imposition, by force of arms, of ‘democracy’.
We want to change this. We want to highlight the intricacies of how politics and society interact with each other in the massively complex land occupying the heart of Asia, now known as Afghanistan. We want to move beyond stereotypical tales and help our viewers and readers gain a critical perspective of Afghanistan that is not historically, ethnically or regionally deterministic. This will help you understand Afghanistan far better than alarmist headlines of the last 4 decades have tried, and failed, to do.
The Afghan Eye is an independent media platform founded and operated by Ahmed-Waleed Kakar. Ahmed-Waleed attained an MA in World History from King’s College London, and a BSc in Politics and History from Brunel University London.