Afghan men can be romantic; this young man just bought flowers for his fiancee in Kabul. In Afghanistan more and more men and women celebrate Valentine's Day and give each other flowers and cards. Lovers but also friends and family members seize the opportunity to express their love for each other.
Flower shops in big cities like Kabul are prepared for the day. Flowers, cards and stuffed animals are a few of the gifts the customers can buy for their loved ones. An unusual sight in times of suicide bombings and insurgency. "I wish that every day could be the same as Valentine's Day - a day of sharing gifts with friends," Mohammad Shafiq, one of the shop's customers, said.
In Afghan society, expressing one's romantic love is considered taboo. However, reciting poems about love and honouring famous poets are a daily activity for most Afghans. In the last years, it has become more common to see couples together on the streets and parks in big cities. Baby steps towards a more open-minded future, after the Taliban era ended eleven years ago.
On social media sites, Afghans are talking about whether or not they should celebrate Valentine's Day, a non-Islamic holiday. The lively discussions reflect a divided society. For the most part, urban Afghan youths embrace a liberal approach to Islam and welcome Valentine's Day.
This Afghan youngster is looking for roses for his mother. He says Valentine's Day is a day for connecting the hearts of friends and urges people to use the opportunity to renew their promises. Around 60 percent of Afghans are under 25 and 52 percent of the population is under 18 years old.
Valentine's Day is celebrated by the rich elite and urban middle class in Afghanistan. The poor face another reality: According to a World Bank study, approximately 9 million Afghans are not able to meet their minimum basic needs. The commercialized holiday is unfortunately superfluous for most of them.
More and more people in Afghanistan are celebrating Valentine's Day.