Everything you need to know about Afghanistan: news, reviews, in-depth analysis, opinion and more
Afghanistan Information and Profile:
Afghanistan, (which literally means Land of the Afghan or Afgan) is a mountainous and land-locked country located in Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, China in the northeast and by Pakistan in the south and east region. The Hindu-Kush Mountain ranges dominate this landlocked country with its plateaus, desert and grasslands.
Afghanistan's recent history is a story of war and civil unrest. Since centuries brutal war and civil unrest almost devastated its social, political and economic structure. In 1979, the Soviet Union (present Russia) attacked and occupied Afghanistan but the were forced to withdraw after 10 years by US-backed and trained Mujahidin forces (present-day Taliban) and supported by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. Internal fighting continued between various Mujahidin sections, giving rise to numerous warlords that eventually engulfed the whole nation. The brutal control and social oppression of the Taliban ended when U.S. and allied military forces invaded the country shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA.
With the help of international aid and security forces Afghanistan is emerging from its age-old history of wars and civil unrest. These reconstruction initiatives helped Afghanistan to suppress its long political and social unrest. The coming up of new infrastructure and strategic partnerships with many countries has enhanced the social and economic standard of people.
|National Name||:||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan|
|Total area||:||6,47,500 km2|
|Population||:||32,738,376 (growth rate: 2.6%)|
|Languages||:|| Major language spoken in Afghanistan is Pashto, Pashtu or Pukhto; approximately 14 million people speak this language. And other major language is Dari (Farsi) and almost every ethnic division of Afghanistan speaks it. Other languages spoken are Balochi,
Pashayi and Eastern Farsi.
|Ethnicity/ Races||:||Pashtoons, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Numerous other minor ethnic groups (Nuristanis, Baluchis, Turkmens, etc.)|
|Religion||:||Afghans are over 99% Muslims: approximately 74-80% Sunni and 19-25% Shi'a and other are Hindu, Sikh and Jews etc.|
|Literacy Rate||:||Literacy of the entire population is 36%, the male literacy rate is 51% and female literacy is 21%. (According to government of Afghanistan. Survey in 1991).|
Geographical Information on Afghanistan:
Afghanistan is spread on both sides of northern and eastern hemisphere. It is positioned in the Middle East and located in southwestern region of Asia.
The climate of Afghanistan is continental having scorching hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures often vary greatly within a single day. Afghanistan receives most of the rainfall between the months of October and April. The deserts receive less rain whereas the mountains receive more than precipitation, mostly in the form of snow.
Culture, Cuisine and Tourists attraction of Afghanistan:
The culture of Afghanistan is largely influenced by Islam due to Arab- Muslim conquest since millennia. Different regions of Afghanistan have unique traditions that reflect multilingual and multicultural character of this country. The Islamic norms and mannerisms appear prevalent in Afghanistan and its impact can be seen in the art, music, architecture and poetry.
Afghani cuisine is famous for its spices and rich aroma and influenced by the Persian, Indian and Mongolian style of cooking. Main ingredients of enticing Afghani foods are spices, mint, meat, and the noodles/ pasta from Mongolia. Afghani cuisine is flavored with garam masala (hot spice), saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, chillies, leeks, coriander, parsley, mint and black pepper. Vegetarian dishes are not so popular in Afghanistan. Due to environmental factors people take food rich in fat and protein.
There are various attractive tourist destinations in Afghanistan worth exploring and these places delighted travelers while on a tour to this exotic country. These regions are famous for their historical significance, sightseeing spots, cuisines and various other aspects. A laser illustration of Buddha has been created in place of the standing Buddha statues of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban.
Major Sight-seeing Places in Afghanistan include:
GARDENS OF BABUR
KABUL BALA HISAR
BOT-E-BAMIYAN (Buddha’s Statue)
BANDE AMIR LAKES
Islamabad, May 23: (ANI): Drone strikes in Pakistan have fallen sharply since their peak in 2010, perhaps in response to increasing scrutiny of the programme by the US Congress and the American public, according to a media report.
Islamabad, May 23 (IANS) "You're going to lose," a brave woman told one of the two machete-wielding London attackers who killed a soldier.
