|Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
|Anthem: Afghan National Anthem
and largest city
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
|-||Chief Justice||Abdul Salam Azimi|
|-||Upper house||House of Elders|
|-||Lower house||House of the People|
|Independence from Persia|
|-||First Afghan state||April 1709|
|-||Afghan Empire||October 1747|
|-||Recognized||19 August 1919|
|-||Total||652,864 km2 (41st)
251,827 sq mi
|-||2013 estimate||31,108,077 (40)|
|-||1979 census||15.5 million|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
low · 172nd
|Time zone||D† (UTC+4:30)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||AF|
Afghanistan i// (Persian/Pashto: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia, South Asia, and is a part of the Greater Middle East. It has a population of around 30 million inhabiting an area of approximately 652,000 km2 (252,000 sq mi), making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.
Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as the Middle Paleolithic. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC. Sitting at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East culture with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the land has been home to various peoples through the ages and witnessed many military campaigns, notably by Alexander the Great, Arab Muslims, Genghis Khan, and in modern-era Western forces. The land also served as a source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Mughals, Durranis and others have risen to form major empires.
Most of Afghanistan's history prior to the modern state of Afghanistan took place within the context of the various Persian Empires. The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan begins in 1709 with the rise of the Pashtuns - historically known as "Afghans" - when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by the rise of the Durrani Empire in 1747. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire. Following the 1919 Anglo-Afghan War, King Amanullah began a European style modernization of the country but was stopped by ultra-conservatives. During the Cold War, after the withdrawal of the British from neighboring India in 1947, the United States and the Soviet Union began spreading influences in Afghanistan, which led in 1979 to a bloody war between the US-backed mujahideen forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government in which over a million Afghans lost their lives. This was followed by a 1990s civil war, the rise and fall of the extremist Taliban government, and the 2001–present war. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration.
Three decades of war made Afghanistan one of the world's most dangerous countries. While the international community is rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan, terrorist groups such as the Haqqani Network and Hezbi Islami are actively involved in a nationwide Taliban-led insurgency, which includes hundreds of assassinations and suicide attacks. According to the United Nations, the insurgents were responsible for 80% of civilian casualties in 2011 and 2012. It suffers from several challenges, including being world's most corrupt country and is the World's largest source of refugees.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Governance
- 5 Economy
- 6 Health
- 7 Education
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Culture
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
The name Afghānistān (Persian: افغانستان, [avɣɒnestɒn]) means "Land of the Afghans", which originates from the ethnonym "Afghan". Historically, the name "Afghan" mainly designated the Pashtun people, the largest ethnic group of Afghanistan. This name is mentioned in the form of Abgan in the third century CE by the Sassanians and as Avagana (Afghana) in the 6th century CE by Indian astronomer Varahamihira. A people called the Afghans are mentioned several times in a 10th-century geography book, Hudud al-'alam, particularly where a reference is made to a village: "Saul, a pleasant village on a mountain. In it live Afghans."
Al-Biruni referred to them in the 11th century as various tribes living on the western frontier mountains of the Indus River, which would be the Sulaiman Mountains. Ibn Battuta, a famous Moroccan scholar visiting the region in 1333, writes: "We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called Afghans. They hold mountains and defiles and possess considerable strength, and are mostly highwaymen. Their principle mountain is called Kuh Sulayman." One prominent 16th-century Persian scholar explains extensively about the Afghans. For example, he writes:
"The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns."—Firishta, 1560–1620 AD
It is widely acknowledged that the terms "Pashtun" and Afghan are synonyms, something that is even mentioned in the 17th-century poetry of Khushal Khan Khattak: For example, he states: "Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashtun and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans!"
The last part of the name, -stān is a Persian suffix for "place". The name "Afghanistan" is described by the 16th century Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs as well as by the later Persian scholar Firishta and Babur's descendants, referring to the traditional ethnic Pashtun territories between the Hindu Kush mountains and the Indus River. In the early 19th century, Afghan politicians decided to adopt the name Afghanistan for the entire Afghan Empire after its English translation had already appeared in various treaties with Qajarid Persia and British India. In 1857, in his review of J.W. Kaye's The Afghan War, Friedrich Engels describes "Afghanistan" as:
"an extensive country of Asia ... between Persia and the Indies, and in the other direction between the Hindu Kush and the Indian Ocean. It formerly included the Persian provinces of Khorassan and Kohistan, together with Herat, Beluchistan, Cashmere, and Sinde, and a considerable part of the Punjab ... Its principal cities are Kabul, the capital, Ghuznee, Peshawer, and Kandahar."
The Afghan kingdom was sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Kabul, as mentioned by the British statesman and historian Mountstuart Elphinstone. Afghanistan was officially recognized as a sovereign state by the international community after the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 was signed.
A landlocked mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest, Afghanistan is described as being located within Central Asia or South Asia. It is part of the Greater Middle East Muslim world, which lies between latitudes 29° N and 39° N, and longitudes 60° E and 75° E. The country's highest point is Noshaq, at 7,492 m (24,580 ft) above sea level. It has a continental climate with very harsh winters in the central highlands, the glaciated northeast (around Nuristan) and the Wakhan Corridor, where the average temperature in January is below −15 °C (5 °F), and hot summers in the low-lying areas of the Sistan Basin of the southwest, the Jalalabad basin in the east, and the Turkestan plains along the Amu River in the north, where temperatures average over 35 °C (95 °F) in July.
Despite having numerous rivers and reservoirs, large parts of the country are dry. The endorheic Sistan Basin is one of the driest regions in the world. Aside from the usual rain falls, Afghanistan receives snow during winter in the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains, and the melting snow in the spring season enters the rivers, lakes, and streams. However, two-thirds of the country's water flows into neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan. The state needs more than US$2 billion to rehabilitate its irrigation systems so that the water is properly managed.
The northeastern Hindu Kush mountain range, in and around the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan, is in a geologically active area where earthquakes may occur almost every year. They can be deadly and destructive sometimes, causing landslides in some parts or avalanche during winter. The last strong earthquakes were in 1998, which killed about 6,000 people in Badakhshan near Tajikistan. This was followed by the 2002 Hindu Kush earthquakes in which over 150 people of various regional countries were killed and over 1,000 injured. The 2010 earthquake left 11 Afghans dead, over 70 injured and more than 2,000 houses destroyed.
The country's natural resources include: coal, copper, iron ore, lithium, uranium, rare earth elements, chromite, gold, zinc, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, marble, precious and semi-precious stones, natural gas, and petroleum among other things. In 2010, US and Afghan government officials estimated that untapped mineral deposits located in 2007 by the US Geological Survey are worth between $900 bn and $3 trillion.
At 652,230 km2 (251,830 sq mi), Afghanistan is the world's 41st largest country, slightly bigger than France and smaller than Burma, about the size of Texas in the United States. It borders Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far east.
|History of Afghanistan|
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites.
The country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and often fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire and the Sassanid Empire.
Many kingdoms have also risen to power in what is now Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids, Mughals, and finally the Hotaki and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been closely connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east, west and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, and the early city of Mundigak (near Kandahar in the south of the country) may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization.
After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic people from Central Asia began moving south into Afghanistan, among them were many Indo-European-speaking Indo-Iranians. These tribes later migrated further south to India, west to what is now Iran, and towards Europe via the area north of the Caspian. The region as a whole was called Ariana.
The ancient religion of Zoroastrianism is believed by some to have originated in what is now Afghanistan between 1800 and 800 BCE, as its founder Zoroaster is thought to have lived and died in Balkh. Ancient Eastern Iranian languages may have been spoken in the region around the time of the rise of Zoroastrianism. By the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Achaemenid Persians overthrew the Medes and incorporated Afghanistan (Arachosia, Aria and Bactria) within its boundaries. An inscription on the tombstone of King Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries that he had conquered.
Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived to the area of Afghanistan in 330 BCE after defeating Darius III of Persia a year earlier in the Battle of Gaugamela. Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.
"Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants."—Strabo, 64 BCE – 24 CE
The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush until about 185 BCE when they were overthrown. Their decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, leading to the Hellenistic reconquest of the region by the Greco-Bactrians. Much of it soon broke away from the Greco-Bactrians and became part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks were defeated and expelled by the Indo-Scythians in the late 2nd century BCE.
During the first century BCE, the Parthian Empire subjugated the region, but lost it to their Indo-Parthian vassals. In the mid-to-late first century CE the vast Kushan Empire, centered in modern Afghanistan, became great patrons of Buddhist culture. The Kushans were defeated by the Sassanids in the 3rd century CE. Although various rulers calling themselves Kushanshas (generally known as the Indo-Sassanids) continued to rule at least parts of the region, they were probably more or less subject to the Sassanids.
The late Kushans were followed by the Kidarite Huns who, in turn, were replaced by the short-lived but powerful Hephthalites, as rulers. The Hephthalites were defeated by Khosrau I in 557 CE, who re-established Sassanid power in Persia. However, in the 6th century CE, the successors to the Kushans and Hepthalites established a small dynasty in Kabulistan called Kabul Shahi.
Islamization and Mongol invasion
Between the 4th and 19th centuries the northwestern area of modern Afghanistan was referred to by the regional name as Khorasan. Two of the four capitals of Khorasan (Herat and Balkh) are now located in Afghanistan, while the regions of Kandahar, Zabulistan, Ghazni, Kabulistan and Afghanistan formed the frontier between Khorasan and Hindustan.
Arab Muslims brought the message of Islam to Herat and Zaranj in 642 AD and began spreading eastward, some of the native inhabitants they encountered accepted it while others revolted. The people of Afghanistan was multi-religious, which included Zoroastrians, Buddhists, worshippers of the sun, Hindus, Christians, Jews, and others. The Zunbil and Kabul Shahi were defeated in 870 AD by the Saffarid Muslims of Zaranj. Later, the Samanids extended their Islamic influence into south of the Hindu Kush. It is reported that Muslims and non-Muslims still lived side by side in Kabul before the Ghaznavids rose to power.
—Istahkrí, 921 AD
Afghanistan became one of the main centers in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. By the 11th century Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni had finally Islamized all of the remaining non-Muslim areas, with the exception of the Kafiristan region. The Ghaznavids were replaced by the Ghurids who expanded and advanced the already powerful empire. In 1219 AD, Genghis Khan and his Mongol army overran the region. His troops are said to have annihilated the Khorasanian cities of Herat and Balkh as well as Bamyan.
The destruction caused by the Mongols depopulated major cities and forced many of the locals to revert to an agrarian rural society. Mongol rule continued with the Ilkhanate in the northwest while the Khilji dynasty controlled the Afghan tribal areas south of the Hindu Kush, until the invasion of Timur who established the Timurid dynasty in 1370. During the Ghaznavid, Ghurid, and Timurid eras, Afghanistan produced many fine Islamic architectural monuments as well as numerous scientific and literary works.
