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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan - Phones
Calling code + 93
Internet Domain name TLD - .af
Afghanistan
ATRA Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority
Afghanistan
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان
(Persian : Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānistān - ) -
د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت
(Pashto : Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat -
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Flag - Emblem
Anthem : Milli Surood
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Capital : (and largest city) - Kabul
Map Latitude : 34°31′N - Longitude : 69°08′E -  /  - 34.517°N 69.133°E -  / 34.517; 69.133 -
Official language(s) - Dari Persian and Pashto - 1 ] - -
People : - Afghan alternatives -
Government : - Islamic Republic
President : - Hamid Karzai
Vice President : - Mohammad Fahim
Vice President : - Karim Khalili
Chief Justice - Abdul Salam Azimi
Establishment
First Afghan state - 1 ] - - October 1747
Independence : - August 19, 1919
Area Total : 647,500 km (41st)
251,772 sq mi)
Water (%) - negligible
Population estimate in 2009 : 28,150,000 - 2 ] - - (37th
1979 census - 13,051,358 - Density : 43.5/km (150th)
111.8/sq mi
GDP - Purchasing power parity PPP : estimate in 2009 : Total : $27.014 billion - 3 ] - - Per capita : $935 - 3 ] -
GDP (nominal) : estimate in 2009 : Total : $14.044 billion - 3 ] - - Per capita : $486 - 3 ] -
HDI (2007) - 0.352 (low - ) (181st
Currency : - Afghani (AFN)
Time zone : - D† (UTC) +4:30
Drives on the - right
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South - Central Asia. - 4 ] - - It is variously described as being located within South Asia, - 1 ] - - - 5 ] - - Central Asia, - 6 ] - - - 7 ] - - and sometimes Western Asia (or the Middle East). It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast, and India claims a border with Afghanistan at Wakhan. - 10 ] - -
The territories now comprising Afghanistan have been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. The land is at an important geostrategic location, connecting East, South, West and Central Asia, and has been home to various peoples through the ages. The region has been a target of various invaders since antiquity, including by Alexander the Great, the Mauryan Empire, Muslim armies, and Genghis Khan, and has served as a source from which many kingdoms, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Timurids, and many others have risen to form empires of their own.
The political history of Afghanistan begins in the 18th century with the rise of the Pashtun tribes (known as Afghans in Persian), when in 1709 the Hotaki dynasty established its rule in Kandahar and, more specifically, when Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747 which became the forerunner of modern Afghanistan. - 14 ] - - - 15 ] - - Its capital was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to neighboring empires by 1893. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" between the British and Russian empires. - 16 ] - - On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has experienced a continuous state of civil war punctuated by foreign occupations in the forms of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the October 2001 US-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban government. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security and assist the Karzai administration. The country is being rebuilt slowly with support from the international community and dealing with a strong Taliban insurgency. - 17 ] - -
- Etymology
Origins of the name Afghan and List of country name etymologies
The name Afghānistān, Persian : افغانستان avɣɒnestɒn - , - 18 ] - - means "Land of Afghans", from the word Afghan .
- Origin of the name
The first part of the name, "Afghan", is, at least since the 16th century AD, the Persian alternative name for the Pashtuns who are the founders and the largest ethnic group of the country. According to W. K. Frazier Tyler, M. C. Gillet and several other scholars "the word Afghan first appears in history in the Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam in 982 AD." Al-Biruni referred to Afghans as various tribes living on the western frontier mountains of the Indus River, which would be the Sulaiman Mountains. - 19 ] - -
A Moroccan traveller, Ibn Battuta, visiting Kabul in 1333 writes: - 20 ] - -

We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called Afghans.

However, it is unknown whether these historical Afghans were identical with the Pashtuns. - 21 ] - - Summarizing the available information, the Encyclopedia Iranica states: - 22 ] - -

From a more limited, ethnological point of view, "Afghān" is the term by which the Persian-speakers of Afghanistan (and the non-Paštō-speaking ethnic groups generally) designate the Paštūn. The equation [of] Afghan [and] Paštūn has been propagated all the more, both - beyond Afghanistan, because the Paštūn tribal confederation is by far the most important in the country, numerically and politically.

It further explains:

The term "Afghān" has probably designated the Paštūn since ancient times. Under the form Avagānā , this ethnic group is first mentioned by the Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira in the beginning of the 6th century CE in his Brihat-samhita .

By the 17th century AD, it seems that the Pashtuns themselves began using the term as an ethnonym - a fact that is supported by traditional Pashto literature, for example, in the writings of the 17th-century Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak : - 23 ] - -

Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashtun and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans!

The last part of the name, -stān is an ancient Iranian languages suffix for "place", prominent in many languages of the region.

The term "Afghanistan ", meaning the "Land of Afghans ", was mentioned by the 16th century Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs, referring to the territories south of Kabul that were inhabited by Pashtuns (called "Afghans" by Babur). - 24 ] - -
Until the 19th century the name was only used for the traditional lands of the Pashtuns, while the kingdom as a whole was known as the Kingdom of Kabul , as mentioned by the British statesman and historian Mountstuart Elphinstone. - 25 ] - - Other parts of the country were at certain periods recognized as independent kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Balkh in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. - 26 ] - -
With the expansion and centralization of the country, Afghan authorities adopted and extended the name "Afghanistan" to the entire kingdom, after its English translation had already appeared in various treaties between the British Raj and Qajarid Persia, referring to the lands subject to the Pashtun Barakzai Dynasty of Kabul. - 27 ] - - "Afghanistan" as the name for the entire kingdom was mentioned in 1857 by Friedrich Engels. - 28 ] - - It became the official name when the country was recognized by the world community in 1919, after regaining full independence over its foreign affairs from the British, - 29 ] - - and was confirmed as such in the nation's 1923 constitution. - 30 ] - -
- Geography
Geography of Afghanistan
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Topography
Afghanistan is landlocked and mountainous, with plains in the north and southwest. The highest point is Nowshak, at 7,485 m (24,557 ft) above sea level. The climate varies by region and tends to change quite rapidly. Large parts of the country are dry, and fresh water supplies are limited. The endorheic Sistan Basin is one of the driest regions in the world.
Afghanistan has a continental climate with very harsh winters in the central highlands, the glacierized northeast (around Nuristan) and the Wakhan Corridor, where the average temperature in January is below −15 °C (5.0 °F), and hot summers in the low-lying areas of Sistan Basin of the southwest, the Jalalabad basin of the east, and the Turkistan plains along the Amu River of the north, where temperature averages over 35 °C (95 °F) in July. The country is frequently subject to minor earthquakes, mainly in the northeast of Hindu Kush mountain areas. Some 125 villages were damaged and 4,000 people killed by the May 31, 1998 earthquake.
At 249,984 sq mi (647,456 km), Afghanistan is the world's 41st-largest country (after Burma). The nation shares borders with Pakistan in the southeast, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far east. The country does not face any water shortage because it receives huge amount of snow during winter and once that melts the water runs into rivers, lakes, and streams, but most of its national water flows to neighboring states. The country needs around $2 billion to rehabilitate its irrigation systems so that the water is properly used.
The country's natural resources include gold, silver, copper, zinc, and iron ore in the Southeast; precious and semi-precious stones (such as lapis, emerald, and azure) in the Northeast; and potentially significant petroleum and natural gas reserves in the North. The country also has uranium, coal, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, and salt. - 33 ] - - - 34 ] - - - 35 ] - - - 36 ] - - However, these significant mineral and energy resources remain largely untapped due to the wars. In 2010, U.S. Pentagon and American geologists have revealed the discovery of about $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits across Afghanistan - 37 ] - - although the Afghan government insists that they are worth at least $3 trillion. - 38 ] - - - 39 ] - -
- History
History of Afghanistan
History of Afghanistan
Flag of Afghanistan
See also
Ariana  - Khorasan
Timeline
Pre-Islamic Period
Bactria-Margiana (2200#1700 BC
Kambojas (?-550 BC
Median Empire (728#550 BC
Achaemenids (550#330 BC
Seleucids (330#150 BC
Mauryans (305#180 BC
Greco-Bactrians (256#125 BC
Indo-Greeks (180#130 BC
Indo-Scythians (Sakas) (155#80? BC
Indo-Parthians (20 BC-50? AD
Kushans (135 BC-248 AD
Sassanids (230#565) - 40 ] - -
Indo-Sassanids (248#410
Kidarites (320#465
Hephthalites (410#557
Kabul Shahi (565#879) - 41 ] - -
Islamic Period
Rashidun Caliphate (642#641
Umayyads (661#750
Abbasids (750#821
Tahirids (821#873
Saffarids (863#900)) - 42 ] - -
Samanids (875#999
Ghaznavids (963#1187
Seljukids (1037#1194
Khwarezmids (1077#1231
Ghorids (1149#1212
Ilkhanate (1258#1353
Kartids (1245#1381
Timurids (1370#1506
Mughals (1501#1738
Safavids (1510#1709
Hotaki dynasty (1709#1738
Afsharids (1738#1747
Post 18th-century
Durrani Empire (1747#1826
Barakzai dynasty (1826#1973
Republic of Afghanistan (1973#1978
Democratic Republic (1978#1992
Islamic State (1992#1996
Islamic Emirate (1996#2001
Islamic Republic (2001#
Afghan Civil War
1979#1989
1989#1992
1992#1996
1996#2001
2001#present
Though the modern state of Afghanistan was established in 1747, the land has an ancient history and various timelines of different civilizations. Excavation of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree, the University of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the area were among the earliest in the world. - 43 ] - - - 44 ] - -
Afghanistan is a country at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and often fought, and was an important site of early historical activity. The region has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them were ancient Aryan tribes who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. In certain stages of the history the land was conquered and incorporated within large empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Muslim Arab Empire, the Sasanid Empire, and a number of others. Many dynasties and kingdoms have also risen to power in what is now Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Indo-Sassanids, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids, Mughals, and finally the Hotaki and Durrani dynasties that marked the political beginning of modern Afghanistan.
- Pre-Islamic period
Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan
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Arachosia, Aria and Bactria were the ancient satraps of the Persian Achaemenid Empire that made up most of what is now Afghanistan during 500 B.C. Some of the inhabitants of Arachosia were known as Pactyans , whose name possibly survives in today's Pakhtuns / Pashtuns.
Archaeological exploration, which was done in the 20th century, suggests that the area of Afghanistan have been closely connected by culture and trade with the neighboring regions to the east, west, and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. - 45 ] - - Urban civilization may have begun as early as 3000 BC, and the early city of Mundigak (near Kandahar in the south of the country) may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. - 44 ] - - After 2000 BCE, successive waves of (semi-nomadic people from Central Asia moved south into the area of modern Afghanistan, among them were Indo-European-speaking Aryans (Indo-Iranians). - 43 ] - - These tribes later migrated further south to India, west to what is now Iran, and towards Europe via north of the Caspian. - 46 ] - - Since many of these settlers were Aryans (speakers of Indo-Iranian languages), the area was called Aryana, or Land of the Aryans . - 43 ] - - - 47 ] - - - 48 ] - -
The ancient Zoroastrianism religion is believed by some to have originated in what is now Afghanistan between 1800 to 800 BCE, as its founder Zoroaster is thought to have lived and died in Balkh. - 49 ] - - - 50 ] - - - 51 ] - - Ancient Eastern Iranian languages may have been spoken in the region around the time of the rise of Zoroastrianism. By the middle of the sixth century BCE, the Achaemenid Persian Empire overthrew the Medes and incorporated the region (known as Arachosia, Aria, and Bactria in Ancient Greek) within its boundaries. An inscription on the tombstone of King Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries he had conquered. - 52 ] - -
Alexander the Great and his Macedonian (Greek) army arrived to the area of Afghanistan in 330 BCE after defeating Darius III of Persia a year earlier at the Battle of Gaugamela. - 49 ] - - In a letter to his mother, Alexander described the inhabitants of what is now Afghanistan as lion-like brave people: - 53 ] - -

I am involved in the land of a 'Leonine' (lion-like) and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a well of steel, confronting my soldier. You have brought only one son into the world, but Everyone in this land can be called an Alexander. - 53 ] - -

Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty. The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled southern Afghanistan until about 185 BCE when they were overthrown. - 54 ] - - Their decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, leading to the Hellenistic reconquest of the region by the Greco-Bactrians. Much of it soon broke away from the Greco-Bactrians and became part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks were defeated and expelled by the Indo-Scythians by the end of the 2nd century BCE.

