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
Kabul, April 22 (IANS) At least four militants were killed and eight others were detained Tuesday as security forces stormed Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan, the country's interior ministry said.
Los Angeles, April 21 (IANS) Director Clint Eastwood broke down in tears when he listened to the stories of war veterans while interviewing for minor roles in his new movie "American Sniper".
Kabul, April 20 (IANS) Up to six Taliban insurgents were killed Saturday in a blast in Afghan province of Ghazni, police said.
Kabul, April 19 (IANS) Six Taliban insurgents were killed Saturday in a blast in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, police said.
Kabul, April 18 (IANS) Taliban militants attacked a prison with rockets in Afghanistan's northern Faryab province and set free four inmates, police said Friday.
Islamabad, April 17 (IANS) Pakistan Thursday urged the Afghanistan government and the NATO to put in place strong measures for better management of Pakistan-Afghanistan border to check illegal cross-border movement.
Kabul, April 17 (IANS) At least 18 Taliban insurgents were killed and seven injured in Afghan army operations, the defence ministry said Thursday.
Los Angeles, April 15 (IANS) Actor Brad Pitt is set to star as General Stanley McChrystal, former commanding general of international and US forces in Afghanistan, in "The Operators".
Kabul, April 14 (IANS) At least two civilians were killed and eight others injured Monday in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan, a police official said.
Kabul, April 14 (IANS) At least nine people were killed and three injured in separate attacks in Afghanistan, an official said Monday.
When, in mid-1945, the allied armies advancing across Western Europe were ordered to halt to enable the marauding Soviet forces perform the final denouement of the Second World War by capturing Berlin, it sowed the seeds of the Cold War that lasted almost half-a-century and whose present-day ramifications are there for all to see.
Kabul, April 13 (IANS) At least four people died and scores of houses destroyed as a landslide hit two villages in Afghanistan's Takhar province Saturday, a government official said.
Kabul, April 10 (IANS) At least five Taliban militants were killed and eight injured during a clash in Afghanistan, an official said Thursday.
United Nations, April 9 (IANS) The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Tuesday urged candidates in the Asian country's presidential elections and their supporters to respect the two national electoral institutions as vote counting continues.
Kabul, April 8 (IANS) At least 16 people were killed and 20 others injured Tuesday when two buses collided in Afghanistan, sources said.
Kabul, April 7 (IANS) Up to 13 civilians were killed while five others were wounded Monday evening when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a police spokesman said.
Moscow, April 7 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his country Monday to ratchet up a fight against terrorism and extremism, saying radicals still had the chance of endangering civilians.
Kabul, April 7 (IANS) At least four policemen were killed and three others injured Monday when their van was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan, a police source said.
London, April 7 (ANI): Prince Harry's marriage plans with girlfriend Cressida Bonas have been put on hold amid rumors that he may be called back to serve in Afghanistan due to shortage of Apache pilots.
Islamabad, April 6 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Sunday congratulated Afghanistan over the successful conduct of presidential elections.
New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) India Saturday saluted the people of Afghanistan and its security forces for the huge turnout in the presidential elections, terming it a "resounding rejection" by people "of the designs and ideology of terrorists and their supporters".
Kabul, April 5 (IANS) Voting in Afghanistan's presidential and provincial council elections concluded Saturday and counting of ballots has begun, a senior election official of the country said.
Kabul, April 5 (IANS) A total of 959 polling stations, including 211 new ones, were kept shut during the presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan Saturday for security reasons.
Kabul, April 5 (IANS) At least three people were injured Saturday in a blast at a polling centre in Afghanistan's Logar province, the district governor said.
New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) All the candidates fighting the Afghan presidential polls are "close friends of India" and New Delhi will continue to provide assistance to the Afghan security forces as required, S.K. Lambah, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, said on Friday.
Kabul, April 4 (IANS) Afghanistan has its date with history Saturday when it will go for presidential and provincial council elections under the shadow of threats from the Taliban who have vowed to disrupt the poll process.
