Afghanistan National Archives

The Afghanistan National Archives is working towards modernization of the building and training of their staff. My friend Karim and I spent the afternoon recently, interviewing the Director of the National Archives.

The following description is the official proposal distributed by the National Archives in the hopes of obtaining funding to assist in the rebuilding of the National Archives to International Standards.

This page is at an attempt to assist the Afghanistan National Archives in this pursuit. You can find a detailed description of the ancient art protected at the National Archives here.

Much of the information found at the National Archives is oral in nature. This means that information is known by the men and women who have worked at the Archives for the last 10-20 years. Unless the information is systematically written down, more of Afghanistan's culture and history will be forgotten.

This website is our attempt to write the complete history and make it available to the world.

The National Archives of Afghanistan houses and preserves unique and valuable collections of important historical documents, and rare manuscripts, as well as valuable examples of works of calligraphy and miniatures dating back centuries.

The basic goals of Afghanistan's National Archives are to collect and to preserve archival documents in Afghanistan and to prevent manuscripts and documents from leaving the country.

Afghanistan's National Archives is ready to respond to the scientific and literary needs of researchers and students in Afghanistan and from other countries.

The National Archives of Afghanistan welcomes scholars and researchers doing research in the fields of literature, history, politics, economy and socio-cultural issues of Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan National Archives

Publisher: Director of the National Archives

Prepared by: Khodadad Aghar Chief of Historical Documents Section; Abdul Rashid Osman, chief of Manuscripts Section; Abeda Haidari, Manager of the Board of Professionals and Faiz Mohammad Nayab, Member of the Editorial Board and Publications Officer at ABLE, the ACKU (Afghanistan Center at Kabul University)Boxed Library Extension.

With gratitude to the Government of Estonia for their support and financial help.


Afghanistan, with more than five thousand years of history, is located in the heart of Asia. This ancient land, which has had different names during the course of its history, known at different times as Ariana, Khorasan (land of the sun) and Afghanistan, has preserved much of its cultural and historical legacies, which today constitute its national cultural heritage.

This heritage is not only of value to Afghanistan, but to world culture and history. As such, it needs much attention and care by Afghanistan' National Archives staff. Afghanistan's cultural heritage falls into two major categories:

1. Immovable historical and cultural heritage including: cities, forts and palaces, minarets and monuments, stone tablets, engravings, mosque inscriptions, Madrassas (religious schools), Khaaneqahs (monastaries), cisterns, and caravan saries. Many have sustained extensive damage due to earthquake, flood, fire, war, and negligence, as well as public and personal misuse.

2. Moveable historical and cultural heritage including: coins, antique ceramics and ornaments, statues, manuscripts, old books, newspapers, journals, calendars, notices, declarations, seals, stamps, decrees, important historical official documents, deeds, formal and informal securities, treaties, public subscriptions, public letters of complaint, compacts and protocols, family trees, historical drawings and photos, musical recordings, calligraphy, paintings and miniatures, and other old items preserved in museums and official archives of the country. Part of Afghanistan's moveable heritage has been smuggled to foreign countries.

During the course of history, archives have served humanity as a treasury of cultural assets acquired by peoples over time, serving to introduce to new generations the culture and traditions of their forebears and strengthen the cultural pillars of society. This attention to national archives is a symbol of the importance given by societies to their cultural heritage through the establishment of museums and archives.

Scientific research in archeology and excavations at the most ancient sites of human civilization provide proof that the culture of archiving existed in many different ancient periods, including pre-historic societies.

No doubt, collecting, preserving and exhibiting the legacies of the past is the foremost important duty of any archive. Moreover, archives pave the ground for scientific research on the culture and history of nations. They also serve to help us identify ourselves in the light of achievements made by those in past generations for the sake of future generations.

In spite of limitations, Afghanistan's National Archives have made valuable efforts in collecting manuscripts and historical documents of the country and has taken the first steps toward promoting research on the holdings of Afghanistan's National Archives.

In order to enrich the Afghanistan National Archives, Mr. Sakhi Monir, Director of Afghanistan's National Archives, is trying to collect all original archival documents from the presidential palace archives, ministries and other national and cultural institutions in the country which house archives of their own.

In Mr. Monier's view, what exists in the National Archives is part of Afghanistan's history and also part of world history and culture. Therefore it needs permanent care and attention at the national level, together with cooperation from the international community.

The Afghanistan National Archives calls for financial assistance and cooperation to help develop and document the history of the country from all those involved with and responsible for Afghanistan's National Archives.

About the Afghanistan National Archives Building

Afghanistan National Archives Collections

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