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  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

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Map of Afghanistan

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Afghanistan
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Afghanistan's recent history is a story of war and civil unrest. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, but was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahidin forces supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. The Communist regime in Kabul fought on until collapsing in 1992. Fighting subsequently erupted among the various mujahidin factions, giving rise to a state of warlordism that eventually spawned the Taliban. Backed by foreign sponsors, the Taliban developed as a political force and ultimately seized power in 1996. The Taliban were able to capture most of the country, outside of Northern Alliance strongholds primarily in the northeast. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban. In late 2001, major leaders from the Afghan opposition groups and diaspora met in Bonn, Germany, and agreed on a plan for the formulation of a new government structure that resulted in the inauguration of Hamid KARZAI as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) on 22 December 2001. The AIA held a nationwide Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in June 2002, and KARZAI was elected President by secret ballot of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA). In December 2002, the TISA marked the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Taliban. The Transitional Authority convened a Constitutional Loya Jirga from 14 December 2003 until 4 January 2004 and ended with the approval of a new constitution. The constitution was signed on 16 January 2004 and highlights a strong executive branch, a moderate role for Islam, and basic protections for human rights. TISA's next task is to hold nationwide elections by June 2004, according to the Bonn Agreement timeline, but these may be delayed due to election preparations. National elections would formally dissolve the Transitional Authority and establish the Government of Afghanistan under the new constitution. In addition to occasionally violent political jockeying and ongoing military action to root out remaining terrorists and Taliban elements, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a lack of skilled and educated workers, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread land mines.

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   Geography    Afghanistan
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
33 00 N, 65 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Asia
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 647,500 sq km
land: 647,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5,529 km
border countries: China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2,430 km, Tajikistan 1,206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Nowshak 7,485 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 12.13%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 87.65% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
23,860 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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)

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   People    Afghanistan
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28,513,677 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 44.7% (male 6,525,929; female 6,222,497)
15-64 years: 52.9% (male 7,733,707; female 7,346,226)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 334,427; female 350,891) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17.5 years
male: 17.5 years
female: 17.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.92%
note: this rate does not take into consideration the recent war and its continuing impact (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
47.27 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.12 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
23.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 165.96 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 170.85 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 160.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 42.46 years
male: 42.27 years
female: 42.66 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.78 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Pashtu (official) 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 36%
male: 51%
female: 21% (1999 est.)
People - note:
Definition Field Listing
of the estimated 4 million refugees in October 2001, 2.3 million have returned

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   Government    Afghanistan
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan
local short form: Afghanestan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
transitional
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Kabul
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
34 provinces (velayat, singular - velayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamian, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabol, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khowst, Konar, Kondoz, Laghman, Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Nurestan, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Panjshir, Parvan, Samangan, Sar-e Pol, Takhar, Vardak, and Zabol
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
new constitution drafted 14 December 2003 - 4 January 2004; signed 16 January 2004
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
according to the new constitution, no law is contrary to Islam; the state is obliged to create a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, protection of human dignity, protection of human rights, realization of democracy, and to ensure national unity and equality among all ethnic groups and tribes; the state shall abide by the UN charter, international treaties, international conventions that Afghanistan signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
note: on 10 June 2002, the structure of the second Transitional Authority (TA) was announced when an Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) convened establishing the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA); subsequently, a Constitutional Loya Jirga was held and adopted a new constitution; under the new constitution the president is both the chief of state and head of government; the president and two vice presidents are elected by direct vote for a five-year term; if no candidate receives 50% or more of the vote in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes will participate in a second round; a president can only be elected for two terms; former King ZAHIR Shah holds the honorific, "Father of the Country," and presides symbolically over certain occasions, but lacks any governing authority; the honorific is not hereditary
chief of state: President of the TISA, Hamid KARZAI (since 10 June 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the TISA, Hamid KARZAI (since 10 June 2002); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: the 30-member TISA; note - under the new constitution, ministers are appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
elections: nationwide elections are to be held by June 2004, according to the Bonn Agreement
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
nonfunctioning as of January 2004
note: under the new constitution, the bicameral National Assembly consists of the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (no more than 250 seats), directly elected for a five-year term, and the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (composed of one representative from each provincial council, one representative from each district council, and a number of presidential appointees; the presidential appointees will include two representatives of Kuchis and two representatives of the disabled; half of the presidential appointees will be women); the Bonn Agreement lays down a June 2004 deadline for elections for the first session of the National Assembly
note: on rare occasions the government may convene the Loya Jirga on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it is made up of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
the new constitution establishes a nine-member Stera Mahkama or Supreme Court (its nine justices are appointed for 10-year terms by the president with approval of the Wolesi Jirga) and subordinate High Courts and Appeals Courts; there is also a Minister of Justice; a separate Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission established by the Bonn Agreement is charged with investigating human rights abuses and war crimes
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA; note - political parties in Afghanistan are in flux and many prominent players have plans to create new parties; the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA) is headed by President Hamid KARZAI; the TISA is a coalition government formed of leaders from across the Afghan political spectrum; there are also several political factions not holding positions in the Transitional government that are forming new groups and parties in the hopes of participating in the 2004 elections
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Jamiat-e Islami (Society of Islam), [former President Burhanuddin RABBANIS]; Jombesh-e Milli (National Islamic Movement), [Abdul Rashjid DOSTUM]; Ittihad-e Islami (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan), [Abdul Rasul SAYYAF]; there are also small monarchist, communist, and democratic groups
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
AsDB, CP, ECO, FAO, G-77, GUUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Said Tayeb JAWAD
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: 202-483-6410
FAX: 202-483-6487
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Zalmay KHALILZAD; note - embassy in Kabul reopened 16 December 2001, following closure in January 1989
embassy: Great Masood Road, Kabul
mailing address: 6180 Kabul Place, Dulles, VA 20189-6180
telephone: [93] (2) 290002, 290005, 290154
FAX: 00932290153
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist), red, and green, with a gold emblem centered on the red band; the emblem features a temple-like structure encircled by a wreath on the left and right and by a bold Islamic inscription above