Islamabad, April 4 (IANS) The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been closed Friday ahead of the presidential and provincial councils elections in Afghanistan, an official said.
Kabul, April 4 (IANS) A foreign woman journalist was killed In Afghanistan and another was injured after being fired at by an Afghan police officer Friday.
Kabul, April 4 (IANS) The Afghanistan government has beefed up security ahead of Saturday's presidential and provincial councils elections.
Kabul, April 3 (IANS/WAM) A senior UN official Thursday urged Afghans to use the presidential and provincial council elections two days hence to shape the future of the country through peaceful, democratic means.
Islamabad, April 3 (IANS) The Pakistan government Thursday denied reports that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners have been released in an effort to revive the peace talks.
Kabul, April 3 (IANS) At least 16 Taliban militants were killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan Thursday, authorities said.
Afghanistan will go to polls April 5 to bring about the first democratic transition of power in the South Asian nation's history -- a transition accentuated by the fact that, after more than a decade, international forces will withdraw by the end of this year, the highly visible multi-sectoral international presence will reduce and taking the nation through this change will be a new president.
Kabul, April 2 (IANS) At least six policemen were killed Wednesday in a suicide bomb attack at the country's interior ministry office, the ministry confirmed in a statement.
Kabul, April 2 (IANS) Taliban militants killed a kidnapped provincial council polls candidate and eight civilians in the country's northern province of Sari Pul overnight, officials said Wednesday.
Kabul, April 1 (IANS) At least 23 militants were killed and nine others injured Tuesday in two separate incidents in Afghanistan -- both involving accidental explosions of suicide vests, police said.
Kabul, April 1 (IANS) Six Taliban leaders and a suicide bomber were killed in a blast in Afghanistan Tuesday, an official said.
Islamabad, April 1 (IANS) Pakistan Monday dismissed allegations that the country was behind recent attacks in Kabul ahead of the April 5 Afghan presidential elections.
Islamabad, March 31 (IANS) The US Monday said it had under consideration a Pakistani request for American defence equipment worth some $7 billion that shall be rendered surplus once US troops withdraw from Afghanistan this year-end.
Islamabad, Mar. 31 (ANI): The United States has said it is not planning to hand over surplus armoured vehicles and other military equipment to Pakistan.
Kabul, March 31 (IANS) At least two people were killed and five injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Afghanistan Monday, an official said.
Kabul, March 31 (IANS) A provincial council polls contender and nine of his supporters have been kidnapped in Afghanistan, sources said Monday.
Islamabad, Mar. 31 (ANI): Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of being behind a recent series of attacks in the country.
Kabul, March 30 (IANS) At least eight people were killed when security forces raided a militant hideout in Afghanistan Sunday, an official said.
Kabul, March 30 (IANS) At least two people were killed and five others injured in a suicide attack in Afghanistan's Zabul province Sunday.
Islamabad, Mar. 30 (ANI): Pakistan is keen on maintaining its economic relations with India and Afghanistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.
New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) With the aim of promoting hockey across the world, Hockey India (HI) took a strategic decision Saturday to provide aid to Afghanistan Hockey Federation.
New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) India should remain vigilant against polio and take all precautions to ensure that there is no recurrence of the dreadful disease in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee said Saturday.
New Delhi, Mar. 29 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday inaugurated the Rotary International's Polio-Free Conclave-2014 at Vigyan Bhavan.
Kabul, March 29 (IANS) Three soldiers were killed in blasts in Afghanistan, the country's defence ministry said Saturday.
Washington, Mar.28 (ANI): Shia LaBeouf has reportedly exited from Barry Levinson directed all-star comedy 'Rock the Kasbah.'
Peshawar, Mar. 27 (ANI): The first round of direct peace talks between the government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership has concluded.
Geneva, Mar.26 (ANI): A new website, 'Votes Count', will shed much needed light on how member countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) respond to serious violations of human rights across the globe, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
Kabul, March 25 (IANS) Five civilians were killed and 20 others wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a crowd Tuesday at a sports ground in northern Afghan province of Kunduz, police said.
