Fifteen fragments of glazed pottery were studied by scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM–EDS). The fragments, dated from between the 11th and the 12th centuries, are part of a group excavated at ancient Bust and Lashkar-i Bazar (southern Afghanistan) and belonging to the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza. All the samples are characterized by highly calcareous bodies, and all of them but one is coated with a transparent lead glaze; the last fragment is, instead, coated with a turquoise opaque lead–alkali glaze. With three exceptions, the studied fragments show underglaze decorations featuring white, red, green or black motifs applied on to a white, red or black engobe; one of the remaining glazes is applied on to a monochrome white slip and the other two directly on to the ceramic body. Optical microscopy and SEM images show that engobes and decorations were obtained by deposition of differently coloured clayey slips, the composition of which was characterized by EDS analyses. In particular, black engobes and decorative motifs were obtained by recourse to manganese and iron compounds or to chromium, magnesium and iron compounds; it appears that both possibilities could be exploited for obtaining different decorative motifs on the same object.