During the first century, the Parthian Empire subjugated the region, but lost it to their Indo-Parthian vassals. In the mid to late 1st century CE the vast Kushan Empire, centered in modern Afghanistan, became great patrons of Buddhist culture. The Kushans were defeated by the Sassanids in the third century. Although various rulers calling themselves Kushanshas (generally known as Indo-Sassanids) continued to rule at least parts of the region, they were probably more or less subject to the Sassanids. The late Kushans were followed by the Kidarite Huns - 56 ] - - who, in turn, were replaced by the short-lived but powerful Hephthalites, as rulers of the region in the first half of the fifth century. - 57 ] - - The Hephthalites were defeated by the Sasanian king Khosrau I in CE 557, who re-established Sassanid power in Persia. However, in the 6th century CE, the successors of Kushans and Hepthalites established a small dynasty in Kabulistan called Kabul Shahi.
- Islamic conquests and Mongol invasion
Islamic conquest of Afghanistan and Mongol invasion of Central Asia
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The Arabs brought Islam to Afghanistan in the 7th century from Khorasan in the northwest.
In the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century, part of the region was referred to as Khorasan. - 58 ] - - - 59 ] - - Several important centers of Khorasan are thus located in modern Afghanistan, such as Herat and Balkh. In some cases even the cities of Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul were considered part of Khorasan.
During the 7th century, Arabs brought the religion of Islam to the western area of Afghanistan and began spreading eastward. Although some accepted the new religion along the way, others refused to abandon their old faiths. Prior to the introduction of Islam, the area of Afghanistan was inhabited by people of various religious background, which included Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, Shamanists, Jews, and others. The Kabul Shahis began losing control of their territories to the Muslim Arabs, and their Kabul capital was conquered by the Saffarids in 879. The Samanids extended their influence to Khorasan and south into parts of the Afghan tribal areas in the 9th century, and by the late-10th century the Ghaznavids had made all of the remaining non-Muslim territories convert to Islam, with the exception of the Kafiristan region. Afghanistan at that point became the center of many important empires such as the Saffarids of Zaranj, Samanids of Balkh, - 60 ] - - - 61 ] - - Ghaznavids of Ghazni, Ghurids of Ghor, and Timurids of Herat.
The region was overrun in 1219 by Genghis Khan and his Mongol army, who devastated much of the land. For example, his troops are said to have annihilated the ancient Khorasan cities of Herat and Balkh. - 62 ] - - The destruction caused by the Mongols depopulated major cities and caused much of the locals to revert to an agrarian rural society. - 63 ] - - Their rule continued with the Ilkhanate, and was extended further following the invasion of Timur (Timur Lang) who established the Timurid dynasty. - 64 ] - - The periods of the Ghaznavids, - 65 ] - - Ghurids, and Timurids are considered some of the most brilliant eras of Afghanistan's history because they produced fine Islamic architectural monuments - 43 ] - - as well as numerous scientific and literature works.
In 1504, Babur, a descendant of both Timur and Genghis Khan, established the Mughal Empire with its initial capital in Kabul. By the early 1700s, the region was controlled by several ruling groups: Uzbeks to the north, Safavids to the west and the remaining larger area by the Mughals or self-ruled by local Afghan tribes.
- Hotaki dynasty and the Durrani Empire
Hotaki dynasty and Durrani Empire
In 1709, Mir Wais Hotak, a local Pashtun (historically "Afghan" ) from the Ghilzai clan, overthrew and killed Gurgin Khan, the Safavid governor of Kandahar. Mir Wais successfully defeated a Safavid army sent for retaliation and held the region of Kandahar until his death in 1715. He was succeeded by his son Mir Mahmud Hotaki. In 1722, Mir Mahmud led an Afghan army to Isfahan (Iran), sacked the city and proclaimed himself King of Persia. However, the great majority still rejected the Afghan regime as usurping, and after the massacre of thousands of civilians in Isfahan by the Afghans # including more than three thousand religious scholars, nobles, and members of the Safavid family # the Hotaki dynasty was eventually removed from power by a new ruler, Nadir Shah of Persia. - 66 ] - - - 67 ] - -