Kabul, March 25 (IANS) At least four militants and a policeman were killed Tuesday when armed rebels stormed a local bank in Asadabad, the provincial capital of eastern Afghan province of Kunar, leading to a gunfight, a security official said.
Kabul, March 24 (IANS) Iran, Afghanistan and India are going to sign a cooperation agreement in the near future which will link Afghanistan with India through the Chabahar port in southern Iran, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman said.
Kabul, March 24 (IANS) Two policemen and a rebel were killed when Taliban militants ambushed a police patrol in southern Afghan province of Helmand, sources said Monday.
Kabul, March 24 (IANS) Four militants were killed and another was injured when security forces stormed Taliban hideouts in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, the provincial government said in a statement sent to media Monday.
Washington, March 24 (ANI): Criticizing Obama administration's surveillance efforts, former US President Jimmy Carter reportedly said that the country's use of drones has been "abused".
Johannesburg, March 24 (ANI): Afghanistan's spy agency has reportedly alleged that the attack on a Kabul hotel last week was the handiwork of a foreign intelligence service, and not of the Taliban or the Haqqani network.
Johannesburg, Mar 22 (ANI): The Netherlands have sailed into the Super-10 stage of the World Twenty20 tournament on Friday in Sylhet after beating Ireland by six wickets in a match, which broke the record for most sixes in T20 international innings.
United Nations, March 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday condemned "in the strongest terms" the deadly attacks that left over 50 civilians killed in Afghanistan this week.
Riyadh, March 21 (IANS) A criminal court in Saudi Arabia sentenced 15 persons for terms ranging from 11 months to 16 years in prison for supporting terrorism and terror organisations and propagating "takfiri" (hardline) ideology.
Johannesburg, Mar 21 (ANI): Newcomers Nepal have recorded their second win in the World Twenty20 tournament by defeating a higher ranked and more experienced Afghanistan by nine runs in Sylhet on Thursday.
Kathmandu, March 20 (IANS) Thousands of Nepali cricket fans here burst into frenzied celebrations after a thrilling T20 World Cup win against Afghanistan Thursday.
Kabul, March 20 (IANS) The Afghanistan interior ministry has accused foreign intelligence of organising the attack on the eastern Jalalabad city Thursday, which left 18 people, including 10 police personnel dead, and 15 others wounded.
Kabul, March 20 (IANS) At least 18 people, including seven militants, were killed and 16 others injured Thursday in a Taliban-coordinated car bombing and shooting attack on a police station in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, a senior official said.
Islamabad, Mar. 20 (ANI): Top Pakistani intelligence officials have rejected claims that the ISI ran a special desk to handle former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Kabul, March 20 (IANS) At least eight people, including five militants, were killed and 16 injured Thursday in a Taliban coordinated car bombing and shooting attack on a police station in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, the interior ministry said.
Kabul, March 20 (IANS) At least six people were killed and 20 injured Thursday morning in a Taliban coordinated car bombing and shooting attack on a police station in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, an official said.
Houston, March 19 (IANS) Brazil has secured a $7.2 million deal with iRobot, a US-based company that makes defence and security robots for the American military, who will create 30 new robots tasked with protecting and monitoring 12 cities during this year's football World Cup.
Kabul, March 19 (IANS) Two people were killed and 10 others injured when a bicycle bomb exploded in the Afghan city of Ghazni Wednesday, an official said.
Kabul, March 19 (IANS) Afghan forces have killed key Taliban commander Mullah Shirin Agha and four others, police said Wednesday.
Johannesburg, Mar 19 (ANI): Hong Kong has been sent out packing from the ICC World Twenty20 tournament following a sloppy performance against Afghanistan which led to a seven-wicket defeat for the newcomers in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Johannesburg, Mar 19 (ANI): Hosts Bangladesh has defeated newcomers Nepal by eight wickets in a clinical performance in their World Twenty20 clash in Chittagong on Tuesday.
United Nations, March 19 (IANS) The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned a deadly suicide attack that killed 17 and injured four dozens in the country's northwest city of Maimana Tuesday, a UN spokesperson said.
