President: Hamid Karzai
Government: Islamic republic
Population: 29.82 million (2012) World Bank
Official languages: Pashto language, Farsi, Eastern Language
Points of interest: National Museum of Afghanistan, Khyber Pass
Currency: Afghan afghani
Name of the Country:
- Conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
- Conventional short form: Afghanistan
- Local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan
- Local short form: Afghanestan
- Former: Republic of Afghanistan
- Afghanistan is officially called the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
- It translates into “Land of the Afghans”.
- The word “Afghan” is believed to have evolved "Apagan".
- The word “Afghans” was first adopted by the Pashtuns.
- The word Afghan first appeared in history in the Hudud-al-Alam in 982 AD.
- Al-Biruni referred to Afghans as various tribes living on the Sulaiman Mountains.
- The term "Afghanistan," was coined by the Mughal Emperor Babur.
- Until the 19th century the name was only used for the traditional lands of the Pashtuns.
- The kingdom as a whole was known as the Kingdom of Kabul.
- "Afghanistan" was used in context of the entire kingdom by Frederick Engels in 1857.
- It became the official name after its independence in 1919.
- Afghanistan was founded in 1747 by Ahmad Shah DURRANI.
- The earliest citizens of the country were the Pashtun tribes.
- Afghanistan served as a buffer between the British and Russian empires.
- Afghanistan gained independence from colonial rule in 1919.
- A brief period of democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The 1979 Soviet Union invasion resulted in a long and destructive war.
- The USSR withdrew in 1989 due to international pressure and anti-Communist mujahedin rebels.
- Between 1989 and 1996, there were a series of civil wars.
- Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996 to end the civil war and anarchy.
- Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action overthrew the Taliban regime.
- In 2001, the UN-sponsored Bonn Conference established a process for political reconstruction in the country.
- On 7 December 2004, First democratically elected president of Afghanistan was Hamid Karzai.
- The National Assembly was inaugurated on 19 December 2005.
Airports in Afghanistan:
- Kabul is the largest and most densely populated city in Afghanistan.
- Other major cities are Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, Jalalabad, Ghazni and Kunduz.
- The population of Afghanistan diverse in terms of ethnicity.
- The various ethnic groups residing in the region are Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen and Baloch.
- Pashto and Persian are the official languages.
- 99% of the population is Muslim.
Government and Politics:
- Afghanistan is run by an Islamic Republic government.
- The administrative divisions are divided across 34 provinces.
- The new constitution was drafted during 14 December 2003- 4 January 2004 and signed on 16 January 2004 .
- The legal system is based on mixed civil and Sharia law.
- The legal system has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
- President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004)
- The Vice Presidents are Ahmad Zia MASOOD and Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004).
- The president is both the chief of state and head of government.
- The cabinet consists of 25 ministers appointed by the president.
- The president and vice-presidents are elected by direct vote for a five-year term.
- A president can only be elected for two terms.
- Afghans are extremely defensive of their family honor, traditions and clan loyalty.
- Inter-clan disputes and warfare have been a common occurrence in the past.
- Most historical monuments and heritage sites have been destroyed in wars and by the Taliban.
- The Minaret of Jam, in the Hari River valley, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The cloak worn by Muhammad is preserved within the Khalka Sharifa in Kandahar City.
- Buzkashi is a national sport in Afghanistan which is akin to polo.
- Classic Persian poetry is an integral part of Afghani culture.
- Private poetry competition events known as “musha’era” are regularly held in communities.
- Afghanistan has bred many eminent poets and scholars in the past.
- Afghanistan's economy has seen an up rise since the fall of the Taliban.
- Since 2001, there have been marked developments in the agricultural and service sector growth.
- Afghanistan is highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries.
- The country still faces a paucity of housing, food, clean water and basic civic amenities.
- International pledges at the Berlin Donors Conference for Afghan reconstruction in March 2004 reached $8.9 billion for 2004-09.
- Opium and poppy cultivation form a large part of the nation’s illegal economic activity.
- GDP - per capita (PPP) as calculated in 2007 was $1,000
- Inflation rate (consumer prices) as calculated in 2007 was found to be 13%.
- Trade produce includes opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton and sheepskins.
- Industries include small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; hand-woven carpets; natural gas, coal and copper
- Export commodities comprise of opium, fruits and nuts, hand-woven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems.
- One unit of Afghani is equivalent to $49.
- Ariana Afghan Airlines is the national airlines carrier which caters for domestic and international flights.
- The railway system is not yet well developed.
- Buses are the primary mode of transport.
- Highways and roads are being rebuilt.
- Automobiles are now easily available in Afghanistan.
- Afghan Wireless, Etisalat, Roshan, Areeba and Afghan Telecom are the main providers of telecommunication services.
- In 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications collaborated with ZTE Corporation to establish a countrywide fibre optic cable network.
- Television and radio broadcastings are available in most parts of the country.
- Both local and international channels are broadcasted.
- The national postal system is functional.
- Courier services by FedEx and DHL are also available in the country.
- In a 2006 census, 4 million children were reported to be enrolled in schools.
- Afghanistan faces a deficiency in proper infrastructure, funds and quality teachers.
- Conservative cultural norms also hinder the education of women.
- 51% of males are literate as opposed to 36% of women.
- Presently, there are 9,500 schools in the country.
- Kabul University and American University of Afghanistan are the only centers for higher education.
- University of Balkh is under construction.
Afghanistan is surrounded by:
- Pakistan (south and east)
- Iran (west)
- Tajikistan (north)
- China (far northeast)
- Afghanistan’s geographical location is 34°31'N and 69°08'E
- Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South-Central Asia.
- The terrain is mostly mountainous with plains in the northern and southwestern regions.
- Afghanistan is one of the driest countries in the world.
- Water bodies and resources are limited.
- The climate is continental with hot summer’s bad cold winters.
- The north eastern region of the country is earthquake prone.
- Afghanistan gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 19, 1919.
- The country’s national anthem is “Milli Tharana”.
- Poets: Ustad Betab, Qari Abdullah, Khalilullah Khalili, Sufi Ghulam Nabi Ashqari, Sarwar Joya, Qahar Asey, Parwin Pazwak.
- Khaled Hosseini ( Writer): The Kite Runner (2003)
- Abu Ali Hussein ibn Sina (Scientist)
- Al-Farabi (Philosopher and scientist)
- Tourism is not very well developed and promoted in Afghanistan.
- Hand-made Persian carpets are highly in demand throughout the world.
- Afghanistan has a few Buddhist and Islamic heritage sites.
Afghanistan Related Topics:
Afghanistan Tourist Attractions:
- National Museum
- Kabool Zoo
- The Shrine of Baba Wali
- Minaret of Jam
- Jama Masjid of Herat
- Pamir National Park
- The Mausoleum of Ahmed Shah Durrani
- Tora Bora
- Pamir Mountains
- Khyber Pass
- Sultan Masood Palace
- Gardens of Babur
- Museum of Islamic Art, Ghazni
- Id Gah Mosque
- Kongur Tagh
- Herat National Museum