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Afghan soldiers of the Durrani Empire
In 1738, Nadir Shah and his army, which included Ahmad Khan and four thousand of his Pashtun soldiers of the Abdali tribe, - 68 ] - - conquered the region of Kandahar from the Hotak Ghilzais; in the same year he occupied Ghazni, Kabul and Lahore. On June 19, 1747, Nadir Shah was assassinated by one of his officers - 69 ] - - - 70 ] - - and Ahmad Shah Abdali called for a loya jirga ("grand assembly") to select a leader among his people. The Pashtuns gathered near Kandahar in October 1747 and chose him as their new head of state. Ahmad Shah Durrani is often regarded as the founder of modern Afghanistan. - 1 ] - - - 71 ] - - - 72 ] - - After the inauguration, Ahmad Shah adopted the title padshah durr-i dawran ('King, "pearl of the age") - 73 ] - - and the Abdali tribe became known as the Durrani tribe there after.
By 1751, Ahmad Shah Durrani and his Afghan army conquered the entire present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Khorasan and Kohistan provinces of Iran, along with Delhi in India. - 28 ] - - He defeated the Sikhs of the Maratha Empire in the Punjab region nine times, one of the biggest battles was the 1761 Battle of Panipat. In October 1772, Ahmad Shah retired to his home in Kandahar where he died peacefully and was buried there at a site that is now adjacent to the Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed. He was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah Durrani, who transferred the capital of their Afghan Empire from Kandahar to Kabul. Timur died in 1793 and was finally succeeded by his son Zaman Shah Durrani.
Zaman Shah and his brothers had a weak hold on the legacy left to them by their famous ancestor. They sorted out their differences through a "round robin of expulsions, blindings and executions", which resulted in the deterioration of the Afghan hold over far-flung territories, such as Attock and Kashmir. - 74 ] - - Durrani's other grandson, Shuja Shah Durrani, fled the wrath of his brother and sought refuge with the Sikhs.
After he was defeated at the Battle of Attock, Durrani Vizier Fateh Khan fought off an attempt by Ali Shah, the ruler of Persia, to capture the Durrani province of Herat. He was joined by his brother, Dost Mohammad Khan, and rogue Sikh Sardar Jai Singh Attarwalia. Once they had captured the city, Fateh Khan attempted to remove the ruler, a relation of his superior, Mahmud Shah, and rule in his stead. In the attempt to take the city from its Durrani ruler, Dost Mohammad Khan's men forcibly took jewels off of a princess and Kamran Durrani, Mahmud Shah's son, used this as a pretext to remove Fateh Khan from power, and had him tortured and executed. While in power, however, Fateh Khan had installed 21 of his brothers in positions of power throughout the Durrani Empire. After his death, they rebelled and divided up the provinces of the empire between themselves. During this turbulent period Kabul had many temporary rulers until Fateh Khan's brother, Dost Mohammad Khan, captured Kabul in 1826.
The Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, rebelled in 1809 and eventually wrested a large part of the Kingdom of Kabul (present day Pakistan, but not including Sindh) from the Afghans. - 75 ] - - Hari Singh Nalwa, the Commander-in-Chief of the Sikh Empire along its Afghan frontier, invaded the Afghan territory as far as the city of Jalalabad. - 76 ] - - In 1837, the Afghan Army descended through the Khyber Pass on Sikh forces at Jamrud. Hari Singh Nalwa's forces held off the Afghan offensive for over a week # the time it took reinforcements to reach Jamrud from Lahore. - 77 ] - -
- Barakzai dynasty and European influence
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First Anglo-Afghan War (1839#42). William Brydon was the sole survivor of a group of 3,600 soldiers of the British 44th Regiment of Foot and 12,400 civilian camp followers who were attacked while leaving for India.
During the nineteenth century, following the Anglo-Afghan wars (fought 1839#42, 1878#80, and lastly in 1919) and the ascension of the Barakzai dynasty, Afghanistan saw much of its territory and autonomy ceded to the United Kingdom. The UK exercised a great deal of influence, and it was not until King Amanullah Khan acceded to the throne in 1919 that Afghanistan re-gained complete independence over its foreign affairs (see "The Great Game").
During the period of British intervention in Afghanistan, ethnic Pashtun territories were divided by the Durand Line. This would lead to strained relations between Afghanistan and British India # and later the new state of Pakistan # over what came to be known as the Pashtunistan debate.
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King Amanullah Khan on a royal trip to Berlin. This trip initiated an alliance between Afghanistan and Germany.
King Amanullah Khan moved to end his country's traditional isolation in the years following the Third Anglo-Afghan War. He established diplomatic relations with most major countries and, following a 1927 tour of Europe and Turkey (during which he noted the modernization and secularization advanced by Atatürk), introduced several reforms intended to modernize Afghanistan.
A key force behind these reforms was Mahmud Tarzi, Amanullah's Foreign Minister and father-in-law # and an ardent supporter of the education of women. He fought for Article 68 of Afghanistan's first constitution (declared through a Loya Jirga), which made elementary education compulsory. - 78 ] - - Some of the reforms that were actually put in place, such as the abolition of the traditional Muslim veil for women and the opening of a number of co-educational schools, quickly alienated many tribal and religious leaders. Faced with overwhelming armed opposition, Amanullah was forced to abdicate in January 1929 after Kabul fell to forces led by Habibullah Kalakani.
Prince Mohammed Nadir Shah, a cousin of Amanullah's, in turn defeated and killed Habibullah Kalakani in October of the same year, and with considerable Pashtun tribal support he was declared King Nadir Shah. He began consolidating power and regenerating the country. He abandoned the reforms of Amanullah Khan in favour of a more gradual approach to modernisation. In 1933, however, he was assassinated in a revenge killing by a Kabul student.
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King Zahir Shah and his wife with US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline in the United States
Mohammed Zahir Shah, Nadir Shah's 19-year-old son, succeeded to the throne and reigned from 1933 to 1973. The longest period of stability in Afghanistan was when the country was under the rule of King Zahir Shah. Until 1946 Zahir Shah ruled with the assistance of his uncle, who held the post of Prime Minister and continued the policies of Nadir Shah. In 1946, another of Zahir Shah's uncles, Shah Mahmud Khan, became Prime Minister and began an experiment allowing greater political freedom, but reversed the policy when it went further than he expected. In 1953, he was replaced as Prime Minister by Mohammed Daoud Khan, the king's cous - brother-in-law. Daoud sought a closer relationship with the Soviet Union and a more distant one towards Pakistan.
During this period Afghanistan remained neutral. It was not a participant in World War II, nor aligned with either power bloc in the Cold War. However, it was a beneficiary of the latter rivalry as both the Soviet Union and the U.S. vied for influence by building such works as hotels and sewer systems. A good two lane road was constructed from Iran. Running through Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul, it ended at the Pakistani border. By the late 1960s large numbers of travelers were using it as part of the hippie trail.
- Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and Saur Revolution
In 1973, Zahir Shah's brother-in-law, Mohammed Daoud Khan, launched a bloodless coup and became the first President of Afghanistan while Zahir Shah was on an official overseas visit. Mohammed Daoud Khan jammed Afghan radio with anti-Pakistani broadcasts and looked to the Soviet Union and the United States for aid for development.
In 1978, a prominent member of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), Mir Akbar Khyber, was killed by the government. The leaders of PDPA apparently feared that Daoud was planning to exterminate them all, especially since most of them were arrested by the government shortly after. Hafizullah Amin and a number of military wing officers of the PDPA managed to remain at large and organised an uprising.
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Outside the Palace Gate (Arg) in Kabul, the day after Saur Revolution on April 28, 1978.
The PDPA, led by Nur Mohammad Taraki, Babrak Karmal and Hafizullah Amin, overthrew the regime of Mohammad Daoud, who was assassinated along with his family during the April 1978 Saur Revolution. On May 1, 1978, Taraki became President, Prime Minister : and General Secretary of the PDPA. The country was renamed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA), and the PDPA regime lasted, in some form or another, until April 1992. Some believe that the 1978 Khalq uprising against the government of Daoud Khan was essentially a resurgence by the Ghilzai tribe of the Pashtun against the ruling Durranis. - 79 ] - -
Once in power, the PDPA implemented a socialist agenda. It moved to promote state atheism, - 80 ] - - and carried out an ill-conceived land reform, which were misunderstood by virtually all Afghans. - 81 ] - - They also imprisoned, tortured or murdered thousands of members of the traditional elite, the religious establishment, and the intelligentsia. - 81 ] - - They also prohibited usury - 82 ] - - and made a number of statements on women's rights, by declaring equality of the sexes - 82 ] - - and introduced women to political life. A prominent example was Anahita Ratebzad, who was a major Marxist leader and a member of the Revolutionary Council. Ratebzad wrote the famous May 28, 1978 New Kabul Times editorial, which declared: "Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country . Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention." - 83 ] - -
The U.S. saw the situation as a prime opportunity to weaken the Soviet Union. As part of a Cold War strategy, in 1979 the United States government (under President Jimmy Carter) began to covertly fund forces ranged against the pro-Soviet government, although warned that this might prompt a Soviet intervention, according to President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski described the U.S. activities as the successful setting of a trap that drew the Soviet Union into "its Vietnam War" and brought about the breakup of the Soviet empire. Regarding U.S. support for Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski said, "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" - 84 ] - - The Mujahideen belonged to various different factions, but all shared, to varying degrees, a similarly conservative 'Islamic' ideology.
In March 1979 Hafizullah Amin took over as prime minister, retaining the position of field marshal and becoming vice-president of the Supreme Defence Council. Taraki remained President and in control of the army until September 14 when he was killed. Amin's tenure as prime minister lasted only a few months.
- Soviet invasion and civil war
Soviet war in Afghanistan and Civil war in Afghanistan
To bolster the Parcham faction, the Soviet Union—citing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborliness the two countries signed in 1978—intervened on December 24, 1979. Over 100,000 Soviet troops took part in the invasion backed by another one hundred thousand Afghan military men and supporters of the Parcham faction. Amin was killed and replaced by Babrak Karmal. In response to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and part of its overall Cold War strategy, the United States responded by arming and otherwise supporting the Mujahideen, which had taken up arms against the Soviet occupiers. U.S. support began during the Carter administration, but increased substantially during the Reagan administration, in which it became a centerpiece of the so-called Reagan Doctrine under which the U.S. provided support to anti-communist resistance movements in Afghanistan and also in Angola, Nicaragua, and other nations. The Reagan administration delivered several hundred FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles to the Mujahideen during the 1980s. In addition to U.S. support, the Mujahideen received support from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other nations.
-
Soviet troops withdrawing from Afghanistan in 1988.
The Soviet occupation resulted in the killings of between 600,000 and two million Afghans, mostly civilians. Over 6 - million fled as Afghan refugees to Pakistan and Iran, and from there over 38,000 made it to the United States - 85 ] - - and many more to the European Union. Faced with mounting international pressure and great number of casualties on both sides, the Soviets withdrew in 1989.
The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was seen as an ideological victory in America, which had backed the Mujahideen through three U.S. presidential administrations to counter Soviet influence in the vicinity of the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Following the removal of the Soviet forces, the U.S. and its allies lost interest in Afghanistan and did little to help rebuild the war-ravaged country or influence events there. ] The USSR continued to support President Mohammad Najibullah (former head of the Afghan secret service, KHAD ) until 1992 when the new Russian government refused to sell oil products to the Najibullah regime. - 86 ] - -
Because of the fighting, a number of elites and intellectuals fled to take refuge abroad. This led to a leadership imbalance in the country. Fighting continued among the victorious Mujahideen factions, which gave rise to a state of warlordism. The most serious fighting during this period occurred in 1993, when over 10,000 people were killed in Kabul alone. It was after this event that the Taliban developed as a politico-religious force in 1994, eventually seizing Kabul in 1996 and establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. By the end of 2000 the Taliban had captured roughly 95% of the country. During the Taliban's seven-year rule, much of the population experienced restrictions on their freedom and violations of their human rights. Women were banned from jobs, girls forbidden to attend schools or universities. - 87 ] - - Communists were systematically eradicated and thieves were punished by amputating one of their hands or feet. - 88 ] - - On a positive note, opium production was nearly wiped out by the Taliban by early 2001. - 89 ] - -
- United States mission in Afghanistan 2001#present
War in Afghanistan (2001#present)
Timeline of the history of Afghanistan and Invasions of Afghanistan
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2007-2008 map showing regional security risks and levels of opium poppy cultivation
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the U.S. and British air forces began bombing al-Qaeda and Taliban targets inside Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. - 90 ] - - On the ground, American and British special forces along with CIA Special Activities Division teams worked with the Tajik -dominated Northern Alliance to begin a military offensive to overthrow the Taliban. - 91 ] - - These attacks led to the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif and then Kabul in November 2001, as the Taliban retreated from most of northern Afghanistan. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was established by the UN Security Council in December 2001, to secure Kabul and the surrounding areas. - 92 ] - - In the same month the Karzai administration was also established to run the country.
As more coalition troops entered the war and the Northern Alliance forces fought their way southwards, the Taliban and al-Qaida retreated toward the mountainous Durand Line border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. - 93 ] - - From 2002 onward, the Taliban focused on survival and on rebuilding its forces. Meanwhile NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003. - 94 ] - - From 2003 onwards, the Taliban increased its attacks using insurgency tactics. Firmly entrenched in the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan the Taliban enjoyed a resurgence, showing it could launch large, coordinated and effective attacks on coalition and Afghan forces. - 95 ] - - Over the course of the years, NATO-lead troops lead several offensives against the entrenched Taliban, but proved unable to completely dislodge their presence. By 2009, a Taliban lead shadow government began to form complete with their own version of mediation court. - 96 ] - -
In December 2009, U.S. President : Barack Obama announced that he would escalate U.S. military involvement by deploying an additional 30,000 soldiers over a period of six months. - 97 ] - - He also proposed to begin troop withdrawals 18 months from that date. - 98 ] - - - 99 ] - - In January 2010, at the International Conference on Afghanistan in London, which brought together 70 countries and organizations, - 100 ] - - Afghan President : Hamid Karzai told world leaders that he intends to reach out to the top echelons of the Taliban within a few weeks with a peace initiative. - 101 ] - - Karzai set the framework for dialogue with Taliban leaders when he called on the group's leadership to take part in a "loya jirga" -- or large assembly of elders—to initiate peace talks. - 102 ] - -
- Government and politics
Politics of Afghanistan and Karzai administration
-
Hamid Karzai standing next to Faisal Ahmad Shinwari and others after winning the 2004 presidential election. The last king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah is sitting at the right.
-
Afghan Parliament in 2006
Politics in Afghanistan has historically consisted of power struggles, bloody coups and unstable transfers of power. With the exception of a military junta, the country has been governed by nearly every system of government over the past century, including a monarchy, republic, theocracy and communist state. The constitution ratified by the 2003 Loya jirga restructured the government as an Islamic republic consisting of three branches, executive, legislative and judicial.
The nation is currently led by the Karzai administration with Hamid Karzai as the President and leader since December 20, 2001. The current parliament was elected in 2005. Among the elected officials were former mujahadeen, Taliban members, communists, reformists, and Islamic fundamentalists. 28% of the delegates elected were women, three points more than the 25% minimum guaranteed under the constitution. This made Afghanistan, long known under the Taliban for its oppression of women, 30th amongst nations in terms of female representation. - 103 ] - - Construction for a new parliament building began on August 29, 2005.
The Supreme Court of Afghanistan is currently led by Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi, a former university professor who had been legal advisor to the president. - 104 ] - - The previous court, appointed during the time of the interim government, had been dominated by fundamentalist religious figures, including Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari. The court issued several rulings, such as banning cable television, seeking to ban a candidate in the 2004 presidential election and limiting the rights of women, as well as overstepping its constitutional authority by issuing rulings on subjects not yet brought before the court. The current court is seen as more moderate and led by more technocrats than the previous court.
The 2004 Afghan presidential election went relatively smooth in which Hamid Karzai won in the first round with 55.4% of the votes. However, the 2009 presidential election was characterized by lack of security, low voter turnout and widespread electoral fraud. - 105 ] - - - 106 ] - - - 107 ] - - The vote, along with elections for 420 provincial council seats, took place in August 2009, but remained unresolved during a lengthy period of vote counting and fraud investigation. - 108 ] - - Two months later, under U.S. and ally pressure, a second round run-off vote between Karzai and remaining challenger Abdullah was announced for November 7, 2009, but on the 1st of November Abdullah announced that he would no longer be participating in the run-off because his demands for changes in the electoral commission had not been met, and claiming a transparent election would not be possible. A day later, officials of the election commission cancelled the run-off and declared Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan for another 5 year term. - 106 ] - - - 107 ] - -
Corruption is many Afghans’ chief grievance against their leaders, pervading nearly all aspects of daily life. - 109 ] - - A number of government ministries are believed to be rife with corruption, including Interior, Education and Health. They either tolerate widespread malfeasance or have been powerless to stop it. - 110 ] - - A January 2010 report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that bribery consumes an amount equal to 23 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Afghanistan. Afghans are forced by corrupt government culture to pay more than a third of their income in bribes. - 111 ] - -
In the aftermath of the election, Peter Galbraith # a senior UN official in Kabul who was fired after pushing for the UN to reveal the extent of the preparation for fraud before the first vote # wrote that before the election, Karzai was seen as ineffectual and corrupt, and that now he was ineffectual, corrupt and illegitimate. - 112 ] - - Later that month, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise. - 113 ] - -
In November 2009, Afghanistan slipped three places in Transparency International's annual index of corruption perceptions, becoming the world's second most-corrupt country ahead of Somalia. - 114 ] - - - 115 ] - -
In January 2010, President Karzai reinstated Abdul Rashid Dostum to a high ranking army post despite Western demands for sweeping reform. Dostum is among Afghanistan's most notorious warlords, accused of widespread abuses including the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners, - 116 ] - - - 117 ] - - something he denies.

