Dialing code +93
ISO 2 code AF
ISO 3 code AFG
Capital Kabul
Main Language Persian
Currency Afghani (AFN)
GDP $23.0 billion 111th
Population 29,121,286 41st


Continent Asia
Location Southern Asia north and west of Pakistan east of Iran
Land 647,500 km2 41st
Terrain Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Climate Arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Natural Hazards Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Note: Landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)

Neighbouring Countries

China Iran Pakistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan


Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City a US Allied and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution a presidential election in 2004 and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004 Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. Despite gains toward building a stable central government a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability - particularly in the south and the east - remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.
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Life Expectancy 44.64 years 196th
Median Age 17.6 years 188th
Birth Rate 45.46 births/1,000 population 4th
Death Rate 19.18 births/1,000 population 8th
Sex Ratio 0.93 male(s)/female 25th
Literacy 28.1% 204th

29.1 million


Roadways 42150 km 86th
Railways None km
Airports 50 91st
Waterways 1200 km 59th
Heliports 9 19th
Airports paved 1 150th


Currency Afghani (AFN)
GDP $23.0 billion 111th
GDP per capita (PPP) $800 194th