Afghanistan

Capital: Kabul
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

Etymology:

  • 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-Flag

History

  • 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:

Bamiyan Airport Jalalabad Airport Nimroz Airport Gardez Airport Tirinkot Airport
Bost Airport Kandahar Airport Qala Nau Airport Ghazni Airport Mazar-i-sharif Airport
Chakcharan Airport Khost Airport Sardeh Band Airport Herat Airport Urgoon Airport
Darwaz Airport Khwahan Airport Sheghnan Airport Kuran-O-Munjan Airport Uruzgan Airport
Faizabad Airport Khwaja Rawash Airport Taluqan Airport Maimana Airport Zaranj Airport
Farah Airport Kunduz Airport      

Demographics:

  • 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.

Culture:

  • 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.

Economy:

  • 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.

Infrastructure:

  • 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.

Education:

  • 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.

Neighbour Countries:

Afghanistan is surrounded by:

  • Pakistan (south and east)
  • Iran (west)
  • Turkmenistan,
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tajikistan (north)
  • China (far northeast)

Geographical Settings:

  • 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.

Freedom:

  • Afghanistan gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 19, 1919.
  • The country’s national anthem is “Milli Tharana”.

Eminent Personalities:

  • 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)

Famous for:

  • 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:

» Colleges and Universities in Afghanistan » Sports in Afghanistan » Afghanistan Airports

Afghanistan Tourist Attractions:

  • National Museum
  • Kabool Zoo
  • QarghaReservoir
  • 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
  • Muztagata
  • Museum of Islamic Art, Ghazni
  • Id Gah Mosque
  • Kongur Tagh
  • Herat National Museum