Afghanistan, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked multi-ethnic country located in the heart of south-central Asia. The country lies along significant trade routes linking southern and eastern Asia to Europe and the Middle East. Take a look below for 30 interesting and amazing facts about Afghanistan.
1. It’s estimated that Afghanistan was first inhabited by humans at least 50,000 years ago.
2. In 642 CE in Herat and Zarang, Arab Muslims spread the religion of Islam in Afghanistan.
3. Before the introduction of Islam, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism were the dominant religions of Afghanistan.
4. Ahmad Shah Durrani was the founder of the last Afghan empire, crowned in 1747. He united the country into one kingdom.
5. His son, Timur Shah succeeded him, after his death in 1772.
6. In 1776, Timur Shah relocated the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul.
7. On the 19th of August, 1919, Afghanistan became an independent country (from Britain), which is celebrated as a national holiday.
8. The Afghanistan 1992 to 1996 civil war left at least 50,000 victims.
9. For nearly 5 years, the Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan ruled the country between 1996 and 2001.
10. Elected in 2004, the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan was Hamid Karzai.
11. After the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States in 2001 that was supposedly carried out by the Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda forces, a U.S and U.K coalition launched a military attack on the major cities of Afghanistan including Kabul, against the Taliban regime.
12. The name Afghanistan means quite literally, “the land of Afghans”.
13. Follow the coordinates 34.5333° N, 69.1333° if you want to explore the amazing cultural and historical sites that Afghanistan has to offer. The terrain is mostly dominated by rugged mountains, whilst the north and southwest of the country also feature flat plains.
14. Afghanistan is a landlocked country bordered by Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, India, and China.
15. Afghanistan’s population was 37.17 million in 2018, as a comparison that’s about half the UK population! Afghanistan is the 37th most densely inhabited country in the world. Afghanistan is inhabited by – 80% Sunni Muslims, 19% Shia Muslim and 1% others.
16. The total land area of Afghanistan is 251,773 square miles (652,090 square kilometres), twice the size of the UK. Afghanistan’s location on the Silk Road route gave the country many economic and cultural advantages.
17. Kabul is the largest city as well as the capital of Afghanistan. It stretches on an area of 106 square miles (275 square kilometres) and had a population of 4,114 in 2019.
18. The residents of Afghanistan are known as Afghans and their currency is Afghanis. Often people get puzzled with the terms!
19. Noshaq is the highest point in Afghanistan with a high of 7,492 meters or 24,580 ft.
20. The longest river in Afghanistan is Helmand.
21. Afghans experience an arid to semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters.
22. Afghanistan has two official languages – Pashto and Dari. Around 35% of the population speak Pashto while 50% speak Dari. In fact, thirty other minor languages are also spoken in Afghanistan.
23. Most of the shops and businesses here are closed on every Friday, the Islamic holy day.
24. The legal, political, economic, and personal lives of the Afghans are ruled by Islamic laws.
25. Fasting and praying during the month of Ramadan is a mandatory act except for those who are sick, traveling, or having some other issues.
26. Family is an important feature of Afghanistan’s culture. Men are responsible to earn and provide for the family, while women are expected to stay home and serve the family. In modern Afghanistan, some women work for a living!
27. Interestingly, in Afghanistan’s culture, besides handshakes, some people place their hand on their heart and nod slightly to show respect and approval to the other party.
28. Meals are generally served on the floor, on clothes made from various materials. It’s generally shared from the same dish unless required otherwise.
29. In Afghanistan divorce is rare and is not well accepted in society.
30. Also, many of the marriages are consummated between cousins.