Afghanistan has a history and culture that dates back to over 5000 years.
Centuries ago Ahmed Shah Durrani founded Afghanistan and became King in 1747. Also referred to as Baba Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as “The Father of the Nation”. He ruled over an area spanning from what is now Iran all the way across to India. This was known as the Durrani Empire, largest Islamic Empire of its time, between 1747 – 1826. It was also the second largest Islamic Empire after the Ottoman Empire.
The afghan Monarchy changed intermittently between the Durrani Sadozai, Mohamadzai and Barakzai clans between 1826 to 1919. Over the years conflicting interests from the Russians and the British, who were in India at the time, escalated resulting in two Anglo-Afghan wars.
In 1919, the then King Amanullah declared new independence after a war with the British who were threatened by the Russian interests. He was succeeded by Mohammed Nadir Shah.
Mohammed Nadir Shah was King of Afghanistan from 15 October 1929 until his assassination in November 1933. Previously, he served as Minister of War, Afghan Ambassador to France and as a general in the military of Afghanistan during King Amanullah’s rule. King Nadir Shah’s son Mohammed Zahir Shah succeeded him.
The last King Zahir Shah ruled for four out of the five decades to follow, before the end of his Monarchy. He was ousted in a coup by his cousin Doud Khan, the then Prime minister, in 1973 whilst on a medical visit to Italy, where he then stayed in self-exile. The coup was not popular with the Afghan people and Doud Khan (who was the first President of Afghanistan) along with most members of his family were assassinated in April 1978.
Civil war broke out in 1978, and the Russians invaded in 1979. Afghans resisted and the U.S helped back the Mujahideen fighting the Russians, which led to the withdrawal of Russian troops in 1989.
The last invasion began in 2001 when the U.S led coalition set out to remove the Taliban from government. Just over a decade later foreign troops began withdrawing after removing the Taliban from power. Although a democratically elected government is now leading the country, much of it remains torn by the war. Huge efforts are now underway to redevelop Afghanistan.
Afghans have never tolerated the occupation of their country. Those who have tried have lost much but the wars have never subdued the Afghan people.
There are four major ethnic groups: Pashtoons, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Numerous other minor ethnic groups (Nuristanis, Baluchis, Turkmens, etc.). While the majority of Afghans (99%) belong to the Islamic faith, there are also small pockets of Sikhs, Hindus and even some Jews. The official languages of the country are Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian aka Farsi).
The exact population of Afghanistan is unknown, however, it is estimated to be somewhere close to 33.4 million at the he growth rate of 2.22%
Latest literacy figures 28.1%
Life expectancy 49.
(All Stats are from UNDP)
For a detailed statistical look at Afghanistan check out the following link: CIA — The World Fact Book — Afghanistan
2014 election was the first democratic handover of power in Afghan history. After months of political deadlock President Ghani, heads a unity government along with former rival and now chief executive Abdullah Abdullah. This year also saw the official end NATO’s of the 13 year combat mission, although a number of troops will remain in the country in order to train the Afghan Army.
Afghanistan’s 34 Provinces and their capitals
|Badakhshan — (Faizabad)||Jowzjan — (Sheberghan)||Panjshir — (Bazarak)|
|Badghis — (Qaleh-ye Now)||Kabul — (Kabul)||Paktia — (Gardez)|
|Baghlan — (Pol-e Khomri)||Kandahar — (Kandahar)||Paktika — (Sharan)|
|Balkh — (Mazar-e-Shariff)||Kapisa — (Mahmud-e-Raqi)||Parwan — (Charikar)|
|Bamian — (Bamian)||Khost (Khost)||Samangan — (Aybak)|
|Daikondi — (Nili)||Konar — (Asadabad)||Sar-i Pol — (Sar-i Pol)|
|Farah — (Farah)||Kunduz — (Kunduz)||Takhar — (Taloqan)|
|Faryab — (Maymana)||Laghman — (Mehtar Lam)||Uruzgan — (Tarin Kowt)|
|Ghazni — (Ghazni)||Lowgar — (Pol-e Alam)||Wardak — (Meydan Shahr)|
|Ghowr — (Chaghcharan)||Nangarhar — (Jalalabad)||Zabol — (Qalat)|
|Helmand — (Lashkar Gah)||Nimruz — (Zaranj)|
|Herat — (Herat)||Nuristan — (Nuristan)|