Washington, May 23 (IANS/RIA Novosti) An FBI agent shot and killed a 27-year-old alleged friend of slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Florida, a day after questioning him as part of the investigation into the April 15 attack, media reports said.
New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) In the backdrop of reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai may have sought increased security assistance from New Delhi during his two-day visit, his third in two years, India said Wednesday it would do everything within its means to promote stability and security in that country.
Ghazni (Afghanistan), May 22 (IANS) Five people were killed and 20 others wounded Wednesday evening by a suicide bomber in Muqur district in eastern Afghanistan's province of Ghazni, Xinhua said, quoting a provincial police source.
New Delhi, May 22 (ANI): Addressing media persons in New Delhi, visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday said Kabul has given a wish list to India, but did not specify what the list contains.
New Delhi, May 22 (ANI): Asserting that Pakistan is an important element in maintaining peace in Afghanistan, visiting President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday it would be difficult to fight terrorism without Islamabad's cooperation because it has influence over Taliban.
Quetta, May 22 (ANI): The NATO and US troops have started withdrawal of their equipment from Afghanistan after more than ten years of war.
London, May 22 (ANI): A right group has said the number of women and girls in Afghanistan imprisoned for moral crimes has risen by 50 percent in the past 18 months.
New Delhi, May 22 (ANI): India has assured its full support to Afghanistan in the critical period of transition, development and nation-building.
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) India will stand by the government and people of Afghanistan in the critical period of transition, development and nation-building, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Tuesday.
New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): Vice President Hamid Ansari today left on a four-day visit to Uzbekistan during which the two nations will discuss issues of cooperation in counter-terrorism, Afghanistan and development projects in the region will come up for discussion.
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Afghan president Hamid Karzai Tuesday called for Indian investment in critical sectors such as healthcare, telecom, agri-business and capacity building.
New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): In an exclusive interaction with a group of CII CEOs , President Karzai called for Indian Investment in prominent sectors including Healthcare, Agri business, Telecom and Capacity Building.
London, May 21 (ANI): Prince William has revealed that he cannot wait to be a father, after he was given another gift, a babygro with the words: "My daddy is a hero", for his unborn child.
London, May 21 (ANI): Russian counter-terrorism agents have foiled a terrorist attack on Moscow, killing two of the plotters and arrested another.
New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who is in India on a three-day visit, will meet Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh here this evening.
Moscow, May 20 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Police killed two suspected militants and detained another in a special operation outside Moscow Monday, preventing a terror attack in the capital, the National Anti-terrorism Committee said.
Kabul, May 20 (IANS) A Taliban suicide bomber Monday blew himself up in front of a government office in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province, killing at least 14 people and wounding 13 others, the interior ministry said.
Kabul, May 20 (IANS) Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Monday left on a two-day visit to India, the president's office said in a statement.
New Delhi, May 20 (ANI): President Hamid Karzai will be in India for a two-day visit, discussing issues that are of importance to both countries. This would be his twelfth visit here, and this in itself, is testimony to the importance of this relationship that both need to nurture constantly.
Kabul, May 19 (IANS) A C-130 plane with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) made a hard landing Sunday in Afghanistan, but there were no casualties, a statement said.
Washington, May 17 (ANI): The Pentagon is planning to request the lowest-ever annual supplemental budget from the government, about 79.5 billion dollars, which is the lowest cost for anti-terror war ongoing since 2005.
London, May 19 (ANI): A debate held by Afghanistan MPs to back up law to eliminate violence against women came to a standstill amid angry protests by traditionalists.
New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari is heading to Uzbekistan, a key Central Asian country, from May 21-24 for talks with President Islam Karimov that are expected to focus on Afghanistan and counter-terrorism cooperation among other issues.
Pune (Maharashtra), May 18 (ANI): A three -day Afghan film festival was inaugurated here by the Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Mohammand Abdali.
New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Ahead of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit, India said Saturday it was ready to discuss and consider Afghanistan's reported request for arms supplies provided it is raised through the proper fora.
Beijing, May 18 (Xinhua-ANI): At least nine people were killed and more than 55 others wounded Friday evening when two back-to-back explosions rocked Kandahar city, capital of the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a provincial government spokesman said.
