Posted by: Christian | July 17, 2008

Nuristan Backgrounder

The loss of nine American soldiers, along with the previous withdrawals of troops nearby, has now led to a (tactical) retreat from the Waygal District and an apparent victory for the ACM (Taliban, AQ, Hizb, Lashkar-i Taiba and/or whoever else) [added later: and/or Jaish-i Muhammad] in a strategically vital part of Nuristan. Why strategically vital? I just wrote about it. Giustozzi’s infiltration map goes something like this: Pakistan→Nuristan→Laghman→Kapisa→Kabul.

Photo via ZeroHour: US soldier in Nuristan.

I have been concentrating on Eastern Afghanistan because I feel that the region has been grossly under-reported in relation to its importance. Thank God for the Vanity Fair article on the Korengal stirring up interest in this part of Afghanistan.

You could know everything about Afghanistan and nothing about Nuristan. Calling the place “unique” does not do it justice. But the problem with Nuristan is finding informed analysis. It is not easily available, the sources I have tracked down are mostly in hard to find academic journals and occasional university libraries. I have put up a few of those sources at the end of this entry. I have been finding more of the older sources and they will be included in the next (September) bibliography I put out.

Pic via SMC: Crossing a stream in Nuristan.

I’ll get straight to the important part. Last fall I saw a notice on the Central Eurasian Studies Society listserv for a lecture on Nuristan at the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies at Boston University by two Nuristan experts, Richard Strand and David Katz. I very much would have liked to revisit Boston University, but I was working minimum wage ($6.30?) in a sandwich shop next to the Indiana University campus waiting word on PhD program applications while not paying rent at a friend’s house. So I didn’t go.

But just recently Joshua Foust, who has “crazily” been insisting for months that the security situation in Eastern Afghanistan is not all that great, pointed to the video release of the lectures. They were some rather big files so I put them up on Google video and made them embeddable. You will not find a better analysis anywhere from anybody.

First up, Richard Strand’s lecture:

Next, David Katz’s lecture:

And finally, the post-lecture Q&A (click here if third video won’t play):

For further reading, check out these blog entries and some of the very well informed comments at the bottom of each:


And on my blog:


Somewhat related:


Photo via Doug Grindle: Nuristan 2007.


  1. […] a really cool site that I’ll check into now and again. A series of lectures on Nuristan- Nuristan Lectures Watch, listen, and learn, kids. Worthy stuff… __________________ "This aggression will […]

  2. […] on Nuristan here and here. Or just go to Registan and read stories tagged with […]

  3. nuristan is one of important region of Afghanistan
    and people also restrict and religious .


%d bloggers like this: