Rug Reminder

Afghan War Rug, 2006

In November 2001, Australia joined the United States led coalition to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, to remove the Taliban from power, and to defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan. There was no indication at the time that this would be Australia’s longest war. More than 26,000 Australian soldiers served in Afghanistan on Operation Slipper (2001-2014). For them and their families, it was a time of joy and grief, pride and loss.

This rug was purchased by Lieutenant Colonel John Spiller, Australian Army Aviation, in Afghanistan, Khandahar Province in 2006. John Spilller was part of Operation Slipper. He purchased the rug at Tarin Kowt markets to bring home as a souvenir of his time in Afghanistan. Tarin Kowt is the capital of Uruzgan Province in southern Afghanistan and was used by multiple states as a base, including Australia.

The rug is an excellent example of Middle Eastern weaving and craftsmanship. War rugs are versions of traditional prayer rugs used for centuries, depicting motifs of war from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Steeped in the traditions of Afghan carpet making, war rugs first came into being during the 1980s after Russia invaded Afghanistan in late 1979. They became a new source of income for Afghan families and usually depict tanks, airplanes, and artillery.


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