Washington, May 18 (ANI): A Microsoft security expert said that computer viruses are on a rise worldwide once again after years of being less popular amongst computer attackers.
Moscow, May 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Moscow is counting on the UN to develop proposals regarding the international presence in Afghanistan after 2014, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
Kabul, May 18 (IANS) At least nine people were killed and over 55 injured Friday evening when two blasts rocked Afghanistan's Kandahar city, a government official said.
Jalandhar, May 17 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee will confer the first honoris causa degree of the Lovely Professional University (LPU) to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the varsity's convocation to be held in this Punjab city Monday (May 20), a varsity official said.
New Delhi, May 17 (ANI): Afghanistan's Ambassador to India Shaida M. Abdali has said his copuntry is keen on creating a tripartite mechanism with India and Pakistan that would enhance cooperation between the three nations in the short and long term.
London, May 17 (ANI): Boston marathon bombings suspect wrote a message in a boat where he hid after the blasts, describing victims of the attack as 'collateral damage'.
Washington, May 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote a message on the wall of the boat in which he was captured, claiming responsibility for the April 15 bomb attack, CBS News reported.
Moscow, May 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia will deliver 12 Mil Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters to the Afghanistan Armed Forces by the end of 2013, Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said.
Moscow, May 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The detention of an alleged CIA agent in Moscow by Russian counter-intelligence will not threaten relations between Russia and the US, "the world's two largest nuclear superpowers", a Russian senator said.
Tehran, May 15 (IANS) Iranian police seized 7.5 tons of narcotics in Saravan city in the past two months, Fars news agency reported Wednesday.
Kabul, May 15 (IANS) A total of 35 Taliban militants have been killed and 30 wounded during security operations launched across Afghanistan since Tuesday, the Afghan interior ministry said Wednesday.
Kabul, May 15 (IANS) At least six suspected pro-Taliban rebels were killed and five others detained in military operations by NATO-led forces in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said Wednesday.
The fledgling democratic process in Pakistan has churned out a leader, who now has the rare opportunity to chart a new positive and peaceful course, not only for his own country but for the whole South Asia region, and leave a legacy that, so far, no other Pakistani leader has.
Kabul, May 12 (IANS) A district prosecutor in Afghanistan was killed in a bomb blast Sunday in the southern province of Helmand, a government spokesman said.
Hyderabad, May 11 (IANS) Iran is looking for more business with India in non-oil sectors to boost the bilateral trade, said its Consul General Hassan Noorian who sees great potential for cooperation in various non-oil fields like pharma, IT, electronics, automobile spare parts and food processing.
India is keenly watching the evolving political situation in Pakistan as it readies to vote Saturday in pivotal national and provincial elections whose outcome has serious implications for its national security, economy, national integration and regional peace.
London, May 10 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that the government could allow the US to keep nine bases in the country after most NATO forces withdraw next year, but added that he had demanded security and economic guarantees from the US in return.
Today, we're going to answer the much-asked question: How can adults communicate with young people? The answer is: They can't. So we'll move right along to another question of global importance, received from a reader named Suchin: "My dad said he once ate a curry so hot it burned through his body and set his chair on fire. Could this really happen?"
Kabul, May 9 (IANS) The US can establish military bases in Afghanistan after inking a security agreement but Kabul's "precondition" for the deal is to ensure durable peace in the war-torn country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday.
Beijing, May 9 (Xinhua-ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday put pre-conditions for inking the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States, saying one of conditions is to ensure durable peace in the militancy-plagued country.
London, May 9 (ANI): Nawaz Sharif, who is tipped to be Pakistan's next prime minister, has said he would end the country's involvement in the US-led war on terror if elected.
Washington, May 9 (ANI): A new English-language magazine published online apparently by Islamist militants, has represented US President Barack Obama with a bull's-eye on his head.
Kabul, May 9 (IANS) Eight suspected Taliban militants were killed and 10 injured as protesters and police clashed in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, an official said.
Kabul, May 9 (IANS/WAM) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Afghanistan have held discussions over bilateral relations, issues of mutual interest and explored ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Days after his meeting with External Affairs Minister SalmanKhurshid in the Kazakh capital Almaty, US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns arrives in New Delhi this week to hold talks on a host of issues, including Afghanistan and expanding civil nuclear cooperation with India.