Babur, a descendant of both Timur and Genghis Khan, arrived from Fergana and captured Kabul from the Arghun dynasty, and from there he began to seize control of the central and eastern territories of Afghanistan. He remained in Kabulistan until 1526 when he and his army invaded Delhi in India to replace the Afghan Lodi dynasty with the Mughal Empire. From the 16th century to the early 18th century, Afghanistan was part of three regional kingdoms: the Khanate of Bukhara in the north, the Shi'a Safavids in the west and the remaining larger area was ruled by the Mughal Empire.
Hotaki dynasty and Durrani Empire
Mir Wais Hotak, seen as Afghanistan's George Washington, successfully rebelled against the Persian Safavids in 1709. He overthrew and killed Gurgin Khan, and made the Afghan region independent from Persia. By 1713, Mir Wais had decisively defeated two larger Persian armies, one was led by Khusraw Khán (nephew of Gurgin) and the other by Rustam Khán. The armies were sent by Sultan Husayn, the Shah in Isfahan (now Iran), to re-take control of the Kandahar region. Mir Wais died of a natural cause in 1715 and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz, who became a suspect of treason and then killed by Mir Wais' son Mahmud. In 1722, Mahmud led his Afghan army to the Persian capital of Isfahan, sacked the city after the Battle of Gulnabad and proclaimed himself King of Persia. The Persians were disloyal to the Afghan rulers, and after the massacre of thousands of religious scholars, nobles, and members of the Safavid family, the Hotaki dynasty was ousted from Persia after the 1729 Battle of Damghan.
In 1738, Nader Shah and his Afsharid forces captured Kandahar from Shah Hussain Hotaki, at which point the incarcerated 16-year-old Ahmad Shah Durrani was freed and made the commander of Nader Shah's four thousand Abdali Afghans. From Kandahar they set out to conquer India, passing through Ghazni, Kabul, Peshawar, and Lahore, and ultimately plundering Delhi after the Battle of Karnal. Nader Shah and his army abandoned Delhi but took with them huge treasure, which included the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds. After the death of Nader Shah in 1747, the Afghans chose Ahmad Shah Durrani as their head of state. Regarded as the founder of modern Afghanistan, Durrani and his Afghan army conquered present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Khorasan and Kohistan provinces of Iran, along with Delhi in India. He defeated the Indian Maratha Empire, one of his biggest victories was the 1761 Battle of Panipat.
In October 1772, Ahmad Shah Durrani died of a natural cause and was buried at a site now adjacent to the Shrine of the Cloak in Kandahar. He was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah, who transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul in 1776. After Timur Shah's death in 1793, the Durrani throne passed down to his son Zaman Shah followed by Mahmud Shah, Shuja Shah and others.
The Afghan Empire was under threat in the early 19th century by the Persians in the west and the British-backed Sikhs in the east. The western provinces of Khorasan and Kohistan were taken by the Persians in 1800. Fateh Khan, leader of the Barakzai tribe, had installed 21 of his brothers in positions of power throughout the empire. After his death, they rebelled and divided up the provinces of the empire between themselves. During this turbulent period, Afghanistan had many temporary rulers until Dost Mohammad Khan declared himself emir in 1826. The Punjab region was lost to Ranjit Singh, who invaded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in 1834 captured the city of Peshawar. In 1837, during the Battle of Jamrud near the Khyber Pass, Akbar Khan and the Afghan army killed Sikh Commander Hari Singh Nalwa. By this time the British were advancing from the east and the first major conflict during the Great Game was initiated.
Following the 1842 defeat of the British-Indian forces and victory of the Afghans, the British established diplomatic relations with the Afghan government but withdrew all forces from the country. They returned during the Second Anglo-Afghan War in the late 1870s for about two-year military operations, which was to assist Abdur Rahman Khan defeat Ayub Khan. The United Kingdom began to exercise a great deal of influence after this and even controlled the state's foreign policy. In 1893, Mortimer Durand made Amir Abdur Rahman Khan sign a controversial agreement in which the ethnic Pashtun and Baloch territories were divided by the Durand Line. This was a standard divide and rule policy of the British and would lead to strained relations, especially with the later new state of Pakistan.
After the Third Anglo-Afghan War and the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, King Amanullah Khan declared Afghanistan a sovereign and fully independent state. He moved to end his country's traditional isolation by establishing diplomatic relations with the international community and, following a 1927–28 tour of Europe and Turkey, introduced several reforms intended to modernize his nation. A key force behind these reforms was Mahmud Tarzi, an ardent supporter of the education of women. He fought for Article 68 of Afghanistan's 1923 constitution, which made elementary education compulsory. The institution of slavery was abolished in 1923.
Some of the reforms that were actually put in place, such as the abolition of the traditional burqa for women and the opening of a number of co-educational schools, quickly alienated many tribal and religious leaders. Faced with overwhelming armed opposition, Amanullah Khan was forced to abdicate in January 1929 after Kabul fell to rebel forces led by Habibullah Kalakani. Prince Mohammed Nadir Shah, Amanullah's cousin, in turn defeated and killed Kalakani in November 1929, and was declared King Nadir Shah. He abandoned the reforms of Amanullah Khan in favor of a more gradual approach to modernisation but was assassinated in 1933 by Abdul Khaliq, a Hazara school student.
Mohammed Zahir Shah, Nadir Shah's 19-year-old son, succeeded to the throne and reigned from 1933 to 1973. Until 1946 Zahir Shah ruled with the assistance of his uncle, who held the post of Prime Minister and continued the policies of Nadir Shah. Another of Zahir Shah's uncles, Shah Mahmud Khan, became Prime Minister in 1946 and began an experiment allowing greater political freedom, but reversed the policy when it went further than he expected. He was replaced in 1953 by Mohammed Daoud Khan, the king's cousin and brother-in-law. Daoud Khan sought a closer relationship with the Soviet Union and a more distant one towards Pakistan. Afghanistan remained neutral and was neither a participant in World War II, nor aligned with either power bloc in the Cold War. However, it was a beneficiary of the latter rivalry as both the Soviet Union and the United States vied for influence by building Afghanistan's main highways, airports and other vital infrastructure. In 1973, while King Zahir Shah was on an official overseas visit, Daoud Khan launched a bloodless coup and became the first President of Afghanistan.
Marxist revolution and Soviet war
In April 1978, the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power in Afghanistan in the Saur Revolution. Within months, opponents of the communist government launched an uprising in eastern Afghanistan that quickly expanded into a civil war waged by guerrilla mujahideen against government forces countrywide. The Pakistani government provided these rebels with covert training centers, while the Soviet Union sent thousands of military advisers to support the PDPA government. Meanwhile, increasing friction between the competing factions of the PDPA — the dominant Khalq and the more moderate Parcham — resulted in the dismissal of Parchami cabinet members and the arrest of Parchami military officers under the pretext of a Parchami coup. By mid-1979, the United States had started a covert program to assist the mujahideen.
In September 1979, Khalqist President Nur Muhammad Taraki was assassinated in a coup within the PDPA orchestrated by fellow Khalq member Hafizullah Amin, who assumed the presidency. Distrusted by the Soviets, Amin was assassinated by Soviet special forces in December 1979. A Soviet-organized government, led by Parcham's Babrak Karmal but inclusive of both factions, filled the vacuum. Soviet troops were deployed to stabilize Afghanistan under Karmal in more substantial numbers, although the Soviet government did not expect to do most of the fighting in Afghanistan. As a result, however, the Soviets were now directly involved in what had been a domestic war in Afghanistan.
At the time some believed the Soviets were attempting to expand their borders southward in order to gain a foothold in the Middle East. The Soviet's movement south seemed to position them for further expansion toward Pakistan in the East, and Iran to the West. American politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, feared the Soviets were positioning themselves for a takeover of Middle Eastern oil. Others believed that the Soviet Union was afraid Iran's Islamic Revolution and Afghanistan's Islamization would spread to the millions of Muslims in the USSR. The PDPA prohibited usury, made statements on women's rights by declaring equality of the sexes and introducing women to political life.
After the invasion, President Jimmy Carter announced what became known as the Carter Doctrine: that the US would not allow any other outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf. He terminated the Soviet Wheat Deal in January 1980, which was intended to establish trade with USSR and lessen Cold War tensions. The grain exports had been beneficial to people employed in agriculture, and the Carter embargo marked the beginning of hardship for American farmers. That same year, Carter also made two of the most unpopular decisions of his entire Presidency: prohibiting American athletes from participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and reinstating registration for the draft for young males. Following the Soviet invasion, the United States supported diplomatic efforts to achieve a Soviet withdrawal. In addition, generous US contributions to the refugee program in Pakistan played a major part in efforts to assist Afghan refugees.
The Reagan administration increased arming and funding of the mujahideen as part of the Reagan Doctrine, thanks in large part to the efforts of Charlie Wilson and CIA officer Gust Avrakotos. Early reports estimated $6–20 billion but more recent reports suggest that up to $40 billion were provided by the United States and Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. This was in the forms of cash and weapons, which included over two thousand FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles.
The 10-year Soviet war resulted in the deaths of over 1 million Afghans, mostly civilians. About 6 million fled to Pakistan and Iran, and from there tens of thousands began emigrating to the European Union, United States, Australia and other parts of the world. Faced with mounting international pressure and great number of casualties, the Soviets withdrew in 1989 but continued to support Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah until 1992.
Foreign interference and war
After the fall of Najibullah's government in 1992, the Afghan political parties agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement (the Peshawar Accords). The accords created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period to be followed by general elections. According to Human Rights Watch:
The sovereignty of Afghanistan was vested formally in the Islamic State of Afghanistan, an entity created in April 1992, after the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah government ... With the exception of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, all of the parties ... were ostensibly unified under this government in April 1992 ... Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, for its part, refused to recognize the government for most of the period discussed in this report and launched attacks against government forces and Kabul generally ... Shells and rockets fell everywhere.
Pakistan was keen to gear up for a breakthrough in Central Asia ... Islamabad could not possibly expect the new Islamic government leaders ... to subordinate their own nationalist objectives in order to help Pakistan realize its regional ambitions ... Had it not been for the ISI's logistic support and supply of a large number of rockets, Hekmatyar's forces would not have been able to target and destroy half of Kabul.
In addition, Saudi Arabia and Iran – as competitors for regional hegemony – supported Afghan militias hostile towards each other. According to Human Rights Watch, Iran was backing the Shia Hazara Hezb-i Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari to "maximize Wahdat's military power and influence". Saudi Arabia supported the Wahhabite Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his Ittihad-i Islami faction. A publication by the George Washington University suggests "outside forces saw instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to press their own security and political agendas". Conflict between the two militias soon escalated into a full-scale war.
Due to the sudden initiation of the war, working government departments, police units or a system of justice and accountability for the newly created Islamic State of Afghanistan did not have time to form. Atrocities were committed by individuals of the different armed factions while Kabul descended into lawlessness and chaos as described in reports by Human Rights Watch and the Afghanistan Justice Project. Because of the chaos, some leaders increasingly had only nominal control over their (sub-)commanders. For civilians there was little security from murder, rape and extortion. An estimated 25,000 people died during the most intense period of bombardment by Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami and the Junbish-i Milli forces of Abdul Rashid Dostum, who had created an alliance with Hekmatyar in 1994. Half a million people fled Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch writes:
Rare ceasefires, usually negotiated by representatives of Ahmad Shah Massoud, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi or Burhanuddin Rabbani [the interim government], or officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), commonly collapsed within days.