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   Economy    Afghanistan
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Afghanistan's economic outlook has improved significantly over the past two years because of the infusion of over $2 billion in international assistance, dramatic improvements in agricultural production, and the end of a four-year drought in most of the country. However, Afghanistan remains extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, farming, and trade with neighboring countries. It will probably take the remainder of the decade and continuing donor aid and attention to raise Afghanistan's living standards up from its current status among the lowest in the world. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs, but the Afghan government and international donors remain committed to improving access to these basic necessities by prioritizing infrastructure development, education, housing development, jobs programs, and economic reform over the next year. Growing political stability and continued international commitment to Afghan reconstruction create an optimistic outlook for maintaining improvements to the Afghan economy in 2004. The replacement of the opium trade - which may account for one-third of GDP - is one of several potential spoilers for the economy over the long term.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $20 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29% (2003 est.)
: note: this high growth rate reflects the extremely low levels of activity between 1999 and 2002, as well as the end of a four-year drought and the impact of donor assistance
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 60%
industry: 20%
services: 20% (1990 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
23% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.2% (2003)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.8 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 80%, industry 10%, services 10% (1990 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2003)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $200 million
expenditures: $550 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 plan)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
opium, wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
334.8 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
511.4 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
200 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
220 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
220 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
49.98 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$98 million (not including illicit exports) (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 26.1%, France 17%, Pakistan 17%, India 16.1% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.007 billion (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Pakistan 26.8%, South Korea 12.3%, Japan 8.2%, Germany 7.4%, Turkmenistan 5.8%, Kenya 4.9%, US 4.8% (2003 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8 billion in bilateral debt, mostly to Russia; Afghanistan has $500 million in debt to Multilateral Development Banks (2004)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
international pledges made by more than 60 countries and international financial institutions at the Tokyo Donors Conference for Afghan reconstruction in January 2002 reached $4.5 billion through 2006, with $1.8 billion allocated for 2002; another $1.7 billion was pledged for 2003.
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
afghani (AFA)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
AFA
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
afghanis per US dollar - 50 (2003), 50 (2002), 3,000 (2001), 3,000 (2000), 3,000 (1999)
: note: in 2002, the afghani was revalued and the currency stabilized at about 50 afghanis to the dollar; before 2002, the market rate varied widely from the official rate
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
21 March - 20 March

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   Communications    Afghanistan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33,100 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: very limited telephone and telegraph service
domestic: telephone service is improving with the establishment of two mobile phone operators by 2003; telephone main lines remain weak with only .1 line per 10 people
international: country code - 93; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) linked only to Iran and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); commercial satellite telephone center in Ghazni
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 7 (6 are inactive; the active station is in Kabul), FM 1, shortwave 1 (broadcasts in Pashtu, Afghan Persian (Dari), Urdu, and English) (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
at least 10 (one government-run central television station in Kabul and regional stations in nine of the 32 provinces; the regional stations operate on a reduced schedule; also, in 1997, there was a station in Mazar-e Sharif reaching four northern Afghanistan provinces) (1998)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.af
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,000 (2002)
Communications - note:
Definition Field Listing
in March 2003 'af' was established as Afghanistan's domain name; Internet access is growing through Internet cafes as well as public "telekiosks" in Kabul that are part of a nationwide network proposed by the Transitional Authority for Internet access (2002)

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   Transportation    Afghanistan
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 21,000 km
paved: 2,793 km
unpaved: 18,207 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
1,200 km
note: chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT (2004)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 651 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
47 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 10
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 37
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 11 (2003 est.)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
5 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Afghanistan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Afghan National Army, currently being trained by the US with the assistance of the international community, is 7,000 strong; note - the December 2001 Bonn Agreement called for all militia forces to come under the authority of the central government, but regional leaders have continued to retain their militias and the formation of a national army remains a gradual process; Afghanistan's militia forces continue to be factionalized, largely along ethnic lines
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
22 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 6,785,414 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 3,642,659 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 263,406 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$61 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Afghanistan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
despite largely successful UN efforts at voluntary repatriation, thousands of Afghan refugees continue to reside in Iran and Pakistan; Pakistan has sent troops into remote tribal areas to control the border and stem organized terrorist and other illegal cross-border activites; regular meetings between Pakistani and coalition allies aim to resolve periodic claims of boundary encroachments; occasional conflicts over water-sharing arrangements with Amu Darya and Helmand River states
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
world's largest producer of opium; cultivation of opium poppy - used to make heroin - expanded to 30,750 hectares in 2002, despite eradication; potential opium production of 1,278 metric tons; source of hashish; many narcotics-processing labs throughout the country; drug trade source of instability and some government groups profit from the trade; 80-90% of the heroin consumed in Europe comes from Afghan opium; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through informal financial networks

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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