Afghanistan ( (listen); Pashto/Dari: افغانستان, Pashto: Afġānistān [avɣɒnisˈtɒn, ab-], Dari: Afġānestān [avɣɒnesˈtɒn]), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.
Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, and the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia. The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets, and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires". The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khaljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, and others have risen to form major empires.
The national flag of Afghanistan
: د افغانستان رپی
; Dari Persian
: پرچم افغانستان
) consists of a vertical tricolor with the classical National Emblem
in the center. The current flag was adopted on 19 August 2013, but many similar designs had been in use throughout most of the 20th century.Afghanistan
has had 25 different flags since the first flag when the Hotaki dynasty
was established in 1709. During the 20th century alone, Afghanistan went through 18 different national flags, more than any other country during that time period, and most of them had the colors black, red, and green on them.
The Kabul–Kandahar Highway
is a 483-kilometer (300 mi) road linking Afghanistan
's two largest cities, Kabul
, passing through Maidan Shar
, and Qalati Ghilji
. This highway is a key portion of Afghanistan's national road system or "Ring Road"
. The entire highway from Kandahar to Kabul is on flat surface, with no mountain passes. Approximately 35 percent of Afghanistan's population lives within 50 km (31 mi) of the Kabul to Kandahar portion of the Ring Road.
, also known as diamorphine
among other names, is an opioid
most commonly used as a recreational drug
for its euphoric
effects. It is used medically in several countries to relieve pain or in opioid replacement therapy
. It is typically injected, usually into a vein, but it can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.
Common side effects include respiratory depression
(decreased breathing), dry mouth, drowsiness, impaired mental function, constipation, and addiction
. Side effects of use by injection can include abscesses
, infected heart valves
, blood-borne infections
, and pneumonia
. After a history of long-term use, opioid withdrawal
symptoms can begin within hours of the last use. When given by injection into a vein, heroin has two to three times the effect of a similar dose of morphine
. It typically comes as a white or brown powder.
, Түркменлер, IPA: [tʏɾkmɛnˈlɛɾ]
; historically also the Turkmen
) are a nation and Turkic ethnic group
native to Central Asia
, primarily the Turkmen nation state
. Smaller communities are also found in Iran
and North Caucasus
). They speak the Turkmen language
, which is classified as a part of the Eastern Oghuz
branch of the Turkic languages
. Examples of other Oghuz languages
, and Salar
Mannequin of a Safavid Qizilbash soldier, exhibited in the Sa'dabad Complex
"Red-Head", sometimes also Qezelbash
) were a wide variety of Shi'i
militant groups that flourished in Iranian Azerbaijan
(historic Azerbaijan, also known as "Iranian Azerbaijan"), Anatolia
from the late 15th century onwards, some of which contributed to the foundation of the Safavid dynasty
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
: جمهوری دمکراتی افغانستان
, Jumhūri-ye Dimukrātī-ye Afġānistān
: دافغانستان دمکراتی جمهوریت
, Dǝ Afġānistān Dimukratī Jumhūriyat
), renamed in 1987 to the Republic of Afghanistan
: جمهوری افغانستان
; Jumhūrī-ye Afġānistān
: د افغانستان جمهوریت
, Dǝ Afġānistān Jumhūriyat
), commonly known as Afghanistan
), existed from 1978 to 1992, during which time the socialist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
(PDPA) ruled Afghanistan
The PDPA came to power through a military coup known as the Saur Revolution
, which ousted the government of Mohammad Daoud Khan
. Daoud was succeeded by Nur Muhammad Taraki
as head of state and government on 30 April 1978. Taraki and Hafizullah Amin
, the organiser of the Saur Revolution, introduced several contentious reforms during their rule, the most notable being equal rights to women, universal education and land reform. Soon after taking power a power struggle began between the Khalq faction
led by Taraki and Amin and the Parcham faction
led by Babrak Karmal
. The Khalqists won and the Parchamites were purged from the party. The most prominent Parcham leaders were exiled to the Eastern Bloc
and the Soviet Union
This article gives information on elections in Afghanistan.
Though Afghanistan has had democratic elections throughout the 20th century, the election institutions have varied as changes in regimes have disrupted political continuity. Presidential elections in 2009 raised doubts about the legitimacy and power of the current electoral system, established in the 2003 constitution, in both the national political environment and the international community.
has three railroad lines in the north of the country. The first is between Mazar-i-Sharif
and the border town of Hairatan
in Balkh province
, which then connects with Uzbek Railways
(opened 2011). The second links Torghundi
in Herat province
with Turkmen Railways
(opened 1960). The third is between Aqina
in Faryab province
and neighboring Turkmenistan (opened 2016). The country currently lacks a passenger rail service, but a new rail link from Herat
for both cargo and passengers is under construction and estimated for completion in 2018. Passenger service is also proposed in Hairatan - Mazar-i-Sharif section and Mazar-i-Sharif - Aquina section.
Afghanistan's rail network is still in the developing stage. The current rail lines are to be extended in the near future, the plans include lines for cargo traffic as well as passenger transportation. Afghanistan's neighbors have been improving their own railway networks during the early 21st century. The main plan is to use Afghanistan to connect by rail the four subcontinents of Asia
The Hotak dynasty
: د هوتکيانو ټولواکمني
) was an Afghan monarchy
of the Ghilji
Pashtuns, established in April 1709 by Mirwais Hotak
after leading a successful revolution against their declining Persian Safavid
overlords in the region of Loy Kandahar
("Greater Kandahar") in what is now southern Afghanistan
. It lasted until 1738 when the founder of the Afsharid dynasty
, Nader Shah Afshar
, defeated Hussain Hotak
during the long siege of Kandahar
, and started the reestablishment of Iranian suzerainty over all regions lost decades before against the Iranian archrival, the Ottoman Empire
, and the Russian Empire
. At its peak, the Hotak dynasty ruled briefly over an area which is now Afghanistan, Iran
, western Pakistan
, and some parts of Tajikistan
In 1715, Mirwais died of a natural cause and his brother Abdul Aziz
succeeded the monarchy. He was quickly followed by Mahmud
who ruled the empire at its largest extent for a mere three years. Following the 1729 Battle of Damghan
, where Ashraf Hotak
was roundly defeated by Nader Shah, Ashraf was banished to what is now southern Afghanistan with Hotak rule being confined to it. Hussain Hotak became the last ruler until he was also defeated in 1738.
In the news
Do you have a question about Afghanistan that you can't find the answer to?
Consider asking it at the Wikipedia reference desk.
For editor resources and to collaborate with other editors on improving Wikipedia's Afghanistan-related articles, see WikiProject Afghanistan.
UNESCO Institute of Statistics Afghanistan Literacy Rate population plus15 1980–2015
A bustling market street in central Kabul, 2009
From upper left, clockwise – Canadian troops in Kandahar; American president Barack Obama meets Afghan leader Hamid Karzai in March 2010; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with female politicians in Kabul in October 2011; An officer of the RAF explains a C-27 of the Afghan air force to 'Thunder Lab' students in July 2011
Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan, who reigned from 1933 to 1973.
Workers processing pomegranates (anaar), which Afghanistan is famous for in Asia
Hamid Karzai dominated Afghan politics after the Taliban's fall
Afghan women at a textile factory in Kabul
Rail crossing in northern Afghanistan on the line towards Uzbekistan
The traditional national sport of Afghanistan, Buzkashi
Some of the popular Afghan dishes
A section of Kabul during the civil war in 1993, which caused significant damage to the capital
Did you know...
- Select [►] to view subcategories