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Afghanistan Country Guide

Explore Afghanistan in Asia

Afghanistan with the capital city Kabul is located in Asia (Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan). It covers some 647,500 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

Afghanistan Flag Icon

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

SummaryContinent: Asia
Neighbours: Turkmenistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan
Capital: Kabul
Size647,500 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 250,001 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Texas
CurrencyName Afghani, Currency Code:AFN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).af
Telephone Country Prefix+93
Mobile Phone Connections12,000,000
Landline Phone Connections129,300

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 nameValueWorld Rank
Area652,230 (sq km)41

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population31,108,077 40
Population growth rate2.25 (%)41
Birth rate39.05 (births/1,000 population)12
Death rate14.35 (deaths/1,000 population)7
Net migration rate-2.16 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)165
Maternal mortality rate460.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)21
Infant mortality rate119.41 (deaths/1,000 live births)1
Life expectancy at birth50.11 (years)219
Total fertility rate5.54 (children born/woman)8
Health expenditures7.60 (% of GDP)70
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.01 (%)165
Obesity - adult prevalence rate2.20 (%)182
Children under the age of 5 years underweight32.90 (%)10


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)34,290,000,000 109
GDP - real growth rate10.20 (%)8
GDP - per capita (PPP)1,100 216
Labor force15,000,000 40
Unemployment rate35.00 (%)184
Taxes and other revenues11.30 (% of GDP)207
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-8.70 (% of GDP)202
Inflation rate (consumer prices)13.80 (%)209
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.69 (%)36
Stock of narrow money5,928,000,000 94
Stock of broad money6,351,000,000 120
Stock of domestic credit363,600,000 178
Current account balance-743,900,000 106
Exports376,000,000 177
Imports6,390,000,000 118
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold5,268,000,000 89
Debt - external1,280,000,000 150


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production913,100,000 (kWh)149
Electricity - consumption2,226,000,000 (kWh)138
Electricity - imports1,377,000,000 (kWh)57
Electricity - installed generating capacity489,100 (kW)139
Electricity - from fossil fuels23.50 (% of total installed capacity)188
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants76.50 (% of total installed capacity)17
Crude oil - production1,950 (bbl/day)93
Crude oil - proved reserves87,000,000 (bbl)75
Refined petroleum products - consumption4,229 (bbl/day)175
Refined petroleum products - imports5,193 (bbl/day)154
Natural gas - production38,000,000 (cu m)86
Natural gas - consumption30,000,000 (cu m)110
Natural gas - proved reserves49,550,000,000 (cu m)67
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy790,200 (Mt)173


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use13,500 199
Telephones - mobile cellular17,558,000 50
Internet hosts223 200
Internet users1,000,000 100


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports52 91
Roadways42,150 (km)85
Waterways1,200 (km)61


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures10.00 (% 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

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 ...