Constitution of Afghanistan

- Police
Afghan National Police and Afghan Border Police
-
Afghan National Police (ANP) honor guards.
Afghanistan currently has more than 90,000 national police officers, with plans to recruit more so that the total number can reach 160,000. They are being trained by and through the Afghanistan Police Program. In many areas, crimes have gone uninvestigated because of insufficient police or lack of equipment. Afghan National Army soldiers have been sent to quell fighting in some regions lacking police protection. - 118 ] - - Many of the police officers are illiterate. Approximately 17 percent of them test positive for illegal drugs. They are widely accused of demanding bribes. - 119 ] - - Every year many Afghan police officers are killed by militants.
Attempts to build a credible Afghan police force are faltering badly, according to NATO officials, even as they acknowledge that the force will be a crucial piece of the effort to have Afghans manage their own security so American forces can begin leaving. - 120 ] - - Taliban infiltration is a constant worry; incompetence and even bigger one. - 120 ] - - A quarter of the officers quit every year, making the Afghan government's goals of substantially building up the police force even harder to achieve. - 120 ] - -
Helmand is the most dangerous place in Afghanistan due to its distance from Kabul as well as the drug trade that flourishes there. Other turbulent provinces in Afghanistan include Kandahar and Oruzgan, although security in the latter has improved recently due to Dutch and Afghan counter offensives. The Afghan Border Police are responsible for protecing the nation's borders, especially the Durand Line border, which is often used by criminals and terrorists.
The Afghan government rates 121 out of 160 countries in terms of corruption. - 121 ] - - In 2009, President Hamid Karzai created two anti-corruption units within the Afghan Interior Ministry at the insistence of the United States, Europe and Iran. - 122 ] - - Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar told reporters in Kabul on November 16, 2009, that security officials from the U.S. (FBI), Britain (Scotland Yard) and the European Union (ELOPE) will train prosecutors in the unit. - 123 ] - -
- Military
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Military of Afghanistan
-
Afghan National Army Air Corps
-
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army currently has about 100,000 soldiers, with plans to increase this number to 260,000 in the coming years. It is plagued by inefficiency and endemic corruption. - 124 ] - - U.S. training efforts have been drastically slowed by the corruption, widespread illiteracy, vanishing supplies, and lack of discipline. - 125 ] - - U.S. trainers report missing vehicles, weapons and other military equipment, and outright theft of fuel provided by the U.S. - 126 ] - - Death threats have been leveled against U.S. officers who try to stop Afghan soldiers from stealing. Afghan soldiers often find improvised explosive devices and snip the command wires instead of marking them and waiting for U.S. forces to come to detonate them. The Americans say this just allows the insurgents to return and reconnect them. - 126 ] - - U.S. trainers frequently must remove the cell phones of Afghan soldiers hours before a mission for fear that the operation will be compromised. - 127 ] - - American trainers often spend large amounts of time verifying that Afghan rosters are accurate # that they are not padded with "ghosts" being "paid" by Afghan commanders who quietly collect the bogus wages. - 128 ] - -
The Afghan Army has severely limited fighting capacity. - 126 ] - - Even the best Afghan units lack training, discipline and adequate reinforcements. In one new unit in Baghlan Province, soldiers have been found cowering in ditches rather than fighting. - 129 ] - - Some are suspected of collaborating with the Taliban against the Americans. - 126 ] - - "They don’t have the basics, so they lay down," said Capt. Michael Bell, who is one of a team of U.S. and Hungarian mentors tasked with training Afghan soldiers. "I ran around for an hour trying to get them to shoot, getting fired on. I couldn’t get them to shoot their weapons." - 126 ] - - In addition, 9 out of 10 soldiers in the Afghan National Army cannot read. - 130 ] - - In multiple firefights during the February, 2010 NATO offensive in Helmand Province, many Afghan soldiers did not aim — they pointed their American-issued M-16 rifles in the rough direction of the incoming small-arms fire and pulled their triggers without putting rifle sights to their eyes. Their rifle muzzles were often elevated several degrees high. - 131 ] - -
Desertion is a significant problem in the Afghan Army. One in every four combat soldiers quit the Afghan Army during the 12-month period ending in September, 2009, according to data from the U.S. Defense Department and the Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan. - 132 ] - -
- Provinces
Provinces of Afghanistan and Districts of Afghanistan
Afghanistan is administratively divided into thirty-four (34) provinces (welayats ), and for each province there is a capital. Each province is then divided into many provincial districts, and each district normally covers a city or several townships.
The Governor of the province is appointed by the Ministry of Interior, and the Prefects for the districts of the province will be appointed by the provincial Governor. The Governor is the representative of the central government of Afghanistan, and is responsible for all administrative and formal issues. The provincial Chief of Police is appointed by the Ministry of Interior, who works together with the Governor on law enforcement for all the cities or districts of that province.
There is an exception in the capital city (Kabul) where the Mayor is selected by the President of Afghanistan, and is completely independent from the prefecture of Kabul Province.
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Map showing the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
Badakhshan
Badghis
Baghlan
Balkh
Bamyan
Daykundi
Farah
Faryab
Ghazni
Ghor
Helmand
Herat
Jowzjan
Kabul
Kandahar
Kapisa
Khost
Konar
Kunduz
Laghman
Logar
Nangarhar
Nimruz
Nurestan
Oruzgan
Paktia
Paktika
Panjshir
Parvan
Samangan
Sare Pol
Takhar
Wardak
Zabol
- Foreign relations
Foreign relations of Afghanistan
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Germany, with Franz Josef Jung to his right and James L. Jones to his left.
Since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan's new government has maintained strong relations with the United States and other members of NATO. More than 22 NATO nations deploy thousands of troops in Afghanistan as a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Apart from close military links, Afghanistan also enjoys strong economic relations with NATO members and other allies. The United States is the largest donor to Afghanistan, followed by Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and India. - 133 ] - -
Relations between Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan often fluctuate. During the Taliban regime, Pakistan had strong influence in Afghanistan due to close links with most Taliban leaders. - 134 ] - - However, Pakistan's influence has gradually waned since the overthrow of the Taliban. Though Pakistan maintains strong security and economic links with Afghanistan, dispute between the two countries remain due to Pakistani concerns over growing influence of rival India in Afghanistan and the continuing border dispute over the Durand Line. - 135 ] - - Since 2007, Afghan and Pakistani forces have been involved in a number of border skirmishes. Relations between the two strained further after Afghan officials alleged that Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved in some terrorist attacks on Afghanistan. - 136 ] - - - 137 ] - -
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Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C.
Afghanistan has strong historical and cultural links with neighboring Iran as both the countries were a part of Greater Persia. Relations between the two, which had previously soured after the rise of radical Sunni Islamist Taliban regime in Afghanistan, rebounded after the establishment of Hamid Karzai government. - 138 ] - - Iran has also actively participated in Afghan reconstruction efforts. - 139 ] - - Afghanistan also enjoys good relations with Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations, especially Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
India is often regarded as one of Afghanistan's most influential allies. - 140 ] - - India is the largest regional donor to Afghanistan and has extensively participated in several Afghan reconstruction efforts, including power, agricultural and educational projects. - 141 ] - - - 142 ] - - Since 2002, India has extended more than US$1.2 billion in aid to Afghanistan. - 143 ] - - Strong military ties also exist # Afghan security forces regularly get counter-insurgency training in India - 144 ] - - and India is also considering the deployment of troops in Afghanistan. - 145 ] - -
- Demographics
Demography of Afghanistan and Afghan refugees
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Boys and girls of Kabul dressed in local traditional clothes
- Population
A 2009 UN estimate shows that the Afghan population is 28,150,000, - 2 ] - - with about 2.7 million Afghan refugees currently staying in neighoboring Pakistan and Iran. - 146 ] - - A partial census conducted in 1979 showed around 13,051,358 people living in the country. By 2050, the population is estimated to increase to 82 million. - 147 ] - -
- Largest cities
List of cities in Afghanistan and Places in Afghanistan
The only city in Afghanistan with over one million residents is its capital, Kabul. The other major cities in the country are, in order of population size, Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif, Jalalabad, Ghazni and Kunduz. Urban areas are experiencing rapid population growth following the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 2002.
- Ethnic groups
The population of Afghanistan is divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the country in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are not available. - 148 ] - - The Encyclopedia Britannica states:

No national census has been conducted in Afghanistan since a partial count in 1979, and years of war and population dislocation have made an accurate ethnic count impossible. Current population estimates are therefore rough approximations, which show that Pashtuns comprise somewhat less than two-fifths of the population. The two largest Pashtun tribal groups are the Durrānī and Ghilzay. Tajiks are likely to account for some one-fourth of Afghans and Ḥazāra nearly one-fifth. Uzbeks and Chahar Aimaks each account for slightly more than 5 percent of the population and Turkmen an even smaller portion. - 149 ] - -

Therefore most figures are approximations only:

-
Ethnic groups of Afghanistan (largest ethnic group of each district) - 39.0% to 42.0% Pashtun - - 27.0.0% to 38.9% Tajik - - 8.0% to 10.0% Hazara - - 6.0% to 9.2% Uzbek - - 1.7 to 3% Turkmen - - 0.5% to 4% Baloch - - 0.1% to 4% Aimak - - 1.9% to 9.2% other (Pashai, Hindki, Nuristani, Brahui, Hindkowans, etc.