Southern and eastern Afghanistan was under the control of local commanders such as Gul Agha Sherzai and others. In 1994, the Taliban (a movement originating from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-run religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan) also developed in Afghanistan as a political-religious force. When the Taliban took control of the city in 1994, they forced the surrender of dozens of local Pashtun leaders. In 1994, the Taliban took power in several provinces in southern and central Afghanistan.
In late 1994, most of the militia factions (Hezb-i Islami, Junbish-i Milli and Hezb-i Wahdat) which had been fighting in the battle for control of Kabul were defeated militarily by forces of the Islamic State's Minister of Defense Ahmad Shah Massoud. Bombardment of the capital came to a halt. The Islamic State government took steps to restore law and order. Courts started to work again. Massoud tried to initiate a nationwide political process with the goal of national consolidation and democratic elections, also inviting the Taliban to join the process but they refused as they did not believe in a democratic system.
Taliban Emirate and the United Front
The Taliban started shelling Kabul in early 1995 but were defeated by forces of the Islamic State government under Ahmad Shah Massoud. Amnesty International, referring to the Taliban offensive, wrote in a 1995 report: "This is the first time in several months that Kabul civilians have become the targets of rocket attacks and shelling aimed at residential areas in the city."
The Taliban's early victories in 1994 were followed by a series of defeats that resulted in heavy losses which led analysts to believe the Taliban movement had run its course. But Pakistan provided increased support to the Taliban. Many analysts like Amin Saikal describe the Taliban as developing into a proxy force for Pakistan's regional interests. On 26 September 1996, as the Taliban with military support by Pakistan and financial support by Saudi Arabia prepared for another major offensive, Massoud ordered a full retreat from Kabul. The Taliban seized Kabul on 27 September 1996, and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They imposed on the parts of Afghanistan under their control their political and judicial interpretation of Islam issuing edicts especially targeting women. According to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), "no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of physical punishment."
After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 27 September 1996, Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum, two former enemies, created the United Front (Northern Alliance) against the Taliban that were preparing offensives against the remaining areas under the control of Massoud and those under the control of Dostum. The United Front included beside the dominantly Tajik forces of Massoud and the Uzbek forces of Dostum, Hazara factions under the command of leaders such as Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and Pashtun forces under the leadership of commanders such as Abdul Haq or Haji Abdul Qadir. The Taliban defeated Dostum's Junbish forces militarily by seizing Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998. Dostum subsequently went into exile.
According to a 55-page report by the United Nations, the Taliban, while trying to consolidate control over northern and western Afghanistan, committed systematic massacres against civilians. UN officials stated that there had been "15 massacres" between 1996 and 2001 and that "[t]hese have been highly systematic and they all lead back to the [Taliban] Ministry of Defense or to Mullah Omar himself." The Taliban especially targeted people of Shia religious or Hazara ethnic background. Upon taking Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998, 4,000–6,000 civilians were killed by the Taliban and many more reported tortured. The documents also reveal the role of Arab and Pakistani support troops in these killings. Bin Laden's so-called 055 Brigade was responsible for mass-killings of Afghan civilians. The report by the UN quotes "eyewitnesses in many villages describing Arab fighters carrying long knives used for slitting throats and skinning people".
President Pervez Musharraf – then as Chief of Army Staff – was responsible for sending thousands of Pakistanis to fight alongside the Taliban and bin Laden against the forces of Massoud. According to Pakistani Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid, "between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in Afghanistan" on the side of the Taliban. In 2001 alone, there were believed to be 28,000 Pakistani nationals, many either from the Frontier Corps or army, fighting inside Afghanistan. An estimated 8,000 Pakistani militants were recruited in madrassas filling the ranks of the estimated 25,000 regular Taliban force. A 1998 document by the US State Department confirms that "20–40% of [regular] Taliban soldiers are Pakistani." The document further stated that the parents of those Pakistani nationals "know nothing regarding their child's military involvement with the Taliban until their bodies are brought back to Pakistan."
From 1996 to 2001 the al-Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri became a state within Afghanistan. Bin Laden sent Arab recruits to join the fight against the United Front. 3,000 fighters of the regular Taliban army were Arab and Central Asian militants. In total, of roughly 45,000 Pakistani, Taliban and al-Qaeda soldiers fighting against the forces of Massoud in mid-2001, only 14,000 were Afghans.
Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only leader of the United Front in Afghanistan. In the areas under his control Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women's Rights Declaration. Human Rights Watch cites no human rights crimes for the forces under direct control of Massoud for the period from October 1996 until the assassination of Massoud in September 2001. As a consequence many civilians fled to the area of Ahmad Shah Massoud. In total, estimates range up to one million people fleeing the Taliban. National Geographic concluded in its documentary "Inside the Taliban": "The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud."
In early 2001 Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels asking the international community to provide humanitarian help to the people of Afghanistan. He stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda had introduced "a very wrong perception of Islam" and that without the support of Pakistan and bin Laden the Taliban would not be able to sustain their military campaign for up to a year. On this visit to Europe he also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on US soil being imminent.
On 9 September 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated by two Arab suicide attackers inside Afghanistan and two days later about 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks in the United States. The US government identified Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the Al-Qaeda organization based in and allied to the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as the perpetrators of the attacks. From 1990 until this date over 400,000 Afghan civilians had already died in the wars in Afghanistan. The Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden to US authorities and to disband al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. Bin Laden later claimed sole responsibility for the September 11 attacks and specifically denied any prior knowledge of them by the Taliban or the Afghan people. In October 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched as a new phase of the war in Afghanistan in which teams of American and British special forces worked with ground forces of the United Front (Northern Alliance) to remove the Taliban from power and dispel Al-Qaeda. At the same time the US-led forces were bombing Taliban and al-Qaida targets everywhere inside Afghanistan with cruise missiles. These actions led to the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif in the north followed by all the other cities, as the Taliban and al-Qaida fled over the porous Durand Line border into Pakistan. In December 2001, after the Taliban government was toppled and the new Afghan government under Hamid Karzai was formed, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was established by the UN Security Council to help assist the Karzai administration and provide basic security to the Afghan people.
Recent history (2002–present)
While the Taliban began regrouping inside Pakistan, more coalition troops entered the escalating US-led war. Meanwhile, the rebuilding of war-torn Afghanistan kicked off in 2002. The Afghan nation was able to build democratic structures over the years, and some progress was made in key areas such as governance, economy, health, education, transport, and agriculture. NATO is training the Afghan armed forces as well its national police. ISAF and Afghan troops led many offensives against the Taliban but failed to fully defeat them. The country became the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on December 7, 2004. By 2009, a Taliban-led shadow government began to form in many parts of the country complete with their own version of mediation court. After US President Barack Obama announced the deployment of another 30,000 soldiers in 2010 for a period of two years, Der Spiegel published images of the US soldiers who killed unarmed Afghan civilians.
At the 2010 International Conference on Afghanistan in London, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he intends to reach out to the Taliban leadership (including Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar). Supported by NATO, Karzai called on the group's leadership to take part in a loya jirga meeting to initiate peace talks. These steps have resulted in an intensification of bombings, assassinations and ambushes. Some Afghan groups (including the former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh and opposition leader Dr. Abdullah Abdullah) believe that Karzai plans to appease the insurgents' senior leadership at the cost of the democratic constitution, the democratic process and progress in the field of human rights especially women's rights. Dr. Abdullah stated:
I should say that Taliban are not fighting to be accommodated. They are fighting to bring the state down. So it's a futile exercise, and it's just misleading. ... There are groups that will fight to the death. Whether we like to talk to them or we don't like to talk to them, they will continue to fight. So, for them, I don't think that we have a way forward with talks or negotiations or contacts or anything as such. Then we have to be prepared to tackle and deal with them militarily. In terms of the Taliban on the ground, there are lots of possibilities and opportunities that with the help of the people in different parts of the country, we can attract them to the peace process; provided, we create a favorable environment on this side of the line. At the moment, the people are leaving support for the government because of corruption. So that expectation is also not realistic at this stage.
Over five million Afghan refugees were repatriated in the last decade, including many who were forcefully deported from NATO countries. This large return of Afghans may have helped the nation's economy but the country still remains one of the poorest in the world due to the decades of war, lack of foreign investment, ongoing government corruption and the Taliban insurgency. According to a report by the United Nations, the Taliban and other militants were responsible for 76% of civilian casualties in 2009, 75% in 2010, 80% in 2011, 80% in 2012. In 2011, a record 3,021 civilians were killed in the ongoing insurgency, the fifth successive annual rise.
After the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, many prominent Afghan figures began being assassinated, including Mohammed Daud Daud, Ahmed Wali Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, Burhanuddin Rabbani and others. Also in the same year, the Afghanistan–Pakistan border skirmishes intensified and many large scale attacks by the Pakistani-based Haqqani Network took place across Afghanistan. This led to the United States warning Pakistan of a possible military action against the Haqqanis in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The United States blamed Pakistan's government, mainly Pakistan Army and its ISI spy network as the masterminds behind all of this.
In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence. They may believe that by using these proxies, they are hedging their bets or redressing what they feel is an imbalance in regional power. But in reality, they have already lost that bet.
US Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, told Radio Pakistan that "The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago, that was the work of the Haqqani Network. There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop." Other top US officials such as Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta made similar statements. On 16 October 2011, "Operation Knife Edge" was launched by NATO and Afghan forces against the Haqqani Network in south-eastern Afghanistan. Afghan Defense Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, explained that the operation will "help eliminate the insurgents before they struck in areas along the troubled frontier".
In anticipation of the 2014 NATO withdrawal and a subsequent expected push to regain power by the Taliban, the anti-Taliban United Front (Northern Alliance) groups have started to regroup under the umbrella of the National Coalition of Afghanistan (political arm) and the National Front of Afghanistan (military arm).
Afghanistan is an Islamic republic consisting of three branches, executive, legislative and judicial. The nation is currently led by Hamid Karzai as the President and leader since late 2001. The National Assembly is the legislature, a bicameral body having two chambers, the House of the People and the House of Elders.
The Supreme Court is led by Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi, a former university professor who had been a legal advisor to the president. The current court is seen as more moderate and led by more technocrats than the previous one, which was dominated by fundamentalist religious figures such as Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari who issued several controversial rulings, including seeking to place a limit on the rights of women.
According to Transparency International's corruption perceptions index 2010 results, Afghanistan was ranked as the third most-corrupt country in the world. A January 2010 report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that bribery consumes an amount equal to 23% of the GDP of the nation. A number of government ministries are believed to be rife with corruption, and while President Karzai vowed to tackle the problem in late 2009 by stating that "individuals who are involved in corruption will have no place in the government", top government officials were stealing and misusing hundreds of millions of dollars through the Kabul Bank. Although the nation's institutions are newly formed and steps have been taken to arrest some, the United States warned that aid to Afghanistan would be reduced to very little if the corruption is not stopped.
