General Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Geographical Low Point: Amu Darya 258 m
Geographical High Point: Nowshak 7,485 m
Climate: arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Major Cities: KABUL (capital) 3.573 million (2009), Kandahar, Heart, Mazar-i-Sharif
Major Landforms: Mount Noshaq, Hindu Kush Mountain Range, Pamir Mountains, Southwest Plateau, Northern Plains, Kyber Pass, Wakhan Corridor
Major Bodies of Water: Afghanistan is a landlocked and fairly dry country. Major rivers include Kabul River, Amu Darya, Harirud River, and the Helmand River. Lakes include Lake Zarkol, Kajaki Reservoir, the five lakes of Band-e Amir, and the Sardeh Dam.
Famous Places: Minaret of Jam, Gardens of Babur (Kabul), Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) of Herat, the five lakes of Band-e Amir, Kabul Museum, and the cave complex of Tora Bora.
Economy of Afghanistan
Major Industries: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Natural Resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones
Major Exports: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Major Imports: capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Currency: afghani (AFA)
National GDP: $29,740,000,000
Provinces of Afghanistan
(click picture for larger view)
Government of Afghanistan
Type of Government: Islamic republic
Independence: 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
Divisions: Afghanistan is divided into 34 different provinces. The two largest are Helmand and Kandahar. See the map to the right for all the provinces and their locations.
National Anthem or Song: Milli Surood (National Anthem)
Animal - Snow Leopard
Nation Emblem - This symbol incorporates many important elements of Islam including the Islamic creed (called the Shahadah), a prayer map, wheat, and a mosque.
Description of flag: Adopted on January 4, 2004. The flag consists of three vertical stripes of black, red, and green. The national emblem of the country is located at the center of the flag. The black stripe represents the past, the red represents the blood shed to gain independence, and the green represents the hope for the future and Islam. The year 1919 is shown on the flag to indicate the year of Afghan independence from Britain.
National Holiday: Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
Other Holidays: Mawlid, Liberation Day (February 15), New Year's Day (March 21), Mujahideen Victory Day (April 28), Independence Day (August 19), Eid ul-Fitr, Martyrs' Day, Day of Arafa, and Eid al-Adha.
The People of Afghanistan
Languages Spoken: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashtu (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%
Origin of the name Afghanistan: The name 'Afghanistan' means 'Land of the Afghans.' The largest ethnic group in the country, the Pashtun people, were also called Afghans giving the country its name.
Minaret of Jam
Qahar Asi - Poet
Sharbat Gula - Girl from the famous 'Afghan Girl' picture
Fahim Fazli - Actor from Iron Man and Argo
Khaled Hosseini - Author of The Kite Runner
Malalai Joya - Women's rights activist and politician
Hamid Karzai - President
Mohammed Daoud Khan - First president of Afghanistan