Afghanistan Flag Icon

Afghanistan Country Guide

Explore Afghanistan in Asia

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service has marked this country as DO NOT TRAVEL. This means that travelling this country can result in potentially life-threatening situations! If you really have to go: Check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Afghanistan with the capital city Kabul is located in Asia (Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan). It covers some 647,501 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Texas) with 32,738,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Afghanistan

The topography includes mostly rugged mountains with plains in north and southwest. The average density of population is approximately 51 per km². The notable climate conditions in Afghanistan can be described as arid to semiarid with cold winters and hot summers. Possible natural disasters include damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains or flooding or droughts.

To reach someone in Afghanistan dial +93 prior to a number. There are 129,300 installed telephones. And there are 12,000,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".af". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Afghanistan

Three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other two bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great"), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood shed for independence, and green can represent either hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam
note: Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them.

Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was re-elected in August 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability - particularly in the south and the east - remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: Turkmenistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan
Capital: Kabul
Size 647,500 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 250,001 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Texas
Population 32,738,000
Currency Name: Afghani, Currency Code: AFN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .af
Telephone Country Prefix +93
Mobile Phone Connections 12,000,000
Landline Phone Connections 129,300

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 652,230 (sq km) 41

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 31,108,077 40
Population growth rate 2.25 (%) 41
Birth rate 39.05 (births/1,000 population) 12
Death rate 14.35 (deaths/1,000 population) 7
Net migration rate -2.16 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 165
Maternal mortality rate 460.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 21
Infant mortality rate 119.41 (deaths/1,000 live births) 1
Life expectancy at birth 50.11 (years) 219
Total fertility rate 5.54 (children born/woman) 8
Health expenditures 7.60 (% of GDP) 70
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.01 (%) 165
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 2.20 (%) 182
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 32.90 (%) 10


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 34,290,000,000 109
GDP - real growth rate 10.20 (%) 8
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,100 216
Labor force 15,000,000 40
Unemployment rate 35.00 (%) 184
Taxes and other revenues 11.3 (% of GDP) 207
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -8.70 (% of GDP) 202
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 13.80 (%) 209
Commercial bank prime lending rate 15.69 (%) 36
Stock of narrow money 5,928,000,000 94
Stock of broad money 6,351,000,000 120
Stock of domestic credit 363,600,000 178
Current account balance -743,900,000 106
Exports 376,000,000 177
Imports 6,390,000,000 118
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 5,268,000,000 89
Debt - external 1,280,000,000 150


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 913,100,000 (kWh) 149
Electricity - consumption 2,226,000,000 (kWh) 138
Electricity - imports 1,377,000,000 (kWh) 57
Electricity - installed generating capacity 489100 (kW) 139
Electricity - from fossil fuels 23.5 (% of total installed capacity) 188
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 76.5 (% of total installed capacity) 17
Crude oil - production 1,950 (bbl/day) 93
Crude oil - proved reserves 87000000 (bbl) 75
Refined petroleum products - consumption 4,229 (bbl/day) 175
Refined petroleum products - imports 5,193 (bbl/day) 154
Natural gas - production 38,000,000 (cu m) 86
Natural gas - consumption 30,000,000 (cu m) 110
Natural gas - proved reserves 49,550,000,000 (cu m) 67
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 790,200 (Mt) 173


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 13,500 199
Telephones - mobile cellular 17,558,000 50
Internet hosts 223 200
Internet users 1,000,000 100


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 52 91
Roadways 42,150 (km) 85
Waterways 1,200 (km) 61


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 10.00 (% of GDP) 2

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley
The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandha ...
Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam
The 65m-tall Minaret of Jam is a graceful, soaring structure, dating back to the 12th century. Covered in elaborate brickwork with a blue tile inscription at the top, it is noteworthy for the quality of its architecture and decoration, which represen ...