Elections and parties
The 2004 Afghan presidential election was relatively peaceful, in which Hamid Karzai won in the first round with 55.4% of the votes. However, the 2009 presidential election was characterized by lack of security, low voter turnout and widespread electoral fraud. The vote, along with elections for 420 provincial council seats, took place in August 2009, but remained unresolved during a lengthy period of vote counting and fraud investigation.
Two months later, under international pressure, a second round run-off vote between Karzai and remaining challenger Abdullah was announced, but a few days later Abdullah announced that he is not participating in the 7 November run-off because his demands for changes in the electoral commission had not been met. The next day, officials of the election commission cancelled the run-off and declared Hamid Karzai as President for another 5-year term.
In the 2005 parliamentary election, among the elected officials were former mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists, warlords, communists, reformists, and several Taliban associates. In the same period, Afghanistan reached to the 30th nation in terms of female representation in parliament. The last parliamentary election was held in September 2010, but due to disputes and investigation of fraud, the sworn in ceremony took place in late January 2011. After the issuance of computerized ID cards for the first time, which is a $101 million project that the Afghan government plans to start in 2012, it is expected to help prevent major fraud in future elections and improve the security situation.
Afghanistan is administratively divided into 34 provinces (wilayats), with each province having its own capital and a provincial administration. The provinces are further divided into about 398 smaller provincial districts, each of which normally covers a city or a number of villages. Each district is represented by a district governor.
The provincial governors are appointed by the President of Afghanistan and the district governors are selected by the provincial governors. The provincial governors are representatives of the central government in Kabul and are responsible for all administrative and formal issues within their provinces. There are also provincial councils which are elected through direct and general elections for a period of four years. The functions of provincial councils are to take part in provincial development planning and to participate in monitoring and appraisal of other provincial governance institutions.
According to article 140 of the constitution and the presidential decree on electoral law, mayors of cities should be elected through free and direct elections for a four-year term. However, due to huge election costs, mayoral and municipal elections have never been held. Instead, mayors have been appointed by the government. As for the capital city of Kabul, the mayor is appointed by the President of Afghanistan.
The following is a list of all the 34 provinces in alphabetical order:
Foreign relations and military
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for managing the foreign relations of Afghanistan. The nation has been a member of the UN since 1946, and has maintained good relations with the United States and other NATO member states since the signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty in 1919.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was established in 2002 under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401 to help the nation recover from decades of war and establish a normal functioning government. Today, more than 22 NATO nations deploy about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Apart from close military links, the country also enjoys strong economic relations with NATO members and their allies. It also has diplomatic relations with neighboring Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the People's Republic of China, including regional states such as India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Russia, United Arab Emirate, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, and others.
Afghanistan–Pakistan relations have been negatively affected by issues related to the Durand Line, the 1978–present war (i.e. Mujahideen, Afghan refugees, Taliban insurgency, and border skirmishes), including water and the growing influence of India in Afghanistan. Afghan officials often allege that Pakistani and Iranian intelligence agencies are involved in terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan, by training and guiding terrorists to carry out attacks. Afghanistan has always depended on Pakistani trade routes for import and export but this has changed in the last decade with the opening of Central Asian and Iranian routes. Conversely, Pakistan depends on Afghan water and considers Afghanistan as the only trade route to Central Asian resources.
India and Iran have actively participated in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, with India being the largest regional donor to the country. Since 2002, India has pledged up to $2 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan and has participated in multiple socio-economic reconstruction efforts, including power, roads, agricultural and educational projects. There are also military ties between Afghanistan and India, which is expected to increase after the October 2011 strategic pact that was signed by President Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Afghan Armed Forces are under the Ministry of Defense, which includes the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan Air Force (AAF). It currently has about 200,000 active soldiers and is expected to reach 260,000 in the coming years. They are trained and equipped by NATO countries, mainly by the United States Department of Defense. The ANA is divided into 7 major Corps, with the 201st Selab ("Flood") in Kabul followed by the 203rd in Gardez, 205th Atul ("Hero") in Kandahar, 207th in Herat, 209th in Mazar-i-Sharif and the 215th in Lashkar Gah. The ANA also has a commando brigade which was established in 2007. The National Military Academy of Afghanistan serves as the main educational institute for the militarymen of the country. A new $200 million Afghan Defense University (ADU) is under construction near the capital.
Crime and law enforcement
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) is the nation's domestic intelligence agency, which operates similar to that of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has between 15,000 to 30,000 employees. The nation also has about 126,000 national police officers, with plans to recruit more so that the total number can reach 160,000. The Afghan National Police (ANP) is under the Ministry of the Interior and serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan National Civil Order Police is the main branch of the ANP, which is divided into five Brigades and each one commanded by a Brigadier General. These brigades are stationed in Kabul, Gardez, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif. Every province has an appointed provincial Chief of Police who is responsible for law enforcement in all the districts within his province.
The police receive most training from Western forces under the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. According to a 2009 news report, a large proportion of police officers were illiterate and accused of demanding bribes. Jack Kem, deputy to the commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, stated that the literacy rate in the ANP will rise to over 50% by January 2012. What began as a voluntary literacy program became mandatory for basic police training in early 2011. Approximately 17% of them tested positive for illegal drug use. In 2009, President Karzai created two anti-corruption units within the Interior Ministry. Former Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said that security officials from the US (FBI), Britain (Scotland Yard) and the European Union will train prosecutors in the unit.
The south and eastern parts of Afghanistan are the most dangerous due to militant activities and the flourishing drug trade. These particular areas are sometimes patrolled by Taliban insurgents, who often plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on roads and carry out suicide bombings. Kidnapping and robberies are also reported. Every year many Afghan police officers are killed in the line of duty in these areas. The Afghan Border Police (ABP) are responsible for protecting the nation's airports and borders, especially the disputed Durand Line border which is often used by members of criminal organizations and terrorists for their illegal activities. A report in 2011 suggested that up to 3 million people were involved in the illegal drug business in Afghanistan. Many of the attacks on government employees may be ordered by powerful mafia groups. Drugs from Afghanistan make its way to neighboring and others countries. The Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics is tasked to deal with these issues by bringing to justice major drug traffickers.
Afghanistan is an impoverished and least developed country, one of the world's poorest because of decades of war and lack of foreign investment. As of 2012, the nation's GDP stands at about $34.29 billion with an exchange rate of $19.91 billion, and the GDP per capita is $1,100. The country's export was $2.6 billion in 2010. Its unemployment rate is about 35% and roughly the same percentage of its citizens live below the poverty line. About 42% of the population live on less than $1 a day, according to a 2009 report. The nation has less than $1.5 billion external debt and is recovering by the assistance of the world community.
The Afghan economy has been growing at about 10% per year in the last decade, which is due to the infusion of over $50 billion in international aid and remittances from Afghan expats. It is also due to improvements made to the transportation system and agricultural production, which is the backbone of the nation's economy. The country is known for producing some of the finest pomegranates, grapes, apricots, melons, and several other fresh and dry fruits, including nuts.
While the nations's current account deficit is largely financed with the donor money, only a small portion is provided directly to the government budget. The rest is provided to non-budgetary expenditure and donor-designated projects through the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations. The Afghan Ministry of Finance is focusing on improved revenue collection and public sector expenditure discipline. For example, government revenues increased 31% to $1.7 billion from March 2010 to March 2011.
Da Afghanistan Bank serves as the central bank of the nation and the "Afghani" (AFN) is the national currency, with an exchange rate of about 47 Afghanis to 1 US dollar. Since 2003, over 16 new banks have opened in the country, including Afghanistan International Bank, Kabul Bank, Azizi Bank, Pashtany Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, First Micro Finance Bank, and others.
One of the main drivers for the current economic recovery is the return of over 5 million expatriates, who brought with them fresh energy, entrepreneurship and wealth-creating skills as well as much needed funds to start up businesses. For the first time since the 1970s, Afghans have involved themselves in construction, one of the largest industries in the country. Some of the major national construction projects include the $35 bn New Kabul City next to the capital, the Ghazi Amanullah Khan City near Jalalabad, and the Aino Mena in Kandahar. Similar development projects have also begun in Herat in the west, Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and in other cities.
In addition, a number of companies and small factories began operating in different parts of the country, which not only provide revenues to the government but also create new jobs. Improvements to the business-enabling environment have resulted in more than $1.5 billion in telecom investment and created more than 100,000 jobs since 2003. The Afghan rugs are becoming popular again and this gives many carpet dealers around the country to expand their business by hiring more workers.
Afghanistan is a member of SAARC, ECO and OIC. It is hoping to join SCO soon to develop closer economic ties with neighboring and regional countries in the so-called New Silk Road trade project. Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told the media in 2011 that his nation's "goal is to achieve an Afghan economy whose growth is based on trade, private enterprise and investment". Experts believe that this will revolutionize the economy of the region. Opium production in Afghanistan soared to a record in 2007 with about 3 million people reported to be involved in the business but then declined significantly in the years following. The government started programs to help reduce cultivation of poppy, and by 2010 it was reported that 24 out of the 34 provinces were free from poppy grow.
In June 2012, India advocated for private investments in the resource rich country and creation of suitable environment therefor.
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution explains that if Afghanistan generates about $10 bn per year from its mineral deposits, its gross national product would double and provide long-term funding for Afghan security forces and other critical needs. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated in 2006 that northern Afghanistan has an average 2.9 billion (bn) barrels (bbl) of crude oil, 15.7 trillion cubic feet (440 bn m3) of natural gas, and 562 million bbl of natural gas liquids. In December 2011, Afghanistan signed an oil exploration contract with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for the development of three oil fields along the Amu Darya river in the north.
Other reports show that the country has huge amounts of lithium, copper, gold, coal, iron ore and other minerals. The Khanashin carbonatite in Helmand Province contains 1,000,000 metric tons (1,100,000 short tons) of rare earth elements. In 2007, a 30-year lease was granted for the Aynak copper mine to the China Metallurgical Group for $3 billion, making it the biggest foreign investment and private business venture in Afghanistan's history. The state-run Steel Authority of India won the mining rights to develop the huge Hajigak iron ore deposit in central Afghanistan. Government officials estimate that 30% of the country's untapped mineral deposits are worth between $900 bn and $3 trillion. One official asserted that "this will become the backbone of the Afghan economy" and a Pentagon memo stated that Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium". In a 2011 news story, the CSM reported, "The United States and other Western nations that have borne the brunt of the cost of the Afghan war have been conspicuously absent from the bidding process on Afghanistan's mineral deposits, leaving it mostly to regional powers."
Transport and communications
Afghanistan has about 53 airports, with the biggest ones being the Kabul International Airport, serving the capital and nearby regions followed Kandahar International Airport in the south, Herat International Airport in the west, and Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in the north. Ariana Afghan Airlines is the national carrier, with domestic flights between Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. International flights include to United Arab Emirate, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan and a number of other Asian destinations.
