The Afghanistan Portal
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. Occupying 652,864 square kilometres (252,072 sq mi) of land, the country is predominantly mountainous with plains in the north and the southwest, which are separated by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Kabul is the country's largest city and serves as its capital. , Afghanistan's population is 40.2 million (officially estimated to be 32.9 million), composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Qizilbash, Aimak, Pashayi, Baloch, Pamiris, Nuristanis, and others.
Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic era, and the country's strategic location along the historic Silk Road has led it to being described, picturesquely, as the ‘roundabout of the ancient world’. Popularly referred to as the graveyard of empires, the land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Maurya Empire, Arab Muslims, the Mongols, the British, the Soviet Union, and most recently by a US-led coalition. Afghanistan also served as the source from which the Greco-Bactrians and the Mughals, amongst others, rose to form major empires. The various conquests and periods in both the Iranian and Indian cultural spheres made the area a center for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and later Islam throughout history.
Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan's history has been dominated by extensive warfare, including coups, invasions, insurgencies, and civil wars. The conflict began in 1978 when a communist revolution established a socialist state, and subsequent infighting prompted the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan in 1979. Mujahideen fought against the Soviets in the Soviet–Afghan War and continued fighting amongst themselves following the Soviets' withdrawal in 1989. The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban controlled most of the country by 1996, but their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan received little international recognition before its overthrow in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban returned to power in 2021 after capturing Kabul and overthrowing the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, thus bringing an end to the 2001–2021 war. Although initially claiming it would form an inclusive government for the country, in September 2021 the Taliban re-established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with an interim government made up entirely of Taliban members. The Taliban government remains internationally unrecognized. (Full article...)
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Islamic State of Afghanistan (Persian: دولت اسلامی افغانستان, Dawlat-i Islāmī-yi Afghānistan, Pashto: دا افغانستان اسلامی دولت, Da Afghanistan Islami Dowlat) was the government of Afghanistan that was established by the Peshawar Accords of 26 April 1992 by many, but not all, Afghan mujahideen parties, after the fall of the socialist government. Its power was limited due to the country's second civil war, which was won by the Taliban, who took control of Kabul in 1996. The Islamic State then transitioned to a government in exile and led the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. It remained the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan at the United Nations until 2001, when the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan was created and an Afghan Interim Administration took control of Afghanistan with US and NATO assistance following the overthrow of the first Taliban government. (Full article...)
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The following are images from various Afghanistan-related articles on Wikipedia.
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The Korengal Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan
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