(1) Based on official census numbers from the 1960s to the 1980s, as well as information found in mainly scholarly sources, the Encyclopedia Iranica - 150 ] - - gives the following list:

40.0% Pashtun
38.1% Tajik, Farsiwan, and Qezelbash
8.0% Hazara
5.0% Uzbek
1.1% Aimak
3.3% Turkmen
1.6% Baloch
1.9% other

(2) An approximate distribution of ethnic groups based on the CIA World Factbook - 1 ] - - is as following:

42% Pashtun
27% Tajik
9% Hazara
9% Uzbek
4% Aimak
3% Turkmen
2% Baloch
4% Other

(3) According to a representative survey, named "A survey of the Afghan people # Afghanistan in 2006" , a combined project of The Asia Foundation , the Indian Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and the Afghan Center for Socio-economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR), the distribution of the ethnic groups is: - 151 ] - -

40.9% Pashtun
37.1% Tajik
9.2% Hazara
9.2% Uzbek
1.7% Turkmen
0.5% Baloch
0.1% Aimak
1.3% other

(4) According to another representative survey, named "Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" , a combined effort by the American broadcasting channel ABC News, the British BBC, and the German ARD (from the years 2004 to 2009), and released on February 9, 2009, the ethnic composition of the country is (average numbers): - 152 ] - -

40% Pashtun
38% Tajik
9% Hazara
5% Uzbek
2% Turkmen
1% Nuristani
1% Baloch
1% other
- Languages
Languages of Afghanistan, Persian language, and Pashto language
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Languages of Afghanistan (percentages are from CIA World Factbook) - 153 ] - - - 50% Dari (Eastern Persian) - - 35% Pashto - - 8% Uzbek - - 3% Turkmen - - 4% Balochi - - 2% other (Nuristani, Pashai, Brahui, etc.
The most common languages spoken in Afghanistan are Dari (also known as Eastern Persian; roughly 30%) and Pashto (roughly 50%). Both are Indo-European languages from the Iranian languages sub-family, and the official languages of the country. An approximate distribution of first languages based on the CIA World Factbook is as following: - 1 ] - -
Persian (officially designated as Dari): 50%
Pashto: 35%
Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen): 11%
30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashayi): 4%
much bilingualism
Other minor languages include Nuristani (Ashkunu, Kamkata-viri, Vasi-vari, Tregami and Kalasha-ala), Pamiri (Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi and Wakhi), Brahui, Hindko, Kyrgyz, etc.
According to older numbers in the Encyclopedia Iranica, - 154 ] - - the Persian language is the most widely used language of the country, spoken by most of the population (although ca. 25% native), while Pashto is spoken and understood by around 60% of the population (50#55% native). According to "A survey of the Afghan people # Afghanistan in 2006" , - 151 ] - - Persian is the first language of 49% of the population, while additional 37% speak the language as a second language (combined 86%). Pashto is the first language of 40% of the population, while additional 27% know the language (combined 67%). Uzbek is spoken or understood by 6% of the population, Turkmen by 3%. In the survey "Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" (average numbers from 2005 to 2009), 69% of the interviewed people preferred Persian, while 31% preferred Pashto. Additionally, 45% of the polled people said that they can read Persian, while 36% said that they can read Pashto. - 152 ] - -
- Culture
Culture of Afghanistan
-
Girls in Kabul, wearing their traditional clothes, sing at a celebration of International Women's Day in 2002.
Afghans display pride in their religion, country, ancestry, and above all, their independence. Like other highlanders, Afghans are regarded with mingled apprehension and condescension, for their high regard for personal honor, for their clan loyalty and for their readiness to carry and use arms to settle disputes. - 155 ] - - As clan warfare and internecine feuding has been one of their chief occupations since time immemorial, this individualistic trait has made it difficult for foreign invaders to hold the region.
Afghanistan has a complex history that has survived either in its current cultures or in the form of various languages and monuments. However, many of the country's historic monuments have been damaged in recent wars. - 156 ] - - The two famous statues of Buddha in Bamyan Province were destroyed by the Taliban, who regarded them as idolatrous. Other famous sites include the cities of Kandahar, Herat, Ghazni and Balkh. The Minaret of Jam, in the Hari River valley, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A cloak reputedly worn by Muhammad is stored inside the famous Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed in Kandahar City.
Buzkashi is a national sport in Afghanistan. It is similar to polo and played by horsemen in two teams, each trying to grab and hold a goat carcass. Afghan hounds (a type of running dog) also originated in Afghanistan.
Although literacy levels are very low, classic Persian poetry plays a very important role in the Afghan culture. Poetry has always been one of the major educational pillars in Iran and Afghanistan, to the level that it has integrated itself into culture. Persian culture has, and continues to, exert a great influence over Afghan culture. Private poetry competition events known as "musha’era" are quite common even among ordinary people. Almost every homeowner owns one or more poetry collections of some sort, even if they are not read often.
The eastern dialects of the Persian language are popularly known as "Dari". The name itself derives from "Pārsī-e Darbārī", meaning Persian of the royal courts . The ancient term Darī # one of the original names of the Persian language # was revived in the Afghan constitution of 1964, and was intended "to signify that Afghans consider their country the cradle of the language. Hence, the name Fārsī , the language of Fārs, is strictly avoided." - 157 ] - -

Avicenna, a famous physician and philosopher whose writings had huge impact over the entire then-known world.
Many of the famous Persian poets of the tenth to fifteenth centuries stem from what is now known as Afghanistan (then known as Khorasan), such as Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi (also known as Rumi or Mawlānā ), Rābi'a Balkhi (the first poetess in the history of Persian literature), Khwaja Abdullah Ansari (from Herat), Nasir Khusraw (born near Balkh, died in Badakhshan), Jāmī of Herāt, Alī Sher Navā'ī (the famous vizier of the Timurids), Sanā'ī Ghaznawi, Daqiqi Balkhi, Farrukhi Sistani, Unsuri Balkhi, Anvari, and many others. Moreover, some of the contemporary Persian language poets and writers, who are relatively well-known in Persian-speaking world, include Khalilullah Khalili, - 158 ] - - Sufi Ashqari, - 159 ] - - Sarwar Joya, Qahar Asey, Parwin Pazwak and others.
In addition to poets and authors, numerous Persian scientists and philosophers were born or worked in the region of present-day Afghanistan. Most notable was Avicenna (Abu Alī Hussein ibn Sīnā) whose paternal family hailed from Balkh. Ibn Sīnā, who travelled to Isfahan later in life to establish a medical school there, is known by some scholars as "the father of modern medicine". George Sarton called ibn Sīnā "the most famous scientist of Islam and one of the most famous of all races, places, and times." His most famous works are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine , also known as the Qanun. Ibn Sīnā's story even found way to the contemporary English literature through Noah Gordon's The Physician , now published in many languages.
Al-Farabi was another well-known philosopher and scientist of the 9th and 10th centuries, who, according to Ibn al-Nadim, was from the Faryab Province in Afghanistan. Other notable scientists and philosophers are Abu Rayhan Biruni (a notable astronomer, anthropologist, geographer, and mathematician of the Ghaznavid period who lived and died in Ghazni), Abu Zayd Balkhi (a polymath and a student of al-Kindi), Abu Ma'shar Balkhi (known as Albumasar or Albuxar in the west), and Abu Sa'id Sijzi (from Sistan).
Before the Taliban gained power, the city of Kabul was home to many musicians who were masters of both traditional and modern Afghan music, especially during the Nauroz -celebration. Kabul in the middle part of the twentieth century has been likened to Vienna during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
There are an estimated 60 major Pashtun tribes. - 160 ] - - The tribal system, which orders the life of most people outside metropolitan areas, is potent in political terms. Men feel a fierce loyalty to their own tribe, such that, if called upon, they would assemble in arms under the tribal chiefs and local clan leaders. In theory, under Islamic law, every believer has an obligation to bear arms at the ruler's call.
Heathcote considers the tribal system to be the best way of organizing large groups of people in a country that is geographically difficult, and in a society that, from a materialistic point of view, has an uncomplicated lifestyle. - 155 ] - -
The population of nomads in Afghanistan is estimated at about 2-3 million. - 161 ] - - Nomads contribute importantly to the national economy in terms of meat, skins and wool.
- Religions
Religion in Afghanistan
Religiously, Afghans are over 99% Muslims : approximately 80% Sunni, 19% Shi'a, and 1% other. - 1 ] - - Until the 1890s, the region around Nuristan was known as Kafiristan (land of the kafirs) because of its inhabitants: the Nuristani, an ethnically distinctive people who practiced animism, polytheism and shamanism. - 162 ] - -
Up until the mid-1980s, there were possibly about 50,000 Hindus and Sikhs living in different cities, mostly in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, and Ghazni. - 163 ] - - - 164 ] - -
There was also a small Jewish community in Afghanistan who emigrated to Israel and the United States by the end of the last century, and only one individual, Zablon Simintov, remains today. - 165 ] - -
- Economy
Economy of Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It is an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed. In 2010, 40% of Afghans live below the poverty ine. - 166 ] - - Two-thirds of the population lives on fewer than 2 US dollars a day. Its economy has suffered greatly from the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent conflicts, while severe drought added to the nation's difficulties in 1998#2001. - 167 ] - - - 168 ] - - According to the World Bank, "economic growth has been strong and has generated better livelihoods" since 2001. - 169 ] - -
The economically active population in 2002 was about 11 million (out of a total of an estimated 29 million). As of 2005, the official unemployment rate is at 40%. - 170 ] - - The number of non-skilled young people is estimated at 3 million, which is likely to increase by some 300,000 per annum. - 171 ] - -
-
Pomegranates from Afghanistan
The nation's economy began to improve since 2002 due to the infusion of multi-billion US dollars in international assistance and investments, as well as remittances from expats. - 172 ] - - It is also due to dramatic improvements in agricultural production and the end of a four-year drought in most of the country.
The real value of non-drug GDP increased by 29% in 2002, 16% in 2003, 8% in 2004 and 14% in 2005. - 173 ] - - As much as one-third of Afghanistan's GDP comes from growing poppy and illicit drugs including opium and its two derivatives, morphine and heroin, as well as hashish production. - 1 ] - - Opium production in Afghanistan has soared to a new record in 2007, with an increase on last year of more than a third, the United Nations has said. - 174 ] - - Some 3.3 million Afghans are now involved in producing opium. - 175 ] - - In a recent article in the Washington Quarterly, Peter van Ham and Jorrit Kamminga argue that the international community should establish a pilot project and investigate a licensing scheme to start the production of medicines such as morphine and codeine from poppy crops to help it escape the economic dependence on opium. - 176 ] - -
According to a 2004 report by the Asian Development Bank, the present reconstruction effort is two-pronged: first it focuses on rebuilding critical physical infrastructure, and second, on building modern public sector institutions from the remnants of Soviet style planning to ones that promote market-led development. - 171 ] - - In 2006, two U.S. companies, Black & Veatch and the Louis Berger Group, have won a US 1.4 billion dollar contract to rebuild roads, power lines and water supply systems of Afghanistan. - 177 ] - -
-
Afghan rug weavers.
One of the main drivers for the current economic recovery is the return of over 5 million Afghan refugees from neighbouring countries, who brought with them fresh energy, entrepreneurship and wealth-creating skills as well as much needed funds to start up businesses. What is also helping is the estimated US 2#3 billion dollars in international assistance every year, the partial recovery of the agricultural sector, and the reestablishment of market institutions. Private developments are also beginning to get underway. In 2006, a Dubai-based Afghan family opened a $25 million Coca Cola bottling plant in Afghanistan. - 178 ] - -
While the country's current account deficit is largely financed with the donor money, only a small portion # about 15% # is provided directly to the government budget. The rest is provided to non-budgetary expenditure and donor-designated projects through the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations. The government had a central budget of only $350 million in 2003 and an estimated $550 million in 2004. The country's foreign exchange reserves totals about $500 million. Revenue is mostly generated through customs, as income and corporate tax bases are negligible.
Inflation had been a major problem until 2002. However, the depreciation of the Afghani in 2002 after the introduction of the new notes (which replaced 1,000 old Afghani by one new Afghani) coupled with the relative stability compared to previous periods has helped prices to stabilize and even decrease between December 2002 and February 2003, reflecting the turnaround appreciation of the new Afghani currency. Since then, the index has indicated stability, with a moderate increase toward late 2003. - 171 ] - -
The Afghan government and international donors seem to remain committed to improving access to basic necessities, infrastructure development, education, housing and economic reform. The central government is also focusing on improved revenue collection and public sector expenditure discipline. The rebuilding of the financial sector seems to have been so far successful. Money can now be transferred - out of the country via official banking channels. Since 2003, over sixteen new banks have opened in the country, including Afghanistan International Bank, Kabul Bank, Azizi Bank, Pashtany Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, First Micro Finance Bank, and others. A new law on private investment provides three to seven-year tax holidays to eligible companies and a four-year exemption from exports tariffs and duties.
Some private investment projects, backed with national support, are also beginning to pick up steam in Afghanistan. An initial concept design called the City of Light Development, envisioned by Dr. Hisham N. Ashkouri, Principal of ARCADD, Inc. for the development and the implementation of a privately based investment enterprise has been proposed for multi-function commercial, historic and cultural development within the limits of the Old City of Kabul along the Southern side of the Kabul River and along Jade Meywand Avenue, - 179 ] - - revitalizing some of the most commercial and historic districts in the City of Kabul, which contains numerous historic mosques and shrines as well as viable commercial activities among war damaged buildings. Also incorporated in the design is a new complex for the Afghan National Museum.
- Mineral deposits
According to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industry, Afghanistan may be possessing up to 36 trillion cubic feet (1,000 km) of natural gas, 3.6 billion barrels (570,000,000 m) of petroleum and up to 1,325 million barrels (2.107E+8 m) of natural gas liquids. This could mark the turning point in Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts. Energy exports could generate the revenue that Afghan officials need to modernize the country's infrastructure and expand economic opportunities for the beleaguered and fractious population. - 180 ] - - Other recent reports show that the country has huge amounts of gold, copper, coal, iron ore and other minerals. - 34 ] - - - 181 ] - - - 182 ] - -
In 2010, U.S. Pentagon officials along with American geologists revealed the discovery of nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan. - 37 ] - - Afghan officials assert that "this will become the backbone of the Afghan economy" and a memo from the Pentagon stated that Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium". - 183 ] - - Some believe, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that the untapped minerals could be as high as $3 trillion. - 184 ] - - - 185 ] - - - 186 ] - - The government of Afghanistan is preparing deals to extract its copper and iron reserves, which will earn billions of dollars in royalties and taxes every year for the next 100 years. - 187 ] - - - 188 ] - -