There are also domestic and international flight services available from the locally owned Kam Air, Pamir Airways and Safi Airways. Airlines from a number of regional nations such as Turkish Airlines, Gulf Air, Air Arabia, Air India, PIA and others also provide services to Afghanistan.
The country has limited rail service with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in the north. The government plans to extended the rail line to the capital and then to the eastern border town of Torkham by 2014, connecting with Pakistan Railways. Long distant road journeys are made by older model company-owned Mercedes-Benz coach buses or carpool and private cars. Newer automobiles have recently become more widely available after the rebuilding of roads and highways. They are imported from the United Arab Emirates through Pakistan and Iran. As of 2012, vehicles that are older than 10 years are banned from being imported into the country. The development of the nation's road network is a major boost for the economy due to trade with neighboring countries. Postal services in Afghanistan are provided by the publicly owned Afghan Post, along with private companies such as FedEx, DHL and others.
Telecommunication services in the country are provided by Afghan Wireless, Etisalat, Roshan, MTN Group and Afghan Telecom. In 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 million agreement with ZTE for the establishment of a countrywide optical fiber cable network. As of 2011, Afghanistan has around 17 million GSM phone subscribers and over 1 million internet users. It only has about 75,000 fixed telephone lines and little over 190,000 CDMA subscribers. 3G services are provided by Etisalat and MTN Group. The Afghan government announced that it will send expressions of interest to international companies to attract funding will launch its first space satellite by October 2012.[needs update]
According to the Human Development Index, Afghanistan is the 15th least developed country in the world. The average life expectancy is estimated to be around 60 years for both sexes. The country has the ninth highest total fertility rate in the world, at 5.64 children born/woman (according to 2012 estimates). It has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, estimated in 2010 at 460 deaths/100,000 live births, and the highest infant mortality rate in the world (deaths of babies under one year), estimated in 2012 to be 119.41 deaths/1,000 live births. Data from 2010 suggests that one in ten children dies before they are five years old. While these statistics are tragic, the Ministry of Public Health plans to further cut the infant mortality rate to 400 for every 100,000 live births before 2020. The country currently has more than 3,000 midwives with an additional 300 to 400 being trained each year.
A number of hospitals and clinics have been built over the last decade, with the most advanced treatments being available in Kabul. The French Medical Institute for Children and Indira Gandhi Childrens Hospital in Kabul are the leading children's hospitals in the country. Some of the other main hospitals in Kabul include the 350-bed Jamhuriat Hospital and the Jinnah Hospital, which is still under construction. There are also a number of well-equipped military-controlled hospitals in different regions of the country.
It was reported in 2006 that nearly 60% of the population lives within two hours by foot to the nearest health facility, up from 9% in 2002. Latest surveys show that 57% of Afghans say they have good or very good access to clinics or hospitals. The nation also has one of the highest incidences of people with disabilities, with an estimated one million handicapped people. About 80,000 citizens have lost limbs, mainly as a result of landmines. Non-governmental charities such as Save the Children and Mahboba's Promise assist orphans in association with governmental structures. Demographic and Health Surveys is working with the Indian Institute of Health Management Research and others to conduct a survey in Afghanistan focusing on Maternal death, among other things.
Education in the country includes K–12 and higher education, which is supervised by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education. The nation's education system was destroyed due to the decades of war, but it began reviving after the Karzai administration came to power in late 2001. More than 5,000 schools were built or renovated in the last decade, with more than 100,000 teachers being trained and recruited. More than seven million male and female students are enrolled in schools, with about 100,00 being enrolled in different universities around the country, at least 35% are female. As of 2013, there are 16,000 schools across Afghanistan. Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak stated that another 8,000 schools are required to be constructed for the remaining 3 million children who are deprived of education.
Kabul University reopened in 2002 to both male and female students. In 2006, the American University of Afghanistan was established in Kabul, with the aim of providing a world-class, English-language, co-educational learning environment in Afghanistan. The capital of Kabul serves as the learning center of Afghanistan, with many of the best educational institutions being based there. Major universities outside of Kabul include Kandahar University in the south, Herat University in the northwest, Balkh University in the north, Nangarhar University and Khost University in the eastern zones, as well as a number of others. The National Military Academy of Afghanistan, modeled after the United States Military Academy at West Point, is a four-year military development institution dedicated to graduating officers for the Afghan Armed Forces. The $200 million Afghan Defense University is under construction near Qargha in Kabul. The United States is building six faculties of education and five provincial teacher training colleges around the country, two large secondary schools in Kabul and one school in Jalalabad.
Literacy rate of the entire population has been very low but is now rising because more students go to schools. In 2010, the United States began establishing a number of Lincoln learning centers in Afghanistan. They are set up to serve as programming platforms offering English language classes, library facilities, programming venues, Internet connectivity, educational and other counseling services. A goal of the program is to reach at least 4,000 Afghan citizens per month per location. The military and national police are also provided with mandatory literacy courses. In addition to this, Baghch-e-Simsim (based on the American Sesame Street) was launched in late 2011 to help Afghan children learn from preschool and onward.
As of 2012, the population of Afghanistan is around 31,108,077, which includes the roughly 2.7 million Afghan refugees still living in Pakistan and Iran. In 1979, the population was reported to be about 15.5 million. The only city with over a million residents is its capital, Kabul. The other largest cities in the country are, in order of population size, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Lashkar Gah, Taloqan, Khost, Sheberghan, Ghazni, and so on. Urban areas are experiencing rapid population growth following the return of over 5 million expats. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the Afghan population is estimated to increase to 82 million by 2050.
Largest cities or towns of Afghanistan
|6||Lashkar Gar||Helmand Province||201,546|
Afghanistan is a multiethnic society, and its historical status as a crossroads has contributed significantly to its diverse ethnic makeup. The population of the country is divided into a wide variety of ethnolinguistic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the nation in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are unvailable. An approximate distribution of the ethnic groups is shown in the chart below:
|Ethnic group||Photo||World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies estimate (2004–present)||World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies estimate (pre-2004)|
|Tajik||27%||26% (of this 1% are Qizilbash)|
|Aimaq||4%||500,000 to 800,000|
|Others (Pashayi, Nuristani, Arab, Brahui, Pamiri, Gurjar, etc.)||4%||6.9%|
The 2004–present suggested estimations in the above chart are supported by recent national opinion polls, which were aimed at knowing how a group of about 804 to 7,760 local residents in Afghanistan felt about the current war, political situation, as well as the economic and social issues affecting their daily lives. Seven of the surveys were conducted between 2004 to 2012 by the Asia Foundation and one between 2004 to 2009 by a combined effort of the broadcasting companies NBC News, BBC, and ARD.
|Ethnic group||"Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" (2004–2009)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2006)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2007)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2008)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2009)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2010)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2011)||"A survey of the Afghan people" (2012)|
|Pashtun||38–46%||40.9%||40%||Not reported||Not reported||42%||41%||40%|
|Others (Pashayi, Nuristani, Arab, etc.)||0–4%||1.4%||2%||"||"||3%||3%||5%|
Pashto and Dari (Persian) are the official languages of Afghanistan; bilingualism is very common. Both are Indo-European languages from the Iranian languages sub-family. Persian has always been the prestige language and a lingua franca for inter-ethnic communication. It is the native tongue of the Tajiks, Hazaras, Aimaks and Kizilbash. Pashto is the native tongue of the Pashtuns, although many Pashtuns often use Persian and some non-Pashtuns are fluent in Pashto.
Other languages, including Uzbek, Arabic, Turkmen, Balochi, Pashayi and Nuristani languages (Ashkunu, Kamkata-viri, Vasi-vari, Tregami and Kalasha-ala), are the native tongues of minority groups across the country and have official status in the regions where they are widely spoken. Minor languages also include Pamiri (Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi and Wakhi), Brahui, Hindko, and Kyrgyz. A small percentage of Afghans are also fluent in Urdu, English, and other languages.
|Language||World Factbook / Library of Congress Country Studies estimate|
|Uzbek and Turkmen||11%|
|30 minor languages||4%|
Over 99% of the Afghan population is Muslim: approximately 80–85% are from the Sunni branch, 15–19% are Shi'a, and roughly 3% are non-denominational Muslims. Until the 1890s, the region around Nuristan was known as Kafiristan (land of the kafirs (unbelievers)) because of its non-Muslim inhabitants, the Nuristanis, an ethnically distinct people whose religious practices included animism, polytheism and shamanism. There are small minorities of Christians, Buddhist, Parsi, Sikhs and Hindus. There was a small Jewish community in Afghanistan who had emigrated to Israel and the United States by the end of the twentieth century; only one Jew, Zablon Simintov, remained by 2005.
|Part of a series on the|
The Afghan culture has been around for over two millennia, tracing record to at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire in 500 BCE. It is mostly a nomadic and tribal society, with different regions of the country having their own tradition, reflecting the multi-cultural and multi-lingual character of the nation. In the southern and eastern region the people live according to the Pashtun culture by following Pashtunwali, which is an ancient way of life that is still preserved. The remaining of the country is culturally Persian and Turkic. Some non-Pashtuns who live in close proximity with Pashtuns have adopted Pashtunwali in a process called Pashtunization (or Afghanization) while some Pashtuns have been Persianized. Millions of Afghans who have been living in Pakistan and Iran over the last 30 years have been influenced by the cultures of those neighboring nations.
Afghans display pride in their culture, nation, ancestry, and above all, their religion and independence. Like other highlanders, they are regarded with mingled apprehension and condescension, for their high regard for personal honor, for their tribe loyalty and for their readiness to use force to settle disputes. As tribal warfare and internecine feuding has been one of their chief occupations since time immemorial, this individualistic trait has made it difficult for foreigners to conquer them. Tony Heathcote considers the tribal system to be the best way of organizing large groups of people in a country that is geographically difficult, and in a society that, from a materialistic point of view, has an uncomplicated lifestyle. There are an estimated 60 major Pashtun tribes, and the Afghan nomads are estimated at about 2–3 million.
The nation has a complex history that has survived either in its current cultures or in the form of various languages and monuments. However, many of its historic monuments have been damaged in recent wars. The two famous Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed by the Taliban, who regarded them as idolatrous. Despite that archaeologists are still finding Buddhist relics in different parts of the country, some of them date back to the 2nd century. This indicates that Buddhism was widespread in Afghanistan. Other historical places include the cities of Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Zarang. The Minaret of Jam in the Hari River valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A cloak reputedly worn by Islam's Prophet Muhammad is kept inside the Shrine of the Cloak in Kandahar, a city founded by Alexander and the first capital of Afghanistan. The citadel of Alexander in the western city of Herat has been renovated in recent years and is a popular attraction for tourists. In the north of the country is the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, believed by many to be the location where Ali was buried. The Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture is renovating 42 historic sites in Ghazni until 2013, when the province will be declared as the capital of Islamic civilization. The National Museum of Afghanistan is located in Kabul.