Kabul, May 8 (IANS) Afghan authorities should investigate the arrests and possible torture of peaceful protesters by security forces in Kabul, Human Rights Watch said.
Washington, May 7 (ANI): Madonna has decided to auction a painting by French cubist artist Fernand Leger for charity and is expecting to raise at least 5 million dollars.
Islamabad, May 7 (ANI): Pakistan has said Durand-line was a settled issue and opening discussions on it was a distraction from Afghanistan.
New Delhi, May 7 (ANI): Pakistan is standing on the threshold of a historic transition. The process started with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)-led government completing its full term and paving the way for a smooth general election by handing over power to a caretaker government, and then, entering the electoral fray like any other party.
Islamabad, May 7 (ANI): A new magazine set up by militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan has appealed to Muslims around the world to come up with a new technology to hack or manipulate drones.
Islamabad, May 6 (IANS) At least 15 people were killed and around 50 others injured on Monday afternoon in a bomb blast that targeted a political gathering in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region of Kurram Agency, reported Xinhua citing local officials.
Kabul, May 6 (Xinhua-ANI): The recent issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the border could be solved via regular meetings of tripartite commission of Afghanistan, Pakistan and ISAF, an ISAF spokesman said on Monday.
Islamabad, May 6 (Xinhua-ANI): Pakistan on Monday defended construction of security posts along its border with Afghanistan after Afghan officials reported fresh clashes between the border troops of the two countries.
Kabul, May 5 (IANS) The Taliban-linked militancy and violent incidents claimed lives of nine soldeisr of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Saturday, turning the day the bloodiest one since this January for the alliance in the conflict-ridden country, ISAF confirmed in a statement.
Washington, May 5 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he has received assurances from the US Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Kabul that it will continue delivering cash to his offices.
Tehran, May 4 (IANS) India and Iran Friday discussed the developing situation in Afghanistan and agreed to remain in regular contact.
Kabul, May 4 (IANS) Five NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers were killed Saturday in Afghanistan's Kandahar province when a roadside bomb struck a military vehicle Saturday, a government official and the coalition force confirmed.
Tehran, May 4 (IANS) Iran Saturday proposed to India joint investments and a production sharing contract for oil exploration as the two countries agreed to expand cooperation in the transport - especially cargo transit from Chabahar port to Afghanistan and energy sectors and building the North-South corridor linking Russia.
Tehran, May 4 (ANI): India and Iran has expressed deep concern over the continuing and unabated violence in Syria and called upon all sides to abjure violence and resolve all issues peacefully through discussions taking into account the aspirations of people of Syria.
Islamabad, May 4 (IANS) Afghan cueist Saleh Muhammad lifted his first amateur Asian trophy as he won the 29th Asian Snooker Championship in Pakistan's port city of Karachi.
Islamabad, May 4 (ANI): US Secretary of State John Kerry has named veteran diplomat James Dobbins as the new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Beijing, May 4 (Xinhua-ANI): Pakistan has welcomed the appointment of new U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan and hoped that the appointment would help joint efforts to establish peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Washington, May 3 (ANI): Two years after the killing of former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the terror network has become so decentralized that its affiliates in Yemen and elsewhere now pose a greater direct threat to the US.
Peshawar, May 3 (ANI): The border crossing with Afghanistan in Khyber tribal region will stay closed for three days before the May 11 general elections, an official communique has said.
New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is paying a three-day visit to Iran from Friday, during which development of the Chabahar port that would provide India a vital link to transport its goods to Afghanistan is to figure prominently.
London, May 2 (IANS) Former England skipper Mike Gatting has been appointed the next president of the historic Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He will take office Oct 1, 2013.
Stockholm, May 2 (IANS) Swaying, trancing, dervishing to the mantras beat on several score drums, thousands of demonstrators snaked through the wide arteries of the Swedish capital on May Day with one single demand: Let Stockholm be free of discrimination!
Rawalpindi, May. 2 (ANI): A five-member US Congressional delegation, led by Senator Joe Donnelly, has commended Pakistan's efforts, role and support in the war against terrorism.