Opium Production in Afghanistan

- Transport
Transport in Afghanistan
-
Ariana Afghan Airlines
Ariana Afghan Airlines is the national airlines carrier, with domestic flights between Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. International flights include to Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul and a number of other destinations. - 189 ] - - There are also limited domestic and international flight services available from Kam Air, Pamir Airways and Safi Airways.
The country has limited rail service with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the north. There are two other railway projects currently in progress with neighboring nations, one is between Herat and the Iranian city Mashad while another is between Kandahar and Quetta in Pakistan.
Most people who travel from one city to another use bus services. Newer automobiles have recently become more widely available after the rebuilding of roads and highways. Large number of vehicles are arriving from the UAE through Pakistan and Iran.
- Media and communications
The media was tightly controlled under the Taliban and other periods in its history, and was relatively free in others. Under the Taliban, television was shut down in 1996, and print media were forbidden to publish commentary, photos or readers letters. - 190 ] - - The only radio station broadcast religious programmes and propaganda, and aired no music. - 190 ] - -
After the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, press restrictions were gradually relaxed and private media diversified. Freedom of expression and the press is promoted in the 2004 constitution and censorship is banned, though defaming individuals or producing material contrary to the principles of Islam is prohibited. In 2008, Reporters Without Borders listed the media environment as 156 out of 173, with 1st being most free. - 191 ] - - 400 publications are now registered and 60 radio stations, a major source of information, currently exist. - 192 ] - - Foreign radio stations, such as the BBC World Service, also broadcast into the country.
- Television
Telecommunication services in the country are provided by Afghan Wireless, Etisalat, Roshan, Areeba and Afghan Telecom. In 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a US$64.5 million agreement with ZTE Corporation for the establishment of a countrywide fibre optic cable network. This will improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services throughout the country. - 193 ] - - Around 500,000 (1.5% of the population) had internet access by the end of 2008. - 194 ] - -
Television and radio broadcastings are available in most parts of the country, with local and international channels or stations.
The nation's post service is also operating. Package delivery services such as FedEx, DHL and others are also available.
- Education
Education in Afghanistan
-
Kabul Medical University
One of the oldest schools in the country is the Habibia High School in Kabul. It was established by King Habibullah Khan in 1903 and helped educate students from the nation's elite class. In the 1920s, the German-funded Amani High School opened in Kabul, and about a decade later two French lycées (secondary schools) began, the AEFE and the Lycée Esteqlal. During the same period the Kabul University opened its doors for classes. Education was improving in the country by the late 1950s, during the rule of King Zahir Shah. However, after the Saur Revolution in 1978 until recent years, the education system of Afghanistan fell apart due to the wars. It was revived in the early months of 2002 after the US removed the Taliban and the Karzai administration came to power.
As of 2009 more than five million male and female students were enrolled in schools throughout the country. However, there are still significant obstacles to education in Afghanistan, stemming from lack of funding, unsafe school buildings and cultural norms. Furthermore, there is a great lack of qualified teachers, especially in rural areas. A lack of women teachers is another issue that concerns some Afghan parents, especially in more conservative areas. Some parents will not allow their daughters to be taught by men. - 195 ] - -
UNICEF estimates that more than 80 percent of females and around 50 percent of males lack access to education centers. According to the United Nations, 700 schools have been closed in the country because of poor security. - 196 ] - - Literacy of the entire population is estimated at 34%. Female literacy is 10%. - 196 ] - - The Afghan ministry of education, assisted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is in the process of expanding education in the country by building more new schools and providing modern technologies.
Following the start of the U.S. mission in late 2001, Kabul University was reopened to both male and female students. In 2006, the American University of Afghanistan also opened its doors, with the aim of providing a world-class, English-language, co-educational learning environment in Afghanistan. The university accepts students from Afghanistan and the neighboring countries. Many other universities were inaugurated across the country in recent years, such as Kandahar University in the south, Herat University in the northwest, Balkh University in the north, Nangarhar University and Khost University in the eastern zones, and others. The National Military Academy of Afghanistan has been set up to tra - educate Afghan soldiers.
Some private NGOs are also supporting the education sector in Afghanistan, for example in the northern provinces of Faryab and Balkh a German NGO called Afghanistan-Schulen (=VUSAF) has built some 38 schools. - 197 ] - - The NGO is also running courses to prepare students for university and courses in private homes to enable older girls and women to attend school or gain education at least up to grade six.
- Health
Health in Afghanistan
According to the Human Development Index, Afghanistan is the second least developed country in the world. - 198 ] - - Every half hour, an average of one woman dies from pregnancy -related complications, another dies of tuberculosis and 14 children die, largely from preventable causes. Before the start of the wars in 1978, the nation had an improving health system and a semi-modernized health care system in cities like Kabul. Ibn Sina Hospital and Ali Abad Hospital in Kabul were two of the leading health care institutions in Central Asia at the time. - 199 ] - - Following the Soviet invasion and the civil war that followed, the health care system was limited only to urban areas and was eventually destroyed.
-
Mothers and infants receive health care in 2006.
The Taliban government made some improvements in the late 1990s, but health care was not available for women during their six year rule. - 199 ] - - After the removal of the Taliban in late 2001, the humanitarian and development needs in Afghanistan remain acute. - 200 ] - - After about 30 years of non-ending war, there are an estimated one million disabled or handicapped people in the country. - 201 ] - - An estimated 80,000 citizens of the country have lost limbs, mainly as a result of landmines. - 202 ] - - This is one of the highest percentages anywhere in the world. - 203 ] - -
The nation's health care system began to improve dramatically since 2002, which is due to international support on the vaccination of children, training of medical staff, and all institutions allowing women for the first time since 1996. Many new modern hospitals and clinics are being built across the country during the same time, which are equipped with latest medical equipments. Non-governmental charities such as Mahboba's promise assist orphans in association with governmental structures. - 204 ] - - According to Reuters, "Afghanistan's healthcare system is widely believed to be one of the country's success stories since reconstruction began." - 199 ] - - However, in November 2009, UNICEF reported that Afghanistan is the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be born. - 205 ] - - The nation has the highest infant mortality rate in the world # 257 deaths per 1,000 live births # and 70 percent of the population lacks access to clean water. - 206 ] - - - 207 ] - - The Afghan government has ambitious plans to cut the infant mortality rate to 400 from 1,600 for every 100,000 live births by 2020. - 199 ] - -
- Notes
a. - Other terms that can be used as demonyms are Afghani - 208 ] - - and Afghanistani . - 209 ] - -
- See also
SAARC.png - SAARC portal
Outline of Afghanistan
List of Afghanistan-related topics
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    Hotline: America's New War, Pakistan's Influence
    Resolving Pakistan-Afghanistan stalemate
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  • Iran Is Seeking More Influence in Afghanistan
    India: Afghanistan's influential ally
    Engaging regional players in Afghanistan
    We Need India's Help In Afghanistan
    India, a traditional partner of Afghanistan
    Afghanistan: Why India’s Cooperation is a Problem for Pakistan
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    Modern literature of Afghanistan by R. Farhādī, Encyclopaedia Iranica , xii, Online Edition.
    Afghanmagazine.com # Ustad Khalilullah Khalili # 1997.
    Afghanmagazine.com # Kharaabat # by Yousef Kohzad # 2000.
    "Pashtun (people)". Encyclopedia Britannica.
    "AFGHANISTAN: Kuchi nomads seek a better deal". IRIN Asia. February 18, 2008.
    Klimberg, Max (October 1, 2004). NURISTAN. Encyclopedia Iranica (Online Edition ed.). United States: Columbia University. http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/unicode/ot_grp6/ot_nuristan_20041001.html - . -
    Hinduism Today: Hindus Abandon Afghanistan.
    BBC South Asia: Sikhs struggle in Afghanistan.
    Washingtonpost.com # Afghan Jew Becomes Country's One and Only # N.C. Aizenman.
    A third of Afghans at risk of hunger shows need for urgent aid reforms - Oxfam International
    Morales, Victor (2005-03-28). Poor Afghanistan. Voice of America. http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-03/2005-03-28-voa53.cfm - .
    Poverty Reduction # Poverty in Afghanistan. Web.worldbank.org. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/EXTSAREGTOPPOVRED/0,,contentMDK:20574056~menuPK:493447~pagePK:34004173~piPK:34003707~theSitePK:493441,00.html - .
  • CIA # The World Factbook # Afghanistan.
  • b c Fujimura, Manabu (2004) "Afghan Economy After the Election", Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan receives $3.3b remittances from expats, 2007-10-19.
  • Macroeconomics & Economic Growth in South Asia , The World Bank.
    Afghan opium production at record high.
    UN horrified by surge in opium trade in Helmand.
    Poppies for Peace: Reforming Afghanistan’s Opium Industry.
    Midday Business Report: Black & Veatch unit gains piece of Afghan contract, The Kansas City Star .
    Coca-Cola opens plant in Afghanistan, Contra Costa Times .
    Kabul # City of Light Project.
  • Afghanistan’s Energy Future and its Potential Implications , Eurasianet.org.
  • Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan has huge mineral resources: survey, 2007-11-14.
    Mineral resources of Afghanistan
    Afghanistan: The Saudi Arabia of Lithium?
    Afghanistan is suddenly wealthy: US finds $1 trillion in mineral deposits
    Afghan mineral wealth raises host of questions
