PEN Afghanistan was established in 2004 after the initiative of and support from Norwegian PEN. From there on the Writers’ House was established in Kabul by PEN Afghanistan, with the support of Norwegian PEN and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since its establishment, PEN Afghanistan has created for itself a position of the most independent and important literary center in Afghanistan. The members are young and older writers, women and men, from all language groups in the country. PEN Afghanistan has played a crucial role in creating and promoting new literary talents after the fall of the Taliban regime, and to safeguard literature produced by linguistic minorities.

PEN Afghanistan organizes over 50 literary events every year at the Writers’ House, and each event receives from 50 to 200 spectators.

The safety situation in Afghanistan has considerably deteriorated in recent years, and this has resulted in the participation of fewer female writers, among other consequences.

Most of the literary events present writers whose mother tongue is farsi or Pashto, but writers with other mother tongues have also had their own events.

Besides organizing weekly literary functions, PEN Afghanistan is a platform for debate on freedom of expression and human rights.

PEN Afghanistan publishes books, the publications represent all the various language groups. In the past few years the center has published on average 12 books every year. In country so full of conflicts and pressure like Afghanistan, having acces to books, knowledge and information has an enormous democratic meaning.

Norwegian PEN is very impressed that PEN Afghanistan still manages to maintain its operation and offer to the public.

Since the establishment of the Writers’ House in Kabul, Norwegian PEN has been the support center and sister organization for PEN Afghanistan. Norwegian PEN has organized regular delegation trips to Afghanistan, the last being in 2016 when the president William Nygaard and vice-president Elisabeth Eide traveled to Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan in May (Kabul was strongly discouraged as a destination). Nygaard and Eide participated in a two-day seminar on the press and free speakers situation in Afghanistand, and the strategies that would be further developed by PEN Afghanistand. The seminar was organized by PEN Afghanistan.

Please note that, otherwise specified, the links below are on Norwegian only.

Chronicles, press releases and articles:

23. mai 2014: Uverdig behandling av afghansk tolk – sendt ut av Norge i natt
11. abril 2014: Norsk PEN fordømmer journalistdrap
12. oktober 2012: PEN fordømmer angrepet på på Malala Yousufzai
16. desember 2009: Praise to Norwegian PEN for helping solve the Kambakhsh-case (English)
8. september 2009: Seyed Pervez Kambakhsh frigitt
11. juni 2008: Norsk PEN, Amnesty International Norge og Norsk Journalistlag ber utenriksminister Støre legge press på afghanske myndigheter
19. januar 2007: Utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre møter afghansk PEN
4. desember 2003: Norsk PEN roses for bidrag til opprettelsen av Afghansk PEN

Reports:

2005: Afghanistan: Kabul, Afghanistan, november 2005
2003: Afghanistan: Norsk PEN  Afghanistan, oktober 2003
2003: Afghanistan – PEN-delegation to Afghanistan (English)

Events:

12. mai 2016: Temakveld Afghanistan
3. april 2014: Boklansering hos Fritt Ord: «Afghanistan – ingen fred å få»
19. november 2009: Afghanistanseminar

Letters:

21. juni 2011: Åpent brev til Utlendingsdirektoratet vedrørende journalisten Yahya Najafizada
2008 Afghanistan: Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh (English)
2008 Afghanistan: Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh(English)
2008 Afghanistan: Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh(English)