Quick Facts on Afghanistan

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A landlocked country that is situated between countries like Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan has been a much troubled country having faced war, Taliban extremist regimes and many socio-political problems. The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul and the country is situated at across a mountainous terrain at a height of 5900 feet.

Some notable points about Afghanistan are:

Afghanistan is the 41st largest country in the world and 42nd most populated. Afghani is the official mode of Afghanistan’s currency.
Official languages of the country are Persian and Pashto. Other languages spoken by locals in different parts of the country include Turkmen, Balochi, Uzbek, Nuristani and Pashayi.

Being a Muslim state, predominating religion of the people is Islam comprising 99% of the population. The remaining 1% consistsof Jews, Hindus and Sikhs.

Afghanistan’s settlement history dates back to 50,000 years and historians associate early settlements to the Aryans who later settled in India. Afghanistan has had the Median empire (of the Iranian people), Hellenistic Empire (of Alexander the Great) etc. during which time Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians comprised the Afghan population.

Afghanistan was invaded by the Mongol warriors under Gengis Khan in 642 AD after which Islam was introduced and previous inhabitants were either driven out or converted. The descendants of the Mongol dynasty and the Durrani Dynasty created what is now known as modern Afghanistan.
The Buddhist civilisation flourished in Afghanistan from the 2nd century BC till the Islamic invasion.

Nawroz is celebrated in Afghanistan on 21st March as New Year’s Day which is also considered to be the first day of spring.

Afghan culture is popular for its rich Persian poetry. There is a tradition of gathering every Thursday, primarily women and children who exchange old verses or newly composed forms of poetry. This tradition is seen predominantly in the city of Herat.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people of Afghanistan. Opium, fruits, nuts, cotton and other textiles are commonly used in trade. Other industrial trade items include semi-precious stones, fertilizers, shoes, apparel, wool, soap, furniture and petroleum products like natural gas and coal. India, Russia, Pakistan, USA and Germany are its major trading partners.

Buzkashi is Afghanistan’s national game. In this game, 2 teams attempt at catching a dead goat skin while riding on horseback. In recent years, the sport has also received sponsors.

Afghanistan declared its full sovereignty and independence in the year 1919. Although it wasn’t completely a part of the British Colony, it went into war 3 times with Britain.

Afghanistan has a predominantly dry and seasonal climate. Temperatures vary according to the altitude of the place.

In 2001, the Talibans destroyed the world’s two largest standing Buddha statues known as the Bamiyan Buddha. It is in the caves of Bamiyan that the world’s first oil paintings were found contrary to the popular belief of Renaissance Europe being the places to the first have oil paintings.

The percentage of Afghans who have access to electricity in Afghanistan continues to be the lowest. Yet, Taliban rulers are found with access to modern day technology possessing smartphones, e-mail, Skype etc.

Being a war torn country with civil issues, Afghanistan is one of the backward countries of the world. It is yet to catch up with the progress that other Asian countries are experiencing.

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