Flag of Afghanistan

Facts & Figures

Afghanistan's recent history is a story of war and civil unrest. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, but was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahedin forces. The Communist regime in Kabul collapsed in 1992. Subsequently, a series of civil wars saw Kabul fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. The Taliban were able to capture most of the country outside of Northern Alliance strongholds primarily in the northeast.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution and a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. On December 7, 2004, Hamid Karzai became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan. The National Assembly was inaugurated on December 19, 2005.

Geography & People

Capital: Kabul
Area: 647,500 sq km (slightly smaller than Texas)
Population: 29.8 million (2010 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.626% (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: 44 years (UNICEF 2011)
Ethnic groups: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%
Languages: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism



Government type: Islamic Republic
President: Hamid Karzai
Ambassador to the United States: Eklil Ahmad Hakimi
Ambassador from the United States: James B. Cunningham



GDP: $15.6 billion (IMF, 2010)
GDP per capita: $800 (PPP, 2008 est.)
GDP real growth rate: 7.5% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 53% (2003)
Exports: $327 million (not including illicit exports or reexports) (2007 est.)
Debt - external: $8 billion in bilateral debt, mostly to Russia; Afghanistan has $500 million in debt to Multilateral Development Banks (2004)
Economic aid: $6 billion (2009)
Currency: afghani (AFA)
Statistics come from the CIA Factbook https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html


Last updated: March 08, 2016

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