Although literacy level is low, classic Persian and Pashto poetry play an important role in the Afghan culture. Poetry has always been one of the major educational pillars in the region, to the level that it has integrated itself into culture. Some notable poets include Rumi, Rabi'a Balkhi, Sanai, Jami, Khushal Khan Khattak, Rahman Baba, Khalilullah Khalili, and Parween Pazhwak.
Media and entertainment
The Afghan mass media began in the early 20th century, with the first newspaper published in 1906. By the 1920s, Radio Kabul was broadcasting local radio services. Afghanistan National Television was launched in 1974 but was closed in 1996 when the media was tightly controlled by the Taliban. Since 2002, press restrictions were gradually relaxed and private media diversified. Freedom of expression and the press is promoted in the 2004 constitution and censorship is banned, though defaming individuals or producing material contrary to the principles of Islam is prohibited. In 2008, Reporters Without Borders listed the media environment as 156 out of 173, with the 1st being most free. 400 publications were registered, at least 15 local Afghan television channels and 60 radio stations. Foreign radio stations, such as Voice of America, BBC World Service, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcast into the country.
The city of Kabul has been home to many musicians in the past, who were masters of both traditional and modern Afghan music, especially during the Nowruz (New Year) and National Independence Day celebrations. Ahmad Zahir, Nashenas, Ustad Sarahang, Sarban, Ubaidullah Jan, Farhad Darya, and Naghma are some of the notable Afghan musicians but there are many others. Most Afghans are accustomed to watching Bollywood films from India and listening to its filmi hit songs. Many of the Bollywood film stars have roots in Afghanistan, including Madhubala, Feroz Khan, Kader Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Fardeen Khan, Sohail Khan, Celina Jaitley and many others. In addition, several Bollywood films such as Dharmatma, Khuda Gawah, Escape from Taliban and Kabul Express have been shot inside Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan national football team has been competing in international football since 1941. The national team plays its home games at the Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, while football in Afghanistan is governed by the Afghanistan Football Federation. The national team has never competed or qualified for the FIFA World Cup but has recently won an international football trophy in the SAFF Championship. The country also has a national team in the sport of futsal, a 5-a-side variation of football.
Cricket, which is a newly introduced sport in Afghanistan fuelled by the success of the Afghan national cricket team is growing in popularity. Afghanistan participated in the 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier, 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division One, and 2010 ICC World Twenty20 where they played India and South Africa. It won the ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2011. More recently the under-19 team played in the 2012 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is the official governing body of the sport and is headquartered in Kabul. The Ghazi Amanullah Khan International Cricket Stadium serves as the nation's main cricket stadium, followed by the Kabul National Cricket Stadium. Several other stadiums are under construction. Domestically, cricket is played between teams from different provinces.
Some of the other popular sports in Afghanistan include basketball, volleyball, taekwondo, and bodybuilding. Buzkashi is a traditional sport, mainly among the northern Afghans. It is similar to polo, played by horsemen in two teams, each trying to grab and hold a goat carcass. Afghan Hounds (a type of running dog) originated in Afghanistan and was originally used in the sport of hunting.
- Topic overview:
- International rankings of Afghanistan
|a.^||Other terms that have been used as demonyms are Afghani.|
- "Article Sixteen of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2012. "From among the languages of Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, Pamiri (alsana), Arab and other languages spoken in the country, Pashto and Dari are the official languages of the state."
- Central Statistics Organization of Afghanistan: Statistical Yearbook 2012-2013: Area and administrative Population
- "Afghanistan". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Chapter 2. The Society and Its Environment" (PDF). Afghanistan Country Study. Illinois Institute of Technology. pp. 105–06. Archived from the original on 3 November 2001. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- "Afghanistan". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Gini Index". World Bank. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
- "Human Development Index and its components" (PDF). Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings". UNdata. 26 April 2011. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 25 February 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- Griffin, Luke (14 January 2002). "The Pre-Islamic Period". Afghanistan Country Study. Illinois Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 3 November 2001. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- "Afghanistan country profile". BBC News. 12 January 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Baxter, Craig (1997). "Chapter 1. Historical Setting". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Kingdoms of South Asia – Afghanistan in Far East Kingdoms: Persia and the East". The History Files. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Last Afghan empire". Louis Dupree, Nancy Hatch Dupree and others. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- D. Balland (2010). "Afghanistan x. Political History". Encyclopædia Iranica (online ed.). Columbia University. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- M. Longworth Dames, G. Morgenstierne, and R. Ghirshman (1999). "AFGHĀNISTĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam (CD-ROM v. 1.0 ed.). Koninklijke Brill NV.
- "President Dwight D. Eisenhower inspects the honor guard upon arr at Bagram Airport". Meridian.org. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Soldiers of God: Cold War (Part 1/5)". CNN. 1998. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- UNICEF, Land-mines: A deadly inheritance
- "Afghanistan". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "United Nations Security Council" (PDF). United Nations. Naval Postgraduate School. 5 December 2001. Archived from the original on 24 February 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- Olson, Parmy (14 January 2010). "The World's Most Dangerous Countries". Forbes. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- "Pakistan/Afghanistan". Gulf-times.com. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "U.S. blames Pakistan agency in Kabul attack". Reuters. 22 September 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "President Karzai Address to the Nation on Afghanistan's Peace Efforts". The Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. Archived from the original on 12 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Citing rising death toll, UN urges better protection of Afghan civilians". United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. 9 March 2011. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
- Afghan civilian casualties haunt U.N.
- Cowan, William and Jaromira Rakušan. Source Book for Linguistics. 3rd ed. John Benjamins, 1998.
- Banting, Erinn (2003). Afghanistan: The land. Crabtree Publishing Company. pp. 4, 32. ISBN 0-7787-9335-4.
- Ch. M. Kieffer (15 December 1983). "Afghan". Encyclopædia Iranica (online ed.). Columbia University.
- "History of Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Vogelsang, Willem (2002). The Afghans. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 382. ISBN 0-631-19841-5.
- Morgenstierne, G. (1999). "AFGHĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam (CD-ROM v. 1.0 ed.). Koninklijke Brill NV.
- Ibn Battuta (2004). Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325–1354 (reprint, illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 416. ISBN 0-415-34473-5.
- Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah (1560). 200: Translation of the Introduction to Firishta's History. "The History of India". Sir H. M. Elliot 6. London: Packard Humanities Institute. p. 8. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- Extract from "Passion of the Afghan" by Khushal Khan Khattak; translated by C. Biddulph in Afghan Poetry Of The 17th Century: Selections from the Poems of Khushal Khan Khattak, London, 1890.
- Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur (1525). "Events Of The Year 910". Memoirs of Babur. Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- E. Huntington, "The Anglo-Russian Agreement as to Tibet, Afghanistan, and Persia", Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. 39, No. 11 (1907).
- Friedrich Engels (1857). "Afghanistan". Andy Blunden. The New American Cyclopaedia, Vol. I. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- Elphinstone, M., "Account of the Kingdom of Cabul and its Dependencies in Persia and India", 1815; published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown.
- M. Ali, "Afghanistan: The War of Independence, 1919", 1960.
- Afghanistan's Constitution of 1923 under King Amanullah Khan (English translation).
- "Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Location: Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "U.S. maps". Pubs.usgs.gov. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "History of Environmental Change in the Sistan Basin 1976–2005". Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2007.
- "Snow in Afghanistan: Natural Hazards". NASA. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Snow may end Afghan drought, but bitter winter looms". Reuters. 18 January 2012.
- "Afghanistan's woeful water management delights neighbors". Csmonitor.com. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Crone, Anthony J. (April 2007). Earthquakes Pose a Serious Hazard in Afghanistan (Technical report). US Geological Survey. Fact Sheet FS 2007–3027. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- "Earthquake Hazards". USGS Projects in Afghanistan. US Geological Survey. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "'Seven dead' as earthquake rocks Afghanistan". BBC News. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Peters, Steven G. (October 2007). Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan, 2007 (Technical report). USGS Afghanistan Project/US Geological Survey/Afghanistan Geological Survey. Fact Sheet 2007–3063. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Minerals in Afghanistan" (PDF). British Geological Survey. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Afghanistan's untapped minerals 'worth $3 trillion'". The Independent (London). 18 June 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- Risen, James (17 June 2010). "U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Afghans say US team found huge potential mineral wealth". BBC News. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Land area (sq. km)". World Development Indicators. World Bank. 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "CIA Factbook – Area: 41". CIA. 26 November 1991. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Afghanistan – John Ford Shroder, University of Nebraska". Webcitation.org. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Nancy H. Dupree (1973): An Historical Guide To Afghanistan, Chapter 3 Sites in Perspective.
- "Afghanistan: A Treasure Trove for Archaeologists". Time Magazine. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan, Pre-Islamic Period, by Craig Baxter (1997).
- Bryant, Edwin F. (2001) The quest for the origins of Vedic culture: the Indo-Aryan migration debate Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-513777-9.
- Afghanistan: ancient Ariana (1950), Information Bureau, p3.
- M. Witzel, "The Vīdẽvdaδ list obviously was composed or redacted by someone who regarded Afghanistan and the lands surrounding it as the home of all Indo-Iranians (airiia), that is of all (eastern) Iranians, with Airiianem Vaẽjah as their center." page 48, "The Home Of The Aryans", Festschrift J. Narten = Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft, Beihefte NF 19, Dettelbach: J.H. Röll 2000, 283–338. Also published online, at Harvard University (LINK)
- Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan, Achaemenid Rule, ca. 550-331 B.C.
- "Chronological History of Afghanistan – the cradle of Gandharan civilisation". Gandhara.com.au. 15 February 1989. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Afghanistan: Achaemenid dynasty rule, Ancient Classical History". Ancienthistory.about.com. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Nancy H. Dupree, An Historical Guide to Kabul
- Nancy Hatch Dupree / Aḥmad ʻAlī Kuhzād (1972). "An Historical Guide to Kabul – The Name". American International School of Kabul. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- "Country Profile: Afghanistan". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. August 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- Dani, A. H. and B. A. Litvinsky. "The Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom". In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Litvinsky, B.A., ed., 1996. UNESCO Publishing, pp. 103–118. ISBN 92-3-103211-9.
- Zeimal, E. V. "The Kidarite Kingdom in Central Asia". In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Litvinsky, B.A., ed., 1996, UNESCO Publishing, pp. 119–133. ISBN 92-3-103211-9.
- Litvinsky, B. A. "The Hephthalite Empire". In: History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Litvinsky, B.A., ed., 1996, UNESCO Publishing, pp. 135–162. ISBN 92-3-103211-9.
- "Khorasan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
- "Khurasan". The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. 2009. p. 55. "In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the term "Khurassan" frequently had a much wider denotation, covering also parts of what are now Soviet Central Asia and Afghanistan"
- Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur (1525). "Events Of The Year 910 (p.4)". Memoirs of Babur. Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "A.—The Hindu Kings of Kábul". Sir H. M. Elliot. London: Packard Humanities Institute. 1867–1877. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- ?amd-Allah Mustawfi of Qazwin (1340). "The Geographical Part of the NUZHAT-AL-QULUB". Translated by Guy Le Strange. Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "A.—The Hindu Kings of Kábul (p.3)". Sir H. M. Elliot. London: Packard Humanities Institute. 1867–1877. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- ""Ghaznavid Dynasty", History of Iran, Iran Chamber Society". Iranchamber.com. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Central Asian world cities". Faculty.washington.edu. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- Page, Susan (18 February 2009). "Obama's war: Deploying 17,000 raises stakes in Afghanistan". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Timurid Dynasty". Britannica.com. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Otfinoski, Steven (2004). Afghanistan. Infobase Publishing. pp. 8, 130. ISBN 0-8160-5056-2.
