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Country in Central and South Asia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Afghanistan,[lower-alpha 4] officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,[lower-alpha 5] is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia,[26] it is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south,[lower-alpha 6] Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. Occupying 652,864 square kilometers (252,072 sq mi) of land, the country is predominantly mountainous with plains in the north and the southwest, which are separated by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Kabul is the country's largest city and serves as its capital. According to the World Population review, as of 2021, Afghanistan's population is 40.2 million.[6] The National Statistics Information Authority of Afghanistan estimated the population to be 32.9 million as of 2020.[28]

Quick facts: Islamic Emirate of
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
  • د افغانستان اسلامي امارت (Pashto)
    Də Afġānistān Islāmī Imārat
  • امارت اسلامی افغانستان (Dari)
    Imārat-i Islāmī-yi Afğānistān
Motto: لا إله إلا الله، محمد رسول الله
Lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh, Muhammadun rasūlu llāh
"There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God." (Shahadah)
Anthem: دا د باتورانو کور
"Dā Də Bātorāno Kor"
"This Is the Home of the Brave"[2]
StatusUN member state under an unrecognized government
and largest city
34°31′N 69°11′E[3]
Official languages
Ethnic groups
(2019 unofficial estimates)[lower-alpha 1][5][6][7][8]
Demonym(s)Afghan[lower-alpha 2][11][12]
GovernmentUnitary totalitarian[13] provisional theocratic Islamic emirate[14]
Hibatullah Akhundzada
Hasan Akhund (acting)
Abdul Hakim Haqqani
LegislatureNone[lower-alpha 3]
27 May 1863
26 May 1879
19 August 1919
9 June 1926
17 July 1973
27–28 April 1978
28 April 1992
27 September 1996
26 January 2004
15 August 2021
652,867[19] km2 (252,073 sq mi) (40th)
 Water (%)
 2023 estimate
Neutral increase 39,232,003[20] (37th)
48.08/km2 (124.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
$81.007 billion[21]
 Per capita
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
$20.136 billion[21]
 Per capita
HDI (2021)Decrease 0.478[22][23]
low · 180th
CurrencyAfghani (افغانى) (AFN)
Time zoneUTC+4:30
Lunar Calendar[24]
(Afghanistan Time)
DST is not observed[25]
ISO 3166 codeAF

Human habitation in Afghanistan dates to the Middle Paleolithic era. Popularly referred to as the graveyard of empires,[29] the land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Maurya Empire, Arab Muslims, the Mongols, the British, the Soviet Union, and a US-led coalition. Afghanistan also served as the source from which the Greco-Bactrians and the Mughals, amongst others, rose to form major empires.[30] The various conquests and periods in both the Iranian and Indian cultural spheres[31][32] made the area a center for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and later Islam.[33] The modern state of Afghanistan began with the Durrani Afghan Empire in the 18th century,[34] although Dost Mohammad Khan is sometimes considered to be the founder of the first modern Afghan state.[35] Dost Mohammad died in 1863, days after his last campaign to unite Afghanistan, and Afghanistan was consequently thrown back into civil war. During this time, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the Great Game between the British Empire and the Russian Empire. From India, the British attempted to subjugate Afghanistan but were repelled in the First Anglo-Afghan War. However, the Second Anglo-Afghan War saw a British victory and the successful establishment of British political influence. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, Afghanistan became free of foreign political hegemony, and emerged as the independent Kingdom of Afghanistan in June 1926 under Amanullah Khan. This monarchy lasted almost half a century, until Zahir Shah was overthrown in 1973, following which the Republic of Afghanistan was established.

Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan's history has been dominated by extensive warfare, including coups, invasions, insurgencies, and civil wars. The conflict began in 1978 when a communist revolution established a socialist state, and subsequent infighting prompted the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan in 1979. Mujahideen fought against the Soviets in the Soviet–Afghan War and continued fighting amongst themselves following the Soviets' withdrawal in 1989. The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban controlled most of the country by 1996, but their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan received little international recognition before its overthrow in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban returned to power in 2021 after capturing Kabul and overthrowing the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ending the 2001–2021 war.[36] In September 2021 the Taliban re-established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.[37] The Taliban government remains internationally unrecognized.[38]

Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, including lithium, iron, zinc, and copper. It is the second largest producer of cannabis resin,[39] and third largest of both saffron[40] and cashmere.[41] The country is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Due to the effects of war in recent decades, the country has dealt with high levels of terrorism, poverty, and child malnutrition. Afghanistan remains among the world's least developed countries, ranking 180th in the Human Development Index. Afghanistan's gross domestic product (GDP) is $81 billion by purchasing power parity and $20.1 billion by nominal values. Per capita, its GDP is amongst the lowest of any country as of 2020.

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