Afghanistan is a landlocked country located between sub-continental and central Asia. The country shares its borders with six other nations – China to the east, Pakistan to the south, Iran to the west and the former Soviet states of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The terrain is arid to semi-arid comprising mostly rugged mountains with very cold winters and burning hot summers.
Afghanistan - Facts and Figures
- Officially called Islamic State of Afghanistan
- Split by the Hindu Kush Mountains that rise up to 24,000 feet.
- Harsh climate with cold winters and hot summers.
- Afghanistan has no coastline though it has 1,200 kilometers of waterways. It has ports and harbors at Kheyrabad and Shir Khan.
- Area: 647,500 sq km. Around the size of Texas.
- Afghanistan can trace its history to the times of Alexander the Great, who used the country as a gateway to India.
- Population is around 31 million (Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Aimaks 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, others 4%).
- Official languages are Dari Persian and Pashtu. Other languages include Turkic.
- Islam is the majority religion with Sunni’s comprising 80% and Shiites 19%.
- Capital city is Kabul. Other main cities are Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Charikar and Herat.
- Most of the country is taken up by high, snow-capped mountains.
- Afghanistan’s major exports include fruits and nuts, carpets, wool, cotton, skins, precious and semi-precious gems. It is also believed to be a major exporter of opium.
- The local currency is the Afghani.
- Agricultural products include opium, wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, mutton, sheepskins and lambskins. Among its natural resources are: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromites, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones.
- Major trading partners include Pakistan, India, United States, Germany, Turkmenistan, Kenya, South Korea and Russia.
- Afghanistan is governed by a multi-party government that replaced the Taliban, which was overthrown in 1992 by a United States-led coalition.