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Afghan National
Clothes of Afghanistan



Nuristan (the land of light) is located in the eastern part of Afghanistan. The area was formerly known as Kafiristan (the land of non-believers) which stretched into present day Pakistan. The name was changed to Nuristan when the inhabitants on the Afghan side were converted to Islam in mid 18th century.

Of all the women’s dress styles in Afghanistan, the Nuristani dress has changed the least from the time of the Scythians. Whereas most Afghan women opt for brightly colored printed fabrics, the Nuristani women stick to solid lightweight fabrics in dark shades like black or navy blue. Part of the reason the Nuristani dress style has changed so little over the years is the remoteness of the region from the rest of Afghanistan. Most of the people live in mountainous terrain, which makes traveling in and out on the area difficult. Therefore, the people have been leading more secluded lives. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the Nutistanis retained their religious beliefs and language much longer than the other Afghan ethnic groups.

The shape and length of the Nuristani dress is similar to that of the Baluchis. It is more geometrical in shape with long sleeve. The Nuristani women embellish their clothes with embroidery using brightly colored thread. Unlike the dresses of most other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, the Nuristanis do not concentrated their embroidery in any specific area such as the bodice or sleeves. Instead, the entire fabric of the dress is covered with embroidery. The most common stitching technique used is the cross-stitch.

A pair of drawstring trousers is worn underneath the dress. The trousers are mostly made from the same fabric and color as the dress. Sometimes, a contrast color is used too.


Nuristani Women wear bead strands and beaded jewelry with bright colors and amazing designs.




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