New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is visiting Tehran on Friday for talks with his Iranian counterpart during which the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project and development of the Chabahar port that would become a gateway to Central Asia are likely to figure.
Kabul, May 1 (IANS) Three NATO soldiers were killed Tuesday in a blast in restive southern Afghanistan, the military alliance said in a statement.
Kabul, Apr. 30 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the Central Intelligence Agency has been dropping off bags of cash at his office for a decade, and saying that the money was used for "various purposes".
Kabul, Apr. 30 (Xinhua-ANI): A cargo plane crash which took place on Monday in Bagram district in eastern Afghanistan has claimed the lives of all seven people aboard, a provincial source said Tuesday.
Tehran, April 30 (IANS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that his country can replace its oil revenues with mineral incomes within a few months.
Tehran, April 30 (IANS) Iran has accused the US of having a "politicised and double-standard approach" over the issue of human rights.
Kabul, Apr. 29 (ANI): The Central Intelligence Agency has been dropping US dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, plastic shopping bags every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan's president for more than a decade.
Karachi, Apr. 29 (ANI): Pakistan should allay Europe's fear of terrorism, and human and drug trafficking emerging from Afghanistan and Pakistan, by effectively dealing the problems of extremism and terrorism emerging from this region, according to a diplomat.
Mumbai, April 28 (IANS) A 27-year-old engineering and management graduate from Mumbai, Hamid Ansari, who went to Afghanistan in November to find a job, has gone missing in Pakistan.
New York, Apr. 28 (ANI): The Taliban have announced they will launch their spring offensive, signaling plans to step up attacks as the weather warms across Afghanistan, making both travel and fighting easier.
Almaty (Kazakhstan), Apr. 26 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here that there could be a coalition government in Pakistan, but it was too early to come to any conclusion.
Almaty (Kazakhstan), April 26 (IANS) India said Friday it wants to see Afghanistan as a "possible driver of economic growth in the region" and warned that the "greatest challenge" posed to Afghanistan is the "persistent threat of terrorism that emanates from beyond its borders", a clear reference to the Taliban and other extremists operating from Pakistan.
London, Apr. 26 (ANI): Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots operated drone missions over Afghanistan from British soil from the first time.
Sydney, Apr. 26 (Xinhua-ANI): Australia will deploy a guided- missile frigate, HMAS Sydney, to join the U.S. 7th Fleet in Japan at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea, according to The Australian on Friday.
Almaty (Kazakhstan), April 26 (ANI): Describing Afghanistan as a traditional friend and a partner of India, visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said New Delhi views Kabul as a possible driver of Asia's economic growth in the future, besides accepting it as a strategically important neighbor with whom there are historical, cultural and economic ties that go back to the dawn of history.
London, Apr.26 (ANI): Microsoft founder and a business magnate, Bill Gates has pledged to donate 1.8 billion dollars for the cause of eradicating all polio types.
Kabul, April 26 (IANS) Thirty people were killed and 10 injured when a passenger bus collided with a truck in Afghanistan's Kandahar province Friday, an official said.
Washington, April 26 (ANI): Prince Harry, who will become an uncle after the birth of Prince William and Kate's first child- due in July, got some hands-on training in the art of the diaper change on Thursday.
London, Apr. 26 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered to halt the broadcast of 'un-Islamic' films and serials from television shows running in the country.
Abu Dhabi, April 26 (IANS/EFE) Billionaires Bill Gates and Carlos Slim said that they planned to join forces to eradicate polio in six years.
New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday arrived in the Kazakhstan capital of Almaty for the April 26 Heart of Asia ministerial conference on the Istanbul Process on regional security and cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan.
Kabul, April 25 (ANI): The Government of Afghanistan should take immediate action to ensure that the country's female police officers have access to separate, safe, and lockable restroom facilities in police stations, Human Rights Watch said today.
Kabul, April 25 (ANI): Over two dozen people have been killed in flash floods and earthquake in different provinces of Afghanistan during the past two days.
Melbourne, April 25 (ANI): Prince Harry will reportedly join the Australian army for a six-month stint.