Afghan War Rug

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This rug found its way from northern Afghanistan to Okinawa as a result of a carpet trade created to serve an off-base US military market. Its importer, a Pakistani expatriate, told me the most polite US military service personnel described it as "controversial." Perhaps this is why he sold it to me for the fairly modest sum of ?4,000.

Even so, I'm inclined to agree with Max Allen (see link below) that Afghan war rugs defy analysis and interpretation, and it's unlikely they were weaved with anti-US sentiments in mind.

On the contrary, I was told that they are more likely creations of the country's Turkmen minority, transformed into refugees after the Soviet revolution, and erstwhile allies of the US invasion.

But is it possible to interpret images like this without asking the artists and their communities why they designed them as they did?

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Northern Afghanistan


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