    Afghanistan's resources could make it the richest mining region on earth
    Tenders out for Hajigak iron ore mine, 2010-06-12.
    Pajhwok Afghan News, Chinese company wins bidding for Ainak copper extraction, 2007-11-20.
    Ariana. Flyariana.com. http://flyariana.com/schedules.php# - .
  • Press Freedom 2008 Index, Reporters Without Borders .
  • Afghanistan Press Report 2008, Freedom House .
  • Ministry signs contract with Chinese company , Pajhwok Afghan News.
    ITU statistics.
  • Mojumdar, Aunohita: "Afghan Schools' Money Problems", BBC News, 2007. News.BBC.co.uk
  • b ChicagoTirbune.com
  • 4
    UNDP.org
  • b c Tan Ee Lyn. Afghan medical college struggles to rise from the ashes. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSISL1059520080506 - .
  • http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/quick-impact-quick-collapse-jan-2010.pdf
    "Empowering Afghanistan’s Disabled Population". Usaid.gov.
    Afghanistan's refugee crisis 'ignored'. The Guardian. 2008-02-13.
    "Afghanistan: People living with disabilities call for integration". IRIN Asia.
    Virginia Haussegger Mahooba's Promise ABC TV 7.30 Report. 2009. ABC.net.au,
    UNICEF India - Media centre
    Afghanistan worldမs worst place to be born: UN
    Dictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Reference.com (accessed: 2007-11-13).
    Dictionary.com. WordNet 3.0. Princeton University. Reference.com (accessed: 2007-11-13).
    - Bibliography
    Caroe, Olaf. 1958. The Pathans (on the ethnic origin of Afghans).
    Dupree, Nancy Hatch (1977). An Historical Guide to Afghanistan . 2nd Edition. Revised and Enlarged. Afghan Tourist Organization.
    Fowler, Corinne. Chasing Tales: Travel writing, journalism and the history of British ideas about Afghanistan, 2007 (forthcoming), Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York.
    Ghobar, Mir Gholam Mohammad. Afghanistan in the Course of History, 1999, All Prints Inc.
    Griffiths, John C. 1981. Afghanistan: A History of Conflict . André Deutsch, London. Updated edition, 2001. Andre Deutsch Ltd, 2002, ISBN 0-233-05053-1.
    Hadden, Robert Lee. 2007. Adits, Caves, Karizi-Qanats, and Tunnels in Afghanistan: An Annotated Bibliography. Engineer Research and Development Laboratories, Topographic Engineering Center (now known as the Army Geospatial Center, US Army Corps of Engineers), in Alexandria, Virginia. Includes data and citations on the geology, mining and caves of Afghanistan.
    Hopkins, B. D. 2008. The Making of Modern Afghanistan . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke & New York, 2008. ISBN 9780230554214
    Levi, Peter. 1972. The Light Garden of the Angel King: Journeys in Afghanistan . Collins, 1972, ISBN 0-00-211042-3. Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1973, Indianapolis/New York, ISBN 0-672-51252-1.
    Moorcroft, William and Trebeck, George. 1841. Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and the Panjab; in Ladakh and Kashmir, in Peshawar, Kabul, Kunduz, and Bokhara. from 1819 to 1825 , Vol. II. Reprint: New Delhi, Sagar Publications, 1971. Oxford University Press, 1979, ISBN 0-19-577199-0.
    Rashid, Ahmed (2000) "Taliban # Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia", Yale University Press
    Shahrani, M. Nazif. (1979) The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War . University of Washington Press. 1st Paperback edition with new preface and epilogue (2002). ISBN 0295982624
    Toynbee, Arnold J. 1961. Between Oxus and Jumna . Oxford University Press, London. ISBN B0006DBR44.
    Wood, John. 1872. A Journey to the Source of the River Oxus . New Edition, edited by his son, with an essay on the "Geography of the Valley of the Oxus" by Henry Yule. John Murray, London. Gregg Division McGraw-Hill, 1971, ISBN 0-576-03322-7.
    Heathcote, T.A. The Afghan Wars 1839#1999, 1980,2003, Spellmount Staplehurst.
    Rall, Ted. 2002. "To Afghanistan and Back: A Graphic Travelogue" New York: NBM Publishing.
    Vogelsang, Willem. 2002. The Afghans . Blackwell Publishers. Oxford. ISBN 0631198415.
    -
    Find more about Afghanistan on Wikipedia's sister projects :
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    General information
    Afghanistan entry at The World Factbook
    Afghanistan from UCB Libraries GovPubs
    Afghanistan at the Open Directory Project
    Wikimedia Atlas of Afghanistan
    Afghanistan travel guide from Wikitravel
    Government
    Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Office of the President :
    Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS)
    Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA)
    Chief of State and Cabinet Members
    The Present Afghan Conflict
    London conference to agree to court Taliban, fight graft # Radio France Internationale
    Radio France Internationale # Afghan Elections Dossier, August 2009
    Struggle for Kabul: The Taliban Advance." Icos report, December 2008
    Breaking point: measuring progress in Afghanistan." Seema Patel and Steven Ross. Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), February, 2007.
    Ali, Tariq. "Afghanistan: Mirage of the good war" New Left Review (50), March#April 2008.
    Canadian Peace Alliance. Bring the troops home now: Why a military mission will not bring peace to Afghanistan . (February 2007)
    Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Afghanistan: Ending a Failed Military Strategy.
    Friedman, George. "Strategic Divergence: The War Against the Taliban and the War Against Al Qaeda." Stratfor Global Intelligence. January 2009.
    Transnational Institute TNI on drugs and conflict in Afghanistan
    Rory Stewart on Afghanistan, London Frontline Club, 11 March 2009
    Media
    Afghan Online Press
    Bakhtar News Agency
    KabulPress.org
    Afghanistan 24 Hours Music Station
    Huge Collection of Afghan Music
    Huge Collection of Afghan Videos
    Afghan Photo Gallery
    Afghanistan Free Shorten URL Service
    Afghanistan Free Email Service
    Other
    Afghanistan Digital Library
    Afghanistan's Paper Money
    World Intellectual Property Handbook: Afghanistan
    A Look at the Languages Spoken in Afghanistan
    Old photos of Afghanistan
    Photographs from November 2009 of Northern Afghanistan
    Over 125 recent travel photos from Afghanistan
    Afghan vs Afghani Not every Afghan is Pashtun, Afghan refers to inhabitants of Afghanistan
    UNODC # United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime # Afghan Opium Survey 2009
    Humanitarian information coverage on ReliefWeb
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Afghanistan - Afghanistan topics -
    History - Timeline of the history of Afghanistan
    Pre-Islamic period
    Greater Khorasan
    Islamic conquest
    History of Arabs in Afghanistan
    Mongol invasion
    Hotaki dynasty
    Durrani Empire
    Third Battle of Panipat
    Battle of Jamrud
    First Anglo-Afghan War
    Second Anglo-Afghan War
    Third Anglo-Afghan War
    European influence
    Reforms of Amanullah Khan and civil war
    Reigns of Nadir Shah and Zahir Shah
    Daoud's Republic
    Democratic Republic
    Soviet war
    since 1992
    2001 invasion
    Politics
    Government
    Administrative divisions
    Constitution of Afghanistan
    Loya jirga
    President of Afghanistan
    Hamid Karzai
    Vice President of Afghanistan
    Ahmad Zia Massoud
    Karim Khalili
    Afghan Cabinet of Ministers
    National Assembly of Afghanistan
    House of Elders
    House of the People (Afghanistan)
    Elections in Afghanistan (List of political parties in Afghanistan
    List of Afghanistan Governors
    Afghan Supreme Court
    Chief Justice of Afghanistan
    Human rights in Afghanistan
    LGBT rights
    Foreign relations of Afghanistan
    Demography - Religion
    Pashtun people
    Tajiks
    Farsiwan
    Qizilbash
    Hazara people
    Uzbek people
    Turkmen people
    Baloch people
    Nuristani people
    Arabs
    Persian (Dari)
    Sunni Muslim
    Shi'a Muslim
    Languages of Afghanistan
    Culture of Afghanistan
    Geography
    Environmental issues - Administrative divisions  - Provinces
    Districts
    cities
    List of volcanoes in Afghanistan
    Economy - Afghan afghani
    Energy
    Mining
    Taxation
    Tourism
    Heroin
    International rankings
    Society
    Culture - Music of Afghanistan
    Poetry of Afghanistan
    Pashtunwali
    Cuisine of Afghanistan
    Education in Afghanistan
    War rugs
    Islamic Holiday
    Postage stamps and postal history of Afghanistan
    List of birds on stamps of Afghanistan
    List of fish on stamps of Afghanistan
    Flag
    Olympics
    Infrastructure - Transport in Afghanistan
    Kabul-Kandahar Highway
    Kandahar-Herat Highway
    Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline
    List of airports in Afghanistan
    Ariana Afghan Airlines
    Afghan railway history
    Communications in Afghanistan
    Portal
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Provinces of Afghanistan
    Badakhshan
    Badghis
    Baghlan
    Balkh
    Bamyan
    Daykundi
    Farah
    Faryab
    Ghazni
    Ghor
    Helmand
    Herat
    Jowzjan
    Kabul
    Kandahar
    Kapisa
    Khost
    Kunar
    Kunduz
    Laghman
    Logar
    Nangarhar
    Nimruz
    Nuristan
    Oruzgan
    Paktia
    Paktika
    Panjshir
    Parwan
    Samangan
    Sar-e Pol
    Takhar
    Wardak
    Zabul -
    Flag of Afghanistan
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Countries of Central Asia
    - - Afghanistan
    - - Kazakhstan
    - - Kyrgyzstan
    - - Mongolia
    - - Tajikistan
    - - Turkmenistan
    - - Uzbekistan
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Countries and Territories of South Asia
    Countries - Bangladesh
    Bhutan
    India
    Maldives
    Nepal
    Pakistan
    Sri Lanka
    South Asia (ed)update.PNG
    Sometimes included - Afghanistan
    Burma
    British Indian Ocean Territory
    Iran
    Tibet
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Middle East
    Countries and territories
    Middle East
    Bahrain
    Cyprus
    Egypt
    Gaza Strip
    Iraq
    Iran
    Israel
    Jordan
    Kuwait
    Lebanon
    Northern Cyprus
    Oman
    Qatar
    Saudi Arabia
    Syria
    Turkey
    United Arab Emirates
    West Bank
    Yemen
    Greater Middle East
    Afghanistan
    Algeria
    Armenia
    Azerbaijan
    Djibouti
    Eritrea
    Georgia
    Libya
    Morocco
    Pakistan
    Somalia
    Sudan
    Tunisia
    Western Sahara (SADR
    Other topics - History (timeline
    List of conflicts
    Etiquette
    Only recognized by Turkey; see Cyprus dispute.
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Countries of Asia
    Afghanistan
    Armenia
    Azerbaijan
    Bahrain
    Bangladesh
    Bhutan
    Brunei
    Burma
    Cambodia
    People's Republic of China
    Republic of China (Taiwan) 2
    Cyprus
    Egypt
    Georgia
    India
    Indonesia 4
    Iran
    Iraq
    Israel
    Japan
    Jordan
    Kazakhstan
    North Korea
    South Korea
    Kuwait
    Kyrgyzstan
    Laos
    Lebanon
    Malaysia
    Maldives
    Mongolia
    Nepal
    Oman
    Pakistan
    Philippines
    Qatar
    Russia
    Saudi Arabia
    Singapore
    Sri Lanka
    Syria
    Tajikistan
    Thailand
    East Timor (Timor-Leste) 4
    Turkey
    Turkmenistan
    United Arab Emirates
    Uzbekistan
    Vietnam
    Yemen -


