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Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
It is bordered by Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, it has a short border in the Wakhan Corridor panhandle with Xinjiang, an autonomous region of China.
With a surface area of 652,000 km², the country is somewhat larger than the Iberian Peninsula, or slightly smaller than U.S. state of Texas.
Afghanistan has a population of 26.5 million people (in 2015), capital and largest city is Kabul; official languages are Afghan Persian or Dari (50%), and Pashto (35%). The highest point in the country is Mount Noshaq 7,485 m, in the Hindu Kush mountain range.
This page aims to give you a broad overview of Afghanistan's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan | Afghanestan
Afghanistan's recent history is characterized by war and civil unrest. The Soviet Union (Russia) invaded in 1979, but was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahidin forces supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others.
Fighting subsequently continued among the various mujahidin factions, giving rise to a state of warlordism that eventually spawned the Taliban.
Backed by foreign sponsors, the Taliban developed as a political force and eventually seized power. The Taliban were able to capture most of the country, aside from Northern Alliance strongholds primarily in the northeast, until US and allied military action in support of the opposition following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks forced the group's downfall. In late 2001, major leaders from the Afghan opposition groups met in Bonn, Germany, and agreed on a plan for the formulation of a new government structure that resulted in the inauguration of Hamid KARZAI as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) on 22 December 2001.
The AIA held a nationwide Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in June 2002, and KARZAI was elected President by secret ballot of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA). The Transitional Authority has an 18-month mandate to hold a nationwide Loya Jirga to adopt a constitution and a 24-month mandate to hold nationwide elections. In December 2002, the TISA marked the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Taliban.
In addition to occasionally violent political jockeying and ongoing military action to root out remaining terrorists and Taliban elements, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread land mines.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)
See also: History of Afghanistan
Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan
short form: Afghanestan
int'l long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
int'l short form: Afghanistan
ISO Country Code: af
Local Time = UTC +4:30h
Actual Time: Fri-Jan-18 16:41
Country Calling Code: +93
Capital City: Kabul (pop. 3 million)
Other Cities: Kandahar (226 000); Herat (177 000); Mazar-e-Sharif (131 000); Jalalabad (58 000); Konduz (57 000).
Type: Islamic Republic.
Independence: 19 August 1919.
Constitution: 4 January 2004.
Area: 652,000 km² (249,935 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Landlocked; mostly mountains and desert.
Climate: Dry, with cold winters and hot summers.
Population: 26,556,000 (2015)
More than 3.5 million Afghans live outside the country, mainly in Pakistan and Iran, although over two and a half million have returned since the removal of the Taliban.
Annual population growth rate (2004 est.): 4.92%. This rate does not take into consideration the recent war and its continuing impact.
Main ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani, Kizilbash.
Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%.
Languages: Dari (Afghan Persian), Pashto.
Literacy: 30-35%; (male 51%, female 21%)
Natural resources: Natural gas, oil, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron, salt, precious and semiprecious stones.
Agriculture products: Opium, wheat, corn, barley, rice, cotton, fruit, nuts, karakul pelts, wool, and mutton.
Industries: Small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper.
Exports - commodities: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems.
Exports - partners: India 42.3%, Pakistan 29%, Tajikistan 7.6% (2015)
Imports - commodities: machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Pakistan 38.6%, India 8.9%, US 8.3%, Turkmenistan 6.2%, China 6%, Kazakhstan 5.9%, Azerbaijan 4.9% (2015)
Currency: Afghani (AFN)
Afghanistan in Figures
Afghanistan key statistical data.
Note: External links will open in a new browser window.
Official Sites of AfghanistanAfghanistan's current constitution is considered one of the most democratic in the Islamic world. Since the adoption of the constitution in 2004, Afghanistan is an Islamic republic with a presidential government system. The National Assembly (parliament) is the Legislature of Afghanistan, a bicameral body of two houses: the Wolesi Dschirga (House of the People) and the Meschrano Dschirga (House of the Elder). Head of state and the head of government is the President.
Office of the President
The Official Website of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
Afghan National Assembly
Official website of the Parliament, the highest legislative organ of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan
Official website of the Ministry.
The Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington, DC
Offers news and up to date country information.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Oslo
The Embassy is accredited to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
Afghanistan embassies worldwide
List of Afghanistan embassies in foreign countries.
