Literature in both Dari and Pashto languages originated in the early Muslim centuries, when Arabic was also used. Persian poet Firdawsi completed the great epic poem Shah nameh (book of Kings) in 1010, consisting of 60,000 rhyming couplets in Dari.  Pashto literature developed immensely in the 17th century, due to poets like Khushal Kattak (national poet of Afghanistan). He was a warrior and poet who used verses to express the tribal code.  Rahman Baba and Ahmad Shah Abdali, the founder of the modern Afghan nation are other Pashto peots in history.

Dari has an extensive literature and some of the world’s greatest poets like Jalaludin Rumi have written in Dari. Rumi’s work has been translated from Dari versions to numerous other languages and is widely read all over the world.

Due to widespread illiteracy in Afghanistan, the ancient art of storytelling continues to flourish through music and spoken words and it is a highly developed and appreciated art form. Apart from being a major form of entertainment, the use of folklore has become a thread which links the past with the present in Afghan society. These folktales concern all parts of Afghan life and emphasis on traditional values, beliefs and behaviours.

The Afghanistan Historical Society and the Pashto Academy publish literary magazines and encourage new writers. Modern writings have attempted to bring Afghans closer to understanding the changes associated with the modern world, in particular, the destruction of Afghanistan by war. Burhanuddin Majruh wrote several volumes in classical rhythmic Dari prose about a traveller who joins his countrymen in exile in the year 1972. In exile the traveller exchanges ideas and narratives from ancient times in the light of modern concepts of reason, logic, science and psychoanalysis with his countrymen. The themes related to Islam and freedom were prominent during the war with the Soviets. In 1983, Gulzarak Zadran published “Afghanistan the Land of Jihad: Pakistan Uprising Waves