    For dependent and other territories, see Dependent territory.


    Partly or significantly in Europe. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not officially recognized by the United Nations; see Political status of Taiwan.
    Partly or significantly in Africa. Partly or wholly reckoned in Oceania. -

    International membership -
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) -
    Members - Afghanistan
    Azerbaijan
    Iran
    Kazakhstan
    Kyrgyzstan
    Pakistan
    Tajikistan
    Turkey
    Turkmenistan
    Uzbekistan
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Islamic republics -

    - - Afghanistan

    - - Iran

    - - Mauritania

    - - Pakistan

    v - • - d - • - e -
    Persian literature
    Old -
    Behistun Inscription
    Old Persian inscriptions
    Middle -
    Ayadgar-i Zariran
    DÄ“nkard
    Book of Jamasp
    Book of Arda Viraf
    Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan
    Cube of Zoroaster
    Shapuregan of Mani
    Šahrestānīhā ī Ērānšahr
    Bundahishn
    Greater Bundahishn
    Menog-i Khrad
    Jamasp Namag
    Pazand
    Counsels of Adarbad Mahraspandan
    Dadestan-i Denig
    Zadspram
    Zand-i Vohuman Yasht
    Drakht-i Asurig
    Bahman Yasht
    Shikand-gumanic Vichar
    Classical -
    900s#1000s
    Rūdakī
    Daqīqī
    Ferdowsī (Šahnāma
    Abu Shakur Balkhi
    Bal'ami
    Rabia Balkhi
    Abusaeid Abolkheir (967#1049
    Avicenna (980#1037
    Unsuri
    Asjadi
    Kisai Marvazi
    Ayyuqi
    1000s#1100s
    Bābā Tāher
    Nasir Khusraw (1004#1088
    Al-Ghazali (1058#1111
    Khwaja Abdullah Ansari (1006#1088
    Asadi Tusi
    Qatran Tabrizi (1009#1072
    Nizam al-Mulk (1018#1092
    Masud Sa'd Salman (1046#1121
    Moezi Neyshapuri
    Omar Khayyām (1048#1131
    Fakhruddin As'ad Gurgani
    Ahmad Ghazali
    Hujwiri
    Manuchehri
    Ayn-al-Quzat Hamadani (1098#1131
    Uthman Mukhtari
    Abu-al-Faraj Runi
    Sanai
    Banu Goshasp
    Borzu-Nama
    Mu'izzi
    Mahsati Ganjavi
    1100s#1200s
    Hakim Iranshah
    Suzani Samarqandi
    Ashraf Ghaznavi
    Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (1155#1191
    Adib Sabir
    Am'aq
    Attār (1142#c.1220
    Khaghani (1120#1190
    Anvari (1126#1189
    Faramarz-e Khodadad
    Nizāmī Ganjavi (1141#1209
    Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149#1209
    Shams Tabrizi (d.1248
    1200s#1300s
    Abu Tahir Tarsusi
    Najm al-din Razi
    Awhadi Maraghai
    Shams al-Din Qays Razi
    Baha al-din Walad
    Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī
    Baba Afdal al-Din Kashani
    Fakhr al-din Araqi
    Mahmud Shabistari (1288#1320s
    Abu'l Majd Tabrizi
    Amīr Khosrow (1253#1325
    Sa'adī (Būstān / - Golestān
    Bahram-e-Pazhdo
    Zartosht Bahram e Pazhdo
    Rumi
    Homam Tabrizi (1238#1314
    Nozhat al-Majales
    Khwaju Kermani
    Sultan Walad
    1300s#1400s
    Ibn Yamin
    Shah Ni'matullah Wali
    Hāfez (Dīvān)
    Abu Ali Qalandar
    Fazlallah Astarabadi
    Nasimi
    Emad al-Din Faqih Kemani
    1400s#1500s
    Ubayd Zakani
    Salman Sawaji
    Jāmī
    Kamal Khujandi
    Ahli Shirzi (1454#1535
    Fuzûlî (1483#1556
    Baba Faghani Shirzani
    1500s#1600s
    Vahshi Bafqi (1523#1583
    Urfi Shirazi
    1600s#1700s
    Sa'eb Tabrizi (1607#1670
    Hazin Lāhiji (1692#1766
    Saba Kashani
    Bidel Dehlavi (1642#1720
    1700s#1800s
    Neshat Esfahani
    Forughi Bistami (1798#1857
    Mahmud Saba Kashani (1813#1893
    Contemporary -
    Ahmad Kasravi
    Mohammad#Taqī Bahār
    Sādeq Hedāyat
    Forough Farrokhzad
    Šāmlū
    Hushang Ebtehaj
    Khalilollāh Khalilī
    Wasef Bakhtari
    Raziq Faani
    Sohrāb Sepehri
    Shahriar
    Loiq Sherali
    Muhammad Iqbal
    Parvin E'tesami
    Mehdi Akhavan-Sales
    Emad Khorasani
    Aref Qazvini
    Ebrahim Poordavood
    Mirzadeh Eshghi
    Allameh Tabatabaei
    Adib Pishevari
    Ashraf Gilani
    Javad Nurbakhsh
    Golchin Gilani
    Gholām#Hossein Sā'edi
    Mohammad-Hossein Shahriar
    Contemporary Persian and Classical Persian are the same language, but writers since 1900 are classified as contemporary. At one time, Persian was a common cultural language of much of the non-Arabic Islamic world. Today it is the official language of Iran, Tajikistan and one of the two official languages of Afghanistan .
    v - • - d - • - e -
    South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
    Members - Afghanistan
    Bangladesh
    Bhutan
    India
    Maldives
    Nepal
    Pakistan
    Sri Lanka
    Observers - Australia
    China (PRC)
    European Union
    Iran
    Japan
    Mauritius
    Myanmar
    South Korea
    United States
    Guest - South Africa
    Languages -
    v - • - d - • - e -
    Iranian-speaking nations and autonomous entities
    - - Afghanistan • - - China (Tashkurgan) • - - Georgia (South Ossetia Flag South Ossetia) • - - Iran • - - Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan Flag Kurdistan) • - - Russia (Flag of North Ossetia.svg North Ossetia-Alania • Dagestan Flag Dagestan) •
    - -
    Pakistan (PK-NWFP.svg Khyber Pakhtunkhwa • Flag of Balochistan, PK.gif Balochistan) • - - Tajikistan • - - Uzbekistan

    (1) Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, officially recognised minority in the People's Republic of China.
    (2) South Ossetia is a self-proclaimed republic within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia. It is presently only recognized by 4 UN member states.

    v - • - d - • - e -
    Cold War
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    See also - Soviet and Russian espionage in U.S.
    Soviet Union # United States relations
    NATO#Russia relations
    Organizations - ASEAN
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    Timeline of events
    Portal
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    v - • - d - • - e -
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    Insurgency in the Maghreb
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    See also - Abu Ghraib prison
    Axis of evil
    Bush Doctrine
    CIA-run Black sites
    Combatant Status Review Tribunal
    Enhanced interrogation techniques
    Extrajudicial prisoners of the US
    Extraordinary rendition
    Guantanamo Bay detention camp
    Military Commissions Act
    NSA electronic surveillance program
    President's Surveillance Program
    Pakistani role
    Protect America Act of 2007
    Unitary executive theory
    Unlawful combatant
    USA PATRIOT Act
    The Clash of Civilizations
    Terrorism
    War
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  • References from: Afghanistan from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
  • Phones and Dial Codes
    Afghanistan 2018