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Afghanistan truckers use their vehicles as a canvas for poetry

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Truck in Afghanistan (Flickr)
Truck in Afghanistan (Flickr)

It's not uncommon to see lavishly painted and decorated trucks while traveling the sandy roads of Afghanistan — but beyond the visual delights, there are often subtle literary messages to be discovered, as well. It's common to see quick lines of poetry on the sides or backs of trucks; based on his time driving through the country, Borhan Osman discovered an unique mix of heartfelt messages mixed with a bit of humor by mixing in driving-related phrases alongside a declaration of love.

Don’t be upset if I take a wrong turn

I am late visiting my beloved

"Although romantic love is considered something private in Pashtun society," Osman writes, "as a value it is strong enough to become an excuse for breaching laws — for example, the traffic rules." Of course, beyond love and traffic, many verses reference Afghanistan's ongoing war. In some cases, the words borrow from the language of war but are only used metaphorically to describe the pains of love. "Drones — and al-Qaeda — become metaphors to denote an indefinite absence or disappearance of one's lover," writes Osman of the following:

I am chasing you like a drone

You have become al Qaida; there’s no trace of you