Demand for Kandahari hats rises in Afghanistan

With the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, sales of Kandahari hats, traditional to the southern city of Kandahar, have surged, especially among the youth, shopkeepers said.

Kandahar, known for its predominantly Pashtun population, is celebrated for its ethnic diversity and distinctive cultural markers, including the Kandahari hat.

Despite a general economic slowdown in many sectors, the market for these traditional hats in Kandahar has seen growth.

Shopkeepers report an increased interest in the hats, known locally as Kolah Kandahari, since the Taliban’s takeover.

“Since the return of the Emirate, the Kandahari hat has become ubiquitous. Everyone, young and old, is wearing it now,” said Ahmad Musa, a local shopkeeper.

In the past five years, a new style of Kandahari hat, the Yaqoubi, has gained popularity. “The Yaqoubi design has been particularly popular for the last five years,” noted Shabir Ahmad, another Kandahar merchant.

Contrastingly, in Kabul’s Kah Froshi Street, business has declined since the Taliban’s return, according to local shopkeepers. Additionally, Kabul residents have noted economic challenges, leading many to turn to second-hand markets for clothing needs.