Foreign Missions in Afghanistan
Address list of Foreign Missions accredited in Afghanistan.
Central Statistics Organization, Afghanistan (CSO)
Official website of the Central Statistics Organization.
Afghanistan in Figures
Afghanistan key statistical data.
More Official Websites:
Ministries of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
List of Afghanistan's National Government Agencies and Ministries.
Map of Afghanistan
Detailed Map of Afghanistan.
Google Earth Afghanistan
Searchable map/satellite view of Afghanistan.
Google Earth Kabul
Searchable map/satellite view of Afghanistan's capital city.
Map of Central Asia and Caucasus
Map of the Kashmir Region
Map of Asia
Reference Map of Asia.
NewsBakhtar News Agency
Afghan News Agency
News in Pashto.
With Afghanistan news.
Afghanistan Online Press
Todays News of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan news (in English, Pashto and Persian (Dari)).
Ariana Afghan Media
International News Sources
Up-to-date Afghanistan news.
Arab News Network based in Qatar.
Afghanistan news by the UK based Guardian.
News and Special Report by Eurasianet.org.
Reuters AlertNet - Afghan turmoil
Yahoo! News Search-Afghanistan
Press agencies news on Afghanistan .
Bookmark/share this page
Arts & Culture
Afghanistan Digital Library
The ADL will retrieve and restore works published in Afghanistan between 1870 and 1930, and will make them available via the Internet.
Online magazine with Afghanistan fiction, poetry and visual arts.
Mediothek Afghanistan promotes peace building in five provinces of Afghanistan and is dedicated to rebuilding the fabric of Afghan society.
The Survival Guide to Kabul
The online version of the first guide to the city in almost 30 years.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Afghanistan:
The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley
represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art.
The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. The site is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001.
Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam
The 65m-tall Minaret of Jam is a graceful, soaring structure, dating back to the 12th century. The innovative architecture and decoration of the Minaret of Jam played a significant role in the development of the arts and architecture of the Indian sub-continent and beyond.
On UNESCO's tentative list:
The city of Herat
The city of Herat, which is currently the regional capital of western Afghanistan, has long been of strategic, commercial and cultural significance to the wider region. Although the city has developed extensively in modern times, and has suffered the ravages of conflict, the site is unique in that it has largely retained its historical footprint, and many significant Islamic monuments have survived.
Image: Steve Evans
Business & EconomyAfghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, a weak governance, the lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government's difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country.
But the Opium cultivation is estimated to be at an all-time high in Afghanistan, despite the US spending $7.5bn to combat it.
Da Afghanistan Bank
Central Bank of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Investment Support Agency
Afghanistan's investment promotion and support agency.
Afghan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
Official website of the chambers.
Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force
The AIRTF provides information and counseling to companies pursuing business opportunities in Afghanistan (by U.S. Department of Commerce).
Ariana Afghan Airlines
Afghanistan's national carrier.
Afghanistan related Sites
Afghan Network iNteractive
Another Afghan community site.
Comprehensive information on the Land of the Afghans.
Website of Afghans around the world.
EducationThe American University of Afghanistan
The private university is planning four-year liberal-arts degrees in Business Administration and Information Communication Technology with all classes to be taught in English.
Kabul University is the oldest and largest institution of tertiary education in Afghanistan.
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Official website of the Ministry.
Afghanaid is focusing on long term sustainable development in rural areas.
National Environmental Protection Agency Afghanistan (NEPA)
Established in 2005, NEPA serves as Afghanistan's environmental policy making and regulatory institution.
Afghanistan Search Engine and web directory.
Afghanistan portal and Afghanistan related directory.
Amnesty International: Afghanistan
Amnesty International Reports.
Human Rights Watch on Afghanistan
UN humanitarian news and analysis.
Reporters sans frontières - Afghanistan
Annual report about Press freedom in the country.
Afghanistan: The war logs
Secret military files have been opened up by Wikileaks in a joint venture with the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel.
BBC - Country profile: Afghanistan
With links to Afghanistan related news and background information.
The World Factbook -- Afghanistan
Countries in Central Asia:
Iran | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Tajikistan | Turkmenistan | Uzbekistan
Countries in South Central Asia:
Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka
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