Kabul, March 18 (IANS) A key Taliban commander in Afghanistan has surrendered and joined the government-backed peace process, a provincial police chief said Tuesday.
Kabul, March 18 (IANS) At least 15 people were killed and 20 others injured in a suicide bomb attack Tuesday in Afghanistan, police said.
Kabul, March 18 (IANS) At least eight people were killed and tens of others injured in a suicide bomb attack Tuesday in Afghanistan, police said.
United Nations, March 18 (IANS) The UN Security Council Monday renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year to provide support to the country's upcoming presidential and provincial elections.
Washington, March 17 (ANI): Pakistan reportedly has its eyes on US military's 7 billion dollars worth of armored vehicles and equipment in Afghanistan, which the latter plans on discarding once the war comes to an end.
Sydney, Mar. 17 (ANI): As the search for the missing Malaysia Airline passenger jet enters its 10th day, it has been reportedly suggested that the plane dropped to very low altitudes of 5000 feet using a dangerous flying technique called 'terrain masking' to avoid radar in at least three countries.
Kabul, March 16 (IANS) Former Afghan defence minister and presidential hopeful Abdul Rahim Wardak withdrew Sunday from the Afghan presidential race leaving nine hopefuls in the contest.
Kabul, Mar. 16 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of attacking Taliban leaders who want to join the peace process.
Kabul, March 16 (IANS) Taliban threats and violence against campaign workers and election officials risk undermining Afghanistan's presidential election slated for April 5, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.
Sydney, Mar 16 (ANI): Australia has finally started to get serious in its bid to win their first-ever World Twenty20 title even as the tournament prepares to start off with a bang with hosts Bangladesh taking on Afghanistan in the first game in Dhaka on Sunday, according to a report.
Johannesburg, Mar. 16 (ANI): Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the country does not need US troops.
Sydney, Mar 16 (ANI): An online betting forum has tipped India and Sri Lanka at odds of six dollars to win the World Twenty20, while Australia is tipped even lower at odds of 4.25 dollars for claiming their first Twenty20 title.
Kabul, March 15 (IANS) Afghan President Hamid Karzai Saturday assured the people of a free and fair presidential election on April 5, saying the security forces were entirely ready for the polls.
Johannesburg, Mar 15 (ANI): Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal has reportedly been absolved of all charges in a traffic violation case after the concerned police officer forgave him, saying that the player is a 'national hero'.
Colombo, Mar 14 (ANI): Former Sri Lankan cricketer-turned TV commentator Russel Arnold has tagged New Zealand and Sri Lanka as his favourites to win the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Kabul, March 13 (IANS) A would-be-suicide bomber was shot dead close to the Indian consulate building in Afghanistan's Kandahar city Thursday, the police said.
Washington, Mar. 13 (ANI): Afghanistan would deteriorate quickly if the U.S. withdraws completely by the end of 2014, a senior American commander has warned.
Kabul, March 13 (IANS) The Canadian forces Wednesday ended their military operation in the post-Taliban Afghanistan, the NATO-led coalition forces said.
New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Foreign Correspondents` Club of South Asia Wednesday mourned the death Nils Orner, Swiss Radio's South Asia war correspondent, while he was on assignment in Kabul.
Kabul, March 12 (IANS) Three suicide bombers were killed in an attack on a base of the Afghan intelligence agency in Kandahar province on Wednesday, police said.
Kabul, March 12 (IANS) Two of three suicide bombers were killed when they attacked a base of Afghan intelligence agency in Afghanistan's Kandahar province Wednesday, a police said.
New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari Tuesday headed the Indian delegation at the funeral of Afghanistan's first vice president Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim in Kabul and also met Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Kabul, March 11 (IANS) A roadside bomb planted by militants struck a vehicle, killing three polio vaccinators in Afghanistan Tuesday, an official said.
Kabul, March 11 (IANS) The state funeral service for Afghanistan's first vice president Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died Sunday, was held amid tight security in the Presidential Palace here Tuesday.