- Edward G. Browne. "A Literary History of Persia, Volume 4: Modern Times (1500–1924), Chapter IV. An Outline Of The History Of Persia During The Last Two Centuries (A.D. 1722–1922)". Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "The Hotakis". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "The Durrani dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "History of Iran: Afsharid Dynasty (Nader Shah)". Iranchamber.com. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Background: Afghanistan". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Ahmad Shah and the Durrani Empire". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. 1997. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Ahmad Shah Durrani". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- Tanner, Stephen (2009). Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban. Da Capo Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-306-81826-4.
- Nalwa, Vanit (2009). Hari Singh Nalwa, "champion of the Khalsaji" (1791–1837). p. 198. ISBN 9788173047855.
- Soldier and Traveller – Alexander Gardner – Google Books. Elibron Classics. ISBN 978-0-543-01103-9.
- Chahryar, Adle (2003). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast: from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. UNESCO. p. 296. ISBN 92-3-103876-1.
- Encyclopedia Americana. Volume 25. Americana Corporation. 1976. p. 24.
- Hafizullah, Emadi (2005). Culture and customs of Afghanistan. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 252. ISBN 0-313-33089-1.
- Hussain, Rizwan (2005). Pakistan And The Emergence Of Islamic Militancy In Afghanistan. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-7546-4434-0.
- Meher, Jagmohan (2004). America's Afghanistan War: The Success that Failed. Gyan Books. pp. 68–69, 94. ISBN 81-7835-262-1.
- Kalinovsky, Artemy M. (2011). A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. Harvard University Press. pp. 25–28. ISBN 978-0-674-05866-8.
- "Afghanistan". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "How the CIA created Osama bin Laden". greenleft.org.au. 2001.
- "Story of US, CIA and Taliban". The Brunei Times. 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "The Cost of an Afghan 'Victory'". The Nation. 1999. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Landmines in Afghanistan: A Decades Old Danger". Defenseindustrydaily.com. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Refugee Admissions Program for Near East and South Asia". Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Afghanistan: History – Columbia Encyclopedia". Infoplease.com. 11 September 2001. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Blood-Stained Hands, Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan's Legacy of Impunity". Human Rights Watch.
- Neamatollah Nojumi (2002). The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, and the Future of the Region (1st ed.). Palgrave, New York.
- Amin Saikal. Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2006 1st ed.). I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd., London New York. p. 352. ISBN 1-85043-437-9.
- GUTMAN, Roy (2008): How We Missed the Story: Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and the Hijacking of Afghanistan, Endowment of the United States Institute of Peace, 1st ed., Washington D.C.
- "The September 11 Sourcebooks Volume VII: The Taliban File". gwu.edu. 2003. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Casting Shadows: War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: 1978–2001". Afghanistan Justice Project. 2005. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "II. BACKGROUND". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Matinuddin, Kamal, The Taliban Phenomenon, Afghanistan 1994–1997, Oxford University Press, (1999), pp. 25–26
- Amnesty International. "Document – Afghanistan: further information on fear for safety and new concern: Deliberate and arbitrary killings: Civilians in Kabul." 16 November 1995 Accessed at: Amnesty.org
- "Afghanistan: escalation of indiscriminate shelling in Kabul". International Committee of the Red Cross. 1995. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "BBC Newsnight 1995". Youtube.com. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Marcela Grad. Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader (1 March 2009 ed.). Webster University Press. p. 310.
- "Starving to Death – Afghanistan". YouTube. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Documents Detail Years of Pakistani Support for Taliban, Extremists". George Washington University. 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Coll, Ghost Wars (New York: Penguin, 2005), 14.
- "The Taliban's War on Women. A Health and Human Rights Crisis in Afghanistan". Physicians for Human Rights. 1998. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007.
- "Massoud's Last Stand – Afghanistan". YouTube. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Newsday (October 2001). "Taliban massacres outlined for UN". Chicago Tribune.
- Newsday (2001). "Confidential UN report details mass killings of civilian villagers". newsday.org. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2001.
- "Afghanistan: Situation in, or around, Aqcha (Jawzjan province) including predominant tribal/ethnic group and who is currently in control". UNHCR. February 1999.
- "Incitement of violence against Hazaras by Governor Niazi". Afghanistan: the massacre in Mazar-I-Sharif. Human Rights Watch. November 1998. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
- "Afghanistan resistance leader feared dead in blast". The Telegraph (London). 11 September 2001.
- "Inside the Taliban". National Geographic. 2007.
- "Ahmed Shah Massoud". History Commons. 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Maley, William (2009). The Afghanistan wars. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-230-21313-5.
- "BOOK REVIEW: The inside track on Afghan wars by Khaled Ahmed". Daily Times. 2008.
- "Brigade 055". CNN.[dead link]
- Marcela Grad (1 March 2009). Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader. Webster University Press. p. 310.
- "Human Rights Watch Backgrounder, October 2001". Human Rights Watch. 2001. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Inside the Taliban". National Geographic. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008.
- "Massoud in the European Parliament 2001". EU media. 2001. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "Massoud in the European Parliament 2001". EU media. 2001. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Defense Intelligence Agency (2001) report gwu.edu
- "Life under Taliban cuts two ways". CSM. 20 September 2001
- Rory McCarthy in Islamabad. "New offer on Bin Laden". Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "Bin Laden urges Europe to quit Afghanistan". Reuters. 29 November 2007.
- Tyler, Patrick (8 October 2001). "A Nation challenged: The attack; U.S. and Britain strike Afghanistan, aiming at bases and terrorist camps; Bush warns 'Taliban will pay a price'". New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1386 S-RES-1386(2001) on 31 May 2001 (retrieved 21 September 2007) – (UNSCR 1386)
- "United States Mission to Afghanistan". Nato.usmission.gov. Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Fossler, Julie. "USAID Afghanistan". Afghanistan.usaid.gov. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan: Backgrounder". Afghanistan.gc.ca. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Witte, Griff (8 December 2009). "Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "Photo Gallery: The 'Kill Team' in Afghanistan". Der Spiegel. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Trofimov, Yaroslav (11 September 2010). "Karzai Divides Afghanistan in Reaching Out to Taliban". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Starkey, Jerome (30 September 2010). "Karzai's Taleban talks raise spectre of civil war warns former spy chief". The Scotsman (Edinburgh).
- "Abdullah Abdullah: Talks With Taliban Futile". National Public Radio (NPR). 22 October 2010.
- "Germany begins deportations of Afghan refugees". wsws.org. 25 June 2005. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Living in Fear of Deportation". DW-World.De. 22 January 2006. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Pakistan Accused of Helping Taliban". ABC News. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- Crilly, Rob; Spillius, Alex (26 July 2010). "Wikileaks: Pakistan accused of helping Taliban in Afghanistan attacks". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- "UN: Taliban Responsible for 76% of Deaths in Afghanistan". The Weekly Standard. 10 August 2010.
- Haddon, Katherine (6 October 2011). "Afghanistan marks 10 years since war started". AFP. Archived from the original on 10 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Damien Pearse and agencies (4 February 2012). "Afghan civilian death toll reaches record high | World news | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Ahmad Zia Massoud, ANF: If Taliban Imposed, There will be Resistance". Outlook Afghanistan. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Panetta: U.S. will pursue Pakistan-based militants". USA Today. September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Pakistan condemns US comments about spy agency". Associated Press. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "U.S. links Pakistan to group it blames for Kabul attack". Reuters. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Clinton Presses Pakistan to Help Fight Haqqani Insurgent Group". Fox News. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Push launched against Haqqanis in border areas". Pajhwok.com. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "There is more to peace than Taliban". Asia Times. 12 January 2012.
- "Rep. Rohrabacher Leads Bipartisan Delegation's Afghanistan Strategy Session With National Front Leaders in Berlin". 9 January 2012.
- "New Supreme Court Could Mark Genuine Departure". E-ariana.com. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Corruption Perceptions Index 2010 Results". Transparency International. 2010. Archived from the original on 1 March 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- "Corruption widespread in Afghanistan, UNODC survey says". UNODC.org. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Karzai vows to tackle corruption". CBC.ca. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Miller, Greg (10 September 2010). "U.S. effort to help Afghanistan fight corruption has complicated ties". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "Kabul bank scandal: US seeks action". Pajhwok.com. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- McDonald, Charlotte (10 September 2009). "Afghan commission orders first ballots invalidated". Google. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Cooper, Helene (2 November 2009). "Karzai Gets New Term as Afghan Runoff is Scrapped". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Siddique, Abubakar (20 August 2009). "Mixed Turnout, Violence Seen On Afghan Election Day, As Vote Count Begins". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 28 December 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- "RAWA Photo Gallery: They are Responsible for Afghanistan's Tragedy". RAWA. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "Women in Parliaments: World Classification". Ipu.org. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- "Kabul residents to get computerised ID cards in 5 months". Pajhwok Afghan News. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Explaining Elections, Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan". Iec.org.af. 9 October 2004. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Afghan officials accuse Pakistan of embassy attack". Hurriyet. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Resolving the Pakistan–Afghanistan Stalemate, United States Institute of Peace, Afghanistan and Pakistan have had largely antagonistic relations under all governments
- Abasin Zaheeron, ed. (20 May 2012). "Iran, Pakistan out to weaken Afghanistan, MPs told". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- "World | Pakistan stoking violence in Afghanistan: adviser". Dawn.Com. 15 October 2009. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Yousufzai, Wasim (2 August 2011). "Stable Afghanistan in the interest of region: Zardari". Pajhwok.com. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "What is the Best Route for Supplying Landlocked Afghanistan". Oil Price. 30 January 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "The Security of the Caspian Sea Region". Murad Esenov, Oxford University Press. 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Engaging regional players in Afghanistan" (PDF). Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Indian PM Manmohan Singh pledges $500m to Afghanistan". BBC News. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "We Need India's Help In Afghanistan". Forbes.com. 23 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Katy Daigle (4 October 2011). "Afghanistan signs 1st strategic pact with India". News.yahoo.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Pakistan a twin brother, talks to go on: Karzai. Pajhwok Afghan News. Sujoy Dhar. 5 October 2011.
- Pellerindate, Cheryl (23 May 2011). "Afghan Security Forces Grow in Numbers, Quality". American Forces Press Service. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- "For U.S., Vast Challenge To Expand Afghan Forces". NPR. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- 16 November 2009 (16 November 2009). "Afghanistan to Form Major Anti-Corruption Unit". voanews.com. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Ministry of Counter Narcotics
- "Afghanistan: Food still unaffordable for millions". IRIN. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "Agriculture". USAID. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Exporting Afghanistan, by P.J. Tobia. 17 November 2009.
