Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bagram Media Center   
Wednesday, 25 June 2008

General Information 

Afghanistan is comprised of 34 provinces with a population of approximately 27 million.  98 percent of the country are Muslims (80 percent Sunni and 20 percent Shiite), and the other two percent are Hindus, Zoroastrians, and Jews.  Major languages are Dari and Pashto with a small percentage of Tajiki and Uzbeki.  Major ethnic groups are: Pashtuns-40 percent, Tajiks – 25 percent, Hazara – 18 percent, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmen and others 17 percent.

The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul.  Major cities in the south which border Pakistan are Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, and in the east are Paktika, Khost, Paktya, Nangarhar, Kunar, and Nuristan;  to the north bordering Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are Badakshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan, Balkh, Jozjon, Faryab and Badghis; in the west to Iran are Herat and Farah.

Afhganistan’s hand-woven rugs are world renowned.  Some of the best Lapis lazuli, Emerald, and Ruby come from the Northern areas.   Dried nuts and fruits, pomegranates, and grapes are among the export products.


A Brief History of Afghanistan:

Although Afghanistan is an extremely impoverished country but it is a tapestry of rich culture, history, and ethnicities.  Many colorful threads of diverse ethnicities are apparent in this ancient historical land.

The geographic location of Afghanistan is in the heart of Asia, but, sometimes it is ascribed to be in South Asia or even in the Middle East because of its cultural and ethno-linguistic links with its neighbors.  The large borders to Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and much smaller eastern border to China have made Afghanistan the trade route and the crossroads of Asia and the Middle East.

Throughout the history, from the ancient times to today, Afghanistan has seen many invading military forces come and go including Indo-Iranians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Russians, Americans, and NATO forces.
 
In 1978, the Republic of Afghanistan government was established.  In 1978, the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took over the government by a military coup.  The opposition of the communist party organized an anti-government Mujahideen resistance.  In the meantime, as part of the Cold War strategy, the National Security Advisor, Brzezinski, started to fund and to strengthen the Mujahideen through the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan.  The Mujahideen movement was a symbol of discontentment of Muslims against the atheist government that followed Marxism.  By December 1979, the Soviet Union invasion took place resulting in over five million Afghans leaving their country and becoming refugees to Pakistan, Iran and other countries.  After losing 15,000 troops and the harsh economic impacts of a 10-year war, the Soviet Union withdrew its troops completely in 1989.

The Mujahideen governed Afghanistan from 1989 to 1994 when a civil war erupted due to friction between political parties.  The rise of the Taliban to govern Afghanistan occurred in 1996. 

By the end of 2000, the Taliban controlled over 95 percent of the country and imposed the fundamentalist and strict Islamic Sharia law.  On September 9, 2001 two Al-Qaeda terrorists posed as reporters and assassinated the Northern Alliance leader and the great Mujahid, Ahmad Shah Massoud.  In 2001, the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

Press Releases

Unmanned aerial vehicle crashes in Paktika

Sunday, 26 April 2009

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (April 26, 2009) – An unmanned aerial vehicle crashed shortly after take-off today in Paktika province. The drone experienced mechanical...
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Helicopter makes emergency landing

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (April 22, 2009) – A Coalition helicopter conducted an emergency landing due a mechanical failure in the Tirzaye District of Khowst province...
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Media Advisory: Photos of earthquake damage in Sherzad District, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Aerial imagery of aftermath of earthquake - Photos courtesy U.S. Army  Attached are photos of earthquake damage in the Sherzad District, Nangarhar...
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14 detainees released via Afghan reconciliation program

Friday, 17 April 2009

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (April 16, 2009) – Fourteen detainees held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility were transferred to the Government of the Islamic...
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Several militants killed in failed attacks

Monday, 13 April 2009

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 13, 2009) – Eight militants were killed April 11 in two unrelated incidents in Warak and Logar provinces. In the first incident,...
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