Afghan rug

Can anybody decipher the writing on this rug?

Afghan rug

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11 Responses to Afghan rug

  1. xarxa says:

    its not arabic, the ‘ist’ at the end makes me think persian or dari

  2. Christopher Miller says:

    It looks like Persian (in this case Dari). THe last word, just to the right of “PLANES” and above the tank turret on the right is “ast” (is), Persian being a verb final language. The first word, top right, looks like qawaa-ye (forces of?) then shuuruu-ye (which I can’t identify, knowing very little Persian and only a little Arabic), followed by al-Afghaanistaan then (unclear)aalat, and second to last word on the next line, to the left of “ast” (?)r(?)n(?). “al-Afghaanistaan” here looks strange here though, being the Arabic version of the name. I wonder if the Dari isn’t perhaps as approximate as the English, or perhaps there is a mixture of Arabic and Dari?

    Interesting spelling of Kalashnikov at the bottom right (KlASHEPIKOB). It looks like a hybrid between the English version and the Russian Калашников.

  3. Christopher Miller says:

    It seems “war rugs” are a genre of their own these past several years. Google returns results quite generously, and this particular rug is just one of many pictured online that follow a “map of Afghanistan” model. There are several variants at this site:

    This one ( ) in particular gives its message in (approximate) English: USSR AMYISGOIHGOUTF AFGHANISTAN 2002.

    This image result brings up a version of the rug with much more legible Persian text:

    It reads “qawaa-ye {shuruu-ye or shuuruu’i} az afghaanistaan dar ħaalat (-e? This would only be marked as a vowel diacritic and has to be filled in in context.) xuruuj ast”. (With the approximate Arabic and Persian I know, the most likely reading to me seems to be “forces-of [shuruu-of or shuuruu-ist/an/ic] out-of Afghanistan in state (of) exit is). I’m not sure about shuuruu’i, which in the context of the sentence is the most likely reading. Perhaps “Shuuruu’i” is a native Persian word for Russian, or perhaps this is actually a misspelling of shuyuuʕi (شيوعي) ‘Communist’.

    Notice “Kalashnikov” in this version of the model: KLASHENKOB. Although it is slightly better spelt than the original version posted by Simon, it still uses Cyrillic B for V.

  4. Christopher Miller says:


    This one has “Qawaa-ye al-qaaʕ(?)h” instead of “qawaa-ye shuuruu’i…”. I’m pretty sure that is meant to be “al-qaaʕidah” (Al-Qa’ida).

    And this one is particularly full of commentary:

    Here the Persian sentence is verbless, more like a headline, and reads “qawaa-ye shuuruu’i dar ħaalat-e xuruuj az afghaanistaan” (Shuuruu’i forces in state of exit out of Afghanistan).

    This site has quite a lot of examples of the genre:

    Short Wikipedia article:

  5. Evans says:

    qawaa-ye shuuruu-ye al-afghanistan means “soviet forces of Afghanistan.” i’m still trying to work out the rest of it.

  6. TJ says:

    yep it’s afghani. not expert in pashto but the “ast” part looks persian. I think it is something common between Farsi and Pashto?? Maybe.

    Qovaa yi shivriv (shooriv, shivravy, shivrawy maybe, although the W sound is usually made as V) yi al-afghanistan n?? h’aalat farooj ast.

  7. TJ says:

    The year here says “2002” I don’t think “soviet” here has any relation to the topic.

    qova yi shiravy could mean simply “air forces” as it is pinned down in english. The other thing is “shir” means “lion” so maybe “shiravy” is just an adjective (like saying lionide). The image of a lion in the languages of orientals, be it Arabic, Farsi or others, is connected to the bravery and courage. Thus, just a theory, this phrase in the beginning would mean either “brave forces” or “air forces.” “Yi” is similar to “of” in English.

    Notice as well that Farsi is spoken in parts of Afghanistan and probably, could have been at one time the lingua franca in the region.

  8. Chris Miller says:

    I’m wondering if there is something wrong with the spam filter/moderation process? I figured this out yesterday but for the mysterious word sh•r•w•y (شوروي) which online Persian dictionaries I’ve tried don’t recognise. However, the spam from “Kouba” made it through. Maybe it’s because I sent in two more postings in quick succession, with links to mire information and pictures.

    In any case, the Persian/Dari text is :

    قواي شوروي إز افغانستان در حالت خروج است

    Quwaa-ye shuuruu’i/shuurawi/showrawi az Afghaanistaan dar hhaalat-e khuruuj ast

    “forces- sh•w•r•w•i out-of Afghanistan in state-of exit is/are” in other words, “sh•w•r•w•i forces are leaving Afghanistan”.

  9. bronz says:

    There, then it should mean “Soviet forces are leaving Afghanistan.”
    اتحاد جماهير شوروي means USSR. 2002 and Soviet don’t exactly match, though… but then the carpet itself is a little haphazard.

  10. Christopher Miller says:

    I am really mystified. My other two posts from yesterday are still languishing there with the comment “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    In any case, you can Google up “war rugs” and will immediately find tons of images, many of them other rugs (more legible) made on the same model: that’s how I deciphered what was *intended* on this particular execution of the model rug. You’ll see the spelling of “KLASHENKOB” varies to, but always with the Cyrillic B instead of Latin V. You can also go the corresponding Wikipedia article and a “warrugs” dot com site for more images. (Several online images of the same rug model have the corresponding text in English, e.g. “Russian army is leaving Afghanistan” and the like; another one says what I’m pretty sure is “Al-Qa’ida” in Persian.)

    To bronz-

    On a hunch after reading your last post, I looked up the Persian for “council” online, that being the meaning of the Russian “совет” (sov[i]et): the dictionary returned “شورا” (shuuraa) among other results. So there we are. In a more Farsi-like transcription: “Qovâ-ye Shuravi az Afghânistân dar hâlat-e xoruj ast”.

  11. Simon says:

    If your comments disappear, or are awaiting moderation, please be patient – I’ll sort them out as soon as I can.

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