- Gall, Carlotta (7 July 2010). "Afghan Companies Say U.S. Did Not Pay Them". New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "the Kabul New City Official Website". DCDA. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Ghazi Amanullah Khan City". najeebzarab.af. 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Case study: Aino Mina". Designmena.com. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- A Humane Afghan City? by Ann Marlowe in Forbes 2 September 2009.
- "Economic Growth". USAID. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Afghanistan, neighbors unveil 'Silk Road' plan". Reuters. 22 September 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- Declan Walsh. "UN horrified by surge in opium trade in Helmand". Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Afghan opium production in significant decline". UNDOC.
- "CEOs should replace generals in Afghanistan: India". 28 June 2012.
- O'Hanlon, Michael E. "Deposits Could Aid Ailing Afghanistan", The Brookings Institution, 16 June 2010.
- Klett, T.R. (March 2006). Assessment of Undiscovered Petroleum Resources of Northern Afghanistan, 2006 (Technical report). USGS-Afghanistan Ministry of Mines & Industry Joint Oil & Gas Resource Assessment Team. Fact Sheet 2006–3031. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Afghanistan signs '$7 bn' oil deal with China". 28 December 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Afghanistan's Mineral Fortune". Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security Report. 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Tucker, Ronald D. (2011). Rare Earth Element Mineralogy, Geochemistry, and Preliminary Resource Assessment of the Khanneshin Carbonatite Complex, Helmand Province, Afghanistan (Technical report). USGS. Open-File Report 2011–1207. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "China, Not U.S., Likely to Benefit from Afghanistan's Mineral Riches". Daily Finance. 14 June 2010
- "China Willing to Spend Big on Afghan Commerce". The New York Times. 29 December 2009
- "Indian Group Wins Rights to Mine in Afghanistan's Hajigak". Businessweek. 6 December 2011
- "Afghanistan is suddenly wealthy: US finds $1 trillion in mineral deposits". Ksdk.com. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Sengupta, Kim (15 June 2010). "Afghanistan's resources could make it the richest mining region on earth". The Independent (London). Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Page, Jeremy; Evans, Michael (15 June 2010). "Taleban zones mineral riches may rival Saudi Arabia says Pentagon". The Times (London).
- "China wins $700 million Afghan oil and gas deal. Why didn't the US bid?". CSMonitor.com. 28 December 2011
- "Ariana". Flyariana.com. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Tolo News – Construction on Kabul-Torkham Railway to Start Soon, Ministry of Mines Says, Tamim Shaheer. 18 October 2011.
- "Statistics". Ministry of Communications (Afghanistan). 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Jeffrey Hill (10 April 2012). "Afghanistan Seeks Partners to Launch First Domestic Satellite". Satellite Today. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Running Projects – Ministry of Communications and Information Technology". Mcit.gov.af. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- 8 April 2012 16:43 (8 April 2012). "Afghanistan to Launch its First Space Satellite". Tolonews.com. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Afghanistan to launch first ever satellite". chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Shamal, Parwiz (21 April 2012). "Afghanistan's First Satellite". Tolonews.com. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul. "Afghanistan announces satellite tender". Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Afghanistan". World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved 6 July 2013. "Life expectancy at birth m/f (years) 59/61"
- CIA – The World Factbook
- The World Factbook
- CIA – The World Factbook
- BBC News – Afghanistan maternal mortality drops, survey suggests
- Tan Ee Lyn (6 May 2008). "Afghan medical college struggles to rise from the ashes". Reuters. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Peter, Tom A. (17 December 2011). "Childbirth and maternal health improve in Afghanistan". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- "Health". United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Anne-Marie DiNardo, LPA/PIPOS (31 March 2006). "Empowering Afghanistan's Disabled Population – 31 March 2006". Usaid.gov. Archived from the original on 8 May 2004. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Richard Norton-Taylor (13 February 2008). "Afghanistan's refugee crisis 'ignored'". Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Afghanistan: People living with disabilities call for integration
- Virginia Haussegger Mahooba's Promise ABC TV 7.30 Report. 2009. ABC.net.au. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- "Afghanistan". Measuredhs.com. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Afghanistan's Ministry of Higher Education". Archived from the original on 31 May 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "Education". United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- It is planned to raise enrollments to 115,000 by 2014, see Anthony Welch and Attaullah Wahidyar. Evolution, Revolution, Reconstruction: The interrupted Development of Higher Education in Afghanistan. In M. F. Buck and M. Kabaum (eds.), 2013, Ideen und Realitaeten von Universitaeten, pp. 83—105, here pp. 97 and 100. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-631-62381-7.
- "Wardak seeks $3b in aid for school buildings". Pajhwok Afghan News. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Rising literacy in Afghanistan ensures transition". Army.mil. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Management and Establishment of Lincoln Learning Centers in Afghanistan" (PDF). Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Ghazni governor signs memorandum for Lincoln Learning Center – War On Terror News". Waronterrornews.typepad.com. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Population of Afghanistan". The World Factbook. CIA. 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "United Nations and Afghanistan". UN News Centre. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Afghanistan – Population Reference Bureau". Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- "Table 2-2: Settled Population by Province-2010-2011" (PDF). Central Statistics Office. 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Haber M, Platt DE, Ashrafian Bonab M, Youhanna SC, Soria-Hernanz DF (2012). "Afghanistan's Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events". In Kayser, Manfred. PLoS ONE 7 (3): e34288. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034288. PMC 3314501. PMID 22470552.
- "The People". Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). 30 June 2002. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- "Ethnic groups". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- "Afghanistan". The World Factbook/Central Intelligence Agency. University of Missouri. 15 October 1991. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Ethnic divisions". The World Factbook/CIA. University of Missouri. 22 January 1993. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Ethnic Groups". Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- "Ethnic groups:". The World Factbook/CIA. University of Missouri. 2003. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- "Afghanistan in 2012 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. pp. 181–182. Retrieved 28 November 2012. "Appendix 1: Target Demographics 181... Pashtun 40%, Tajik 33%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 11%, Turkmen 2%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 1%, Arab 2%, Pashaye 1%, Sadat 1%"
- "Afghanistan in 2011 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. p. 251. Retrieved 13 November 2012. "15. Appendix 3: Interview Questionnaire... D-10. Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 41%, Tajik 32%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 11%, Turkmen 2%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 1%, Arab 1%, Sadat 1%"
- "Afghanistan in 2010 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2010. pp. 225–226. Retrieved 20 March 2011. "D-9. Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 42%, Tajik 31%, Uzbek 9%, Hazara 10%, Turkmen 2%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 2%, Arab 2%"
- "Afghanistan in 2009: A Survey of the Afghan People" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. Retrieved 28 November 2012. "The 2009 survey interviewed 6,406 Afghans (53% men and 47% women)"
- "Afghanistan in 2010 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. Retrieved 28 November 2012. "The 2008 survey interviewed 6,593 Afghans..."
- "Afghanistan in 2007 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2010. pp. 225–226. Retrieved 20 March 2011. "The 2007 survey interviewed 6,406 Afghans, Which ethnic group do you belong to? SINGLE RESPONSE ONLY Pashtun 40%, Tajik 35%, Uzbek 8%, Hazara 10%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 1%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 1%, Arab 1%"
- "Afghanistan in 2006 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. pp. 83–88. Retrieved 28 November 2012. "A total of 6,226 respondents were surveyed in the study, out of which 4888 (78.5%) were from the rural areas and 1338 (22%) were from the urban areas. Ethnicity: Pashtun 40.9, Tajik 37.1, Uzbek 9.2, Hazara 9.2, Turkmen 1.7, Baloch 0.5, Nuristani 0.4, Aimak 0.1, Arab 0.7, Pashayi 0.3"
- "Afghanistan in 2004 – A survey of the Afghan people" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: The Asia Foundation. 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2012. "The 2004 survey interviewed 804 Afghans, Which ethnic group do you belong to? Pashtun 46%, Tajik 39%, Uzbek 6%, Hazara 6%, Turkmen 1%, Baloch 0%, Nuristani 1%, Aimak 0%, Arab 1%, Pashaye 0%, Other 1%."
- "ABC NEWS/BBC/ARD poll – Afghanistan: Where Things Stand" (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: ABC News. pp. 38–40. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Languages of Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "Population". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation retrieved 4 September 2013
- "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 5 August 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- "Afghanistan". The World Factbook. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- Klimberg, Max (1 October 2004). "NURISTAN". Encyclopædia Iranica (online ed.). United States: Columbia University.
- Lavina Melwani, New York. "Hindus Abandon Afghanistan". Hinduism Today. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Majumder, Sanjoy (25 September 2003). "Sikhs struggle in Afghanistan". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- N.C. Aizenman. "Afghan Jew Becomes Country's One and Only". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Country Profile: Afghanistan". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Barbara Robson, Juliene Lipson, Farid Younos, Mariam Mehdi. "The Afghans – Their History and Culture". United States: Center for Applied Linguistics. 30 June 2002. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- US Library of Congress: Afghanistan – Ethnic Groups (Pashtun)
- Banting, Erinn (2003). Afghanistan: The land. Crabtree Publishing Company. p. 32. ISBN 0-7787-9335-4.
- Heathcote, Tony (1980, 2003) "The Afghan Wars 1839–1919", Sellmount Staplehurst.
- "Pashtun (people)". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "Afghanistan: Kuchi nomads seek a better deal". IRIN Asia. 18 February 2008.
- G.V. Brandolini. Afghanistan cultural heritage. Orizzonte terra, Bergamo. 2007. p. 64.
- "42 Buddhist relics discovered in Logar". Maqsood Azizi. Pajhwok Afghan News. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.[not in citation given] (bad URL - does not match page title)
- "Afghan archaeologists find Buddhist site as war rages". Sayed Salahuddin. News Daily. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Buddhist remains found in Afghanistan". Press TV. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Survey of historical sites in Ghazni launched". Pajhwok Afghan News. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "Classical Dari and Pashto Poets". Afghan-web.com. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Dartnell, M. Y. Insurgency Online: Web Activism and Global Conflict. University of Toronto Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8020-8553-5.
- Afghanistan Press Report 2008, Freedom House.
- "Artist Biographies". Afghanland.com. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Hauslohner/Paghman, Abigail (4 June 2010). "Women's Cricket: Afghanistan's Secretive New Sport". Time. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- "Afghans qualify for 2012 U-19 World Cup". Pajhwok Afghan News. pajhwok.com. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- "All provinces to have cricket grounds: minister". Pajhwok Afghan News. pajhwok.com. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- "Sports". Pajhwok Afghan News. pajhwok.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- Dictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Reference.com (Retrieved 13 November 2007).
|Find more about Afghanistan at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Travel guide from Wikivoyage|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
- Office of the President
- Afghanistan entry at The World Factbook
- Afghanistan web resources provided by GovPubs at the University of Colorado–Boulder Libraries
- Afghanistan at DMOZ
- Wikimedia Atlas of Afghanistan
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Afghanistan.|