Family is the most important aspect of life in Afghanistan. Afghan culture is very collectivistic and people generally put their family’s attention before their own. This means that family responsibilities tend to hold greater influence than personal needs. Commitment to the family also generally succeeds any obligations to race or ethnicity.
All of Afghanistan, family matters are kept strictly private. People are often unsure to share personal issues with non-family members as community knowledge of a family’s struggles can bring shame to the household. Women may be slightly more likely to open up to other women about their personal life, but usually, family matters are kept within the family.
Afghan households are generally large and multigenerational. It is customary for women to move in with their husbands’ family at marriage. Adult children usually live in the family home of their parents or in-laws during their life. It is rare for married couples to move out into their own home due to economic circumstances in Afghanistan. In extended family households, few generations may live together.
Family roles vary between ethnicities and regions. The eldest male has the most authority and decision-making power and usually controls all family spending. Every decision has to be approved by the husband or father.
Men carry the economic weight of the family and often have to single-handedly support the entire household. For a husband and father in Afghanistan, this can mean having to earn enough to support himself, his wife, his children and any parent or in-law living with the nuclear family. Brothers and sons must also help to economically support the family, protect the family honour and discipline any misbehaviour.