Well, I ended up in Afghanistan and did a bit of wandering to various places.  As I indicated it isn’t for the faint of heart and I provide some detail on this on the South West Asia page.  To say it is a land of contradictions is an understatement.  There are beautiful mountains, valley, streams, meadows and even some fascinating historical sites that remain.  You have beauty and it is overlaid or permeated with poverty and violence.  The people are living in conditions that are centuries behind anything even remotely modern by western standards.  If the average family is luck they have something to eat every day and no individuals or groups stopped by during the day or night to steal or kill the village inhabitants.

The language of the population is quite a fascinating item as there are multiple languages and dialects spoken.  The two official languages are Pashto 60% and Dari 19,5% with the remaining being Uzbek 14%, Turkmen 2.5%, and Other languages 4% making up the rest.  Occasionally it seems as if the differences in language and dialect vary even from village to village.

I was looking at some historical maps and you can see where the desert in the southwest is creeping up in the direction of the mountains at a north east angle.  This is pushing the population in that same direction, away from the desert and the competition for water and land could become a major issue in the next decade.  There isn’t any law enforcement per se other than who has the most ammunition so land battles are almost a certainty as we move forward.  They don’t have the economic wherewithal to field a police force with any meaningful effectiveness so rule of law varies from village to village.  Being incarcerated is a concept viable only in the west as far as I can tell as if you have cash or political connections or just a big gun you have what is effectively a get out of jail free card.

Afghanistan is situated in a precarious place and is surrounded by Iran, Pakistan,  Uzbekistan Tajikistan and a bit of China.  I’m not a historian but it appears that various armies have been invading for centuries with various degrees of success.  The climate and terrain make it almost impossible to control and when you factor in myriad languages, religions and recognize that all power lies within each village or tribe, you can basically forget about ruling in any fashion we are accustomed in the west.

As an example, when a western leader wants to communicate with the entire population he goes on tv or radio and broadcasts to the masses who all speak and understand a common language.  Not so in Afghanistan.  First of all, not everyone has a radio and as far as the penetration of televisions?  Forget it. Electricity is a luxury and if a typical household is lucky enough to have a television it is almost certainly powered by a generator.  So when the Afghan leader goes on tv, he is only speaking to the tiny fragment of the population that not only speaks his language but happens to have their generator  running and the television tuned to the station he is speaking on.  Everything is very local and each village is essentially a self contained world, isolated from the outside world for all intents and purposes.

People are fighting, quite literally for food, water and shelter, so whatever a politician from some distant city has to say is basically irrelevant.  In any event, it is a fascinating place and you should go if you ever get the chance.


Here is something interesting reading.  The CIA has a page about Afghanistan and here it is:
Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country’s civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was re-elected in August 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability – particularly in the south and the east – remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.

Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
Geographic coordinates:

33 00 N, 65 00 E
Map references:


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

Area comparison map:
Land boundaries:

total: 5,987 km
border countries: China 91 km, Iran 921 km, Pakistan 2,670 km, Tajikistan 1,357 km, Turkmenistan 804 km, Uzbekistan 144 km

0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)

arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Noshak 7,485 m
Natural resources:

natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones
Land use:

arable land: 11.95%
permanent crops: 0.18%
other: 87.87% (2011)
Irrigated land:

32,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:

65.33 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 20.28 cu km/yr (1%/1%/98%)
per capita: 823.1 cu m/yr (2005)
Natural hazards:

damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Environment – current issues:

limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
Environment – international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note:

landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
People and Society ::AFGHANISTAN

noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Ethnic groups:

Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%

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

Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%

31,822,848 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Age structure:

0-14 years: 42% (male 6,793,832/female 6,579,388)
15-24 years: 22.2% (male 3,600,264/female 3,464,781)
25-54 years: 29.4% (male 4,771,323/female 4,586,963)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 603,197/female 622,539)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 371,753/female 428,808) (2014 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 93.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 88.4 %
elderly dependency ratio: 4.6 %
potential support ratio: 21.5 (2014 est.)
Median age:

total: 18.1 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.2 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:

2.29% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Birth rate:

38.84 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Death rate:

14.12 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Net migration rate:

-1.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

urban population: 23.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 4.41% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas – population:

KABUL (capital) 3.097 million (2011)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Mother’s mean age at first birth:

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:

460 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 22
Infant mortality rate:

total: 117.23 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 1
male: 124.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 109.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 50.49 years
country comparison to the world: 220
male: 49.17 years
female: 51.88 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:

5.43 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Contraceptive prevalence rate:

21.8% (2010)
Health expenditures:

9.6% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 30
Physicians density:

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density:

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source:

urban: 89.9% of population
rural: 56.1% of population
total: 64.2% of population
urban: 10.1% of population
rural: 43.9% of population
total: 35.8% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:

urban: 46.8% of population
rural: 23.4% of population
total: 29% of population
urban: 53.2% of population
rural: 76.6% of population
total: 71% of population (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:

4,300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
HIV/AIDS – deaths:

300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)
Obesity – adult prevalence rate:

2.2% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 182
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

32.9% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 9
Education expenditures:


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 28.1%
male: 43.1%
female: 12.6% (2000 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 9 years
male: 11 years
female: 7 years (2011)
Child labor – children ages 5-14:

total number: 3,252,243
percentage: 25 %
note: data on child labor in Afghanistan is uncertain and may