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Afghanistan

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Independence / Republic Days
Independence from the United Kingdom
- August 19, 1919

Capital
Kabul

Current Time in Kabul

Weather

Click here

Calling code
+93

Currency
Afghani (AFN)

Geographic Coordinates
34anddeg;32'N 69anddeg;08'E

Official languages
Dari (Persian)
Pashto

Location
Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran

Geographic coordinates
33 00 N, 65 00 E

Area
total: 652,230 sq km
country comparison to the world: 41
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Coastline
0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims
none (landlocked)

Elevation extremes
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Noshak 7,485 m

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, but Dari functions as the lingua franca
note: the Turkic languages Uzbek and Turkmen, as well as Balochi, Pashai, Nuristani, and Pamiri are the third official languages in areas where the majority speaks them

National Anthem lyrics/music
Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA
note: adopted 2006; the 2004 constitution of the post-Taliban government mandated that a new national anthem should be written containing the phrase andquot;Allahu Akbarandquot; (God is Great) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan's ethnic groups

Budget
revenues: $2.333 billion
expenditures: $4.122 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues
11.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206

The New Year in Afghanistan, called Nawroz, is celebrated on 21 March which is the first day of spring.
The largest city in Afghanistan is Kabul, the capital.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country sharing borders with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China.

Poetry is a big part of Afghans' culture and it has been for centuries. In the city of Herat, women, men and children gather on Thursday night to share verses from old and new poetry.
The people of Afghanistan are called Afghans and not Afghanis which is the currency. A common mistake that happens among people.

The official language of Afghanistan is Dari and Pashto. They speak several other languages as well such as Persian, Uzbek and Turkmen to name a few.

Afghanistan's main source of income comes from agriculture. They produce large amounts of crops that are enough to provide for the people and export as well. They plant vegetables, fruits, rice and nuts.

Afghanistan is also rich in natural resources with the main ones being natural gas and oil.

Afghanistan's national game is called Buzkashi, or in other words, goat-grabbing. It's a sport where the players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding on a horse. It has been played for centuries and it even got sponsors for it nowadays.

You Would be Sure to Receive a Very Warm Welcome!
Afghan people pride themselves on their unique style of hospitality and it is seen as a key element of their culture. Local people extending their hospitality to guests is seen as a religious obligation. Not even US soldiers could prevent them from being the perfect hosts!

There Many Different Ethnic Groups , or ‘Tribes’ which all Contribute to the Country’s Unique Cultural Make Up
Afghanistan as a country is a magnet for ethnic diversity. Since its central role in the ancient ‘Silk Route’, which saw silk traders travel from China to the Western World to sell Silk, the nation has adopted a nomadic trait. There are at least fourteen different ethnic groups, or tribes as they are often called, in Afghanistan: The Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Aimaq, Turkmen, Balock, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui and Pamiri people.

3. At Least Fourteen of These ‘Tribes’ are Mentioned in the Country’s National Anthem
In 2006 a newly written national anthem was adopted by the Afghan Government. Article 20 of the Afghan Constitution ensured that the new national anthem would be centered around the term ‘God is the Greatest’ and that various Afghan tribes were mentioned. In total fourteen Afghan tribes are mentioned in the current national anthem.

4. In Recent Years The Country Has Renewed It’s Passion For Sport
Under Taliban political rule many sports, including cricket, were completely banned and women were not allowed to compete in any sports or join sports clubs. However, in more recent years, under more liberal regimes, sport has flourished in the country. Highlights have included a historic first victory in the Asian Football Federation Championship, and the Afghan national cricket team qualifying for the 2015 World Cup. The number of women taking part in sport in the country has also rocketed in the past 5 years, with women’s cricket teams in particular becoming incredibly popular.

5. Afghans Would like their National Sport of ‘Goat-Grabbing’ to become an Olympic Sport
Afghanistan’s national sport ’Buzkashi’, or ‘Goat-Grabbing’ as it is also known, is considered to be one of the most hectic and dangerous sports in the world. The game involves riders on horseback competing to capture a goat carcass, with the object of the game being to carry it over to the opposition’s area which is marked by a chalk drawn circle. The game, which is mostly played in northern parts of the country, has been mentioned at Olympic Committees in the past, and has been financed by Afghan Airlines and Business owners, but there are no signs that this national sport will be heading to the Olympic Games anytime soon!

6. It Does Actually Snow in Afghanistan….. a lot
It is a common misconception that Afghanistan is a country made up fully of dry barren landscapes and endless desserts. In reality the weather in the winter months can be pretty brutal! Between December and February snow is fairly common, especially in the north of the country, creating beautiful snowy landscapes one might associate with a scene from Star Wars!

7. Afghanistan Celebrates New Year in March
Afghanistan does not celebrate new year on the 31st December, as is traditional in the Western World. Instead they wait until the 21st March and celebrate the pre-Islamic festival known as ‘Nowraz’. This festival involves thousands of Afghans traveling to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of the country, where local men raise the ‘Janda’, a large Islamic banner. If the Janda is lifted easily in one motion, this is seen as a good omen for the start of the new year.

8. Afghanistan Celebrates its Independence on the 19th August Every Year


Although never actually part of the British Empire, Afghanistan fought three wars against the British prior to 1919, which eventually led to the Anglo-Afghan treaty of 1919. The treaty granted full independence from Britain and is now celebrated on the 19th August every year.

9. Thursday night is Poetry Night In many Afghanistan Cities


Poetry is a staple in Afghan culture. For centuries Afghans have told their stories from generation to generation through verse. A good example of this come from the City of Herat in the west of the country. Every Thursday men and women of all ages gather in the city to celebrate poetry, old and new, while enjoying sweet teas and pastries. In more recent years, poetry in Afghanistan has been used as a way of tackling social issues, with women’s rights being a particularly popular subject in Afghan poetry.

10. Afghanistan Used to be Home to the World’s Largest Buddha Statues


Bamiyan, which was a flourishing Buddhist civilization before the Islamic invasion in the 9th Century is located in the central highlands of Afghanistan, and was home to two of the most incredible examples of ancient sculpture – the two largest Buddha statues in existence. However, the statues no longer exist after they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, as the picture above shows.

11. However, the famous Bamiyan Caves are still intact…


Despite the Taliban destroying Bamiyan’s ancient Buddha statues in 2001, they were not able to destroy the famous caves which surround the area where the giant statues once stood. These caves also date back to Bamiyan’s early Buddhist tradition, and were originally used by Buddhist monks as meditation chambers. In more recent times the now UNESCO protected site, has been used by the Taliban to store weapons and in the past 10 years, by Afghan refugees who have used the caves as shelter. Incredibly, in this time Afghan refugees and civilians have discovered thousands of cave paintings and Buddhist relics which has caused a sensation among ancient historians and archaeologists alike.

12. The Official Monetary Unit of Afghanistan is the Afghani


It is a common misconception that the name for a Afghan national is an ‘Afghani’. The Afghani is actually the name for the currency used in the Country. The currency which was relaunched in 2002 ranges between 1 Afghani coins and 1000 Afghanis banknotes.

13. The Minaret of Jam is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site which is Marveled at by Historians and archaeologists alike.


The Minaret of Jam, which is located in the west of the country is 62-metre high tower, thought to have been constructed around 1190. The structure is made entirely of baked bricks and is one of the archaeological wonders of the middle east. As is the case with the valley of Bamiyan, the Minaret of Jam and its surrounding archaeological area is classed as a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Afghanistan Borders Six Different Countries


As well as roughly being the same size as Ukraine in terms of land area, Afghanistan also shares boarders with five other countries: Pakistan, China, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

15. One of National Geographic’s Most Iconic Cover Shots – ‘The Afghan Girl’ is Now Used to Promote a Charity helping Young Girls Who Were Denied an Education under Taliban Rule.


The June 1985 cover picture of National Geographic featured one of the most iconic and memorable photographs in the magazines history. The haunting image of a young Afghan girl with piercing green eyes came to define the troubles in war-torn Afghanistan. The identity of the girl remained a mystery until 2002 following the downfall of Taliban in large areas of the country. She is called Sharbat Gula, and today National Geographic now runs a fund in her name, to educate young Afghan girls who were denied an education during the Taliban’s rule.


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Afghnistan National Anthem
Pashto Lyrics

English Translation
This land is Afghanistan,
it is the pride of every Afghan
The land of peace, the land of sword,
each of its sons is brave

This is the country of every tribe,
The land of Balochs and Uzbeks
Pashtuns and Hazaras,
Turkmens and Tajiks

With them, there are Arabs and Gujjars,
Pamiris, Nuristanis
Brahuis, and Qizilbash,
also Aimaqs and Pashais

This land will shine for ever,
like the sun in the blue sky
In the chest of Asia,
it will remain as heart for ever

We will follow the one God
We all say, andquot;Allah is the greatest!andquot;,
we all say, andquot;Allah is the greatest!andquot;,
we all say, andquot;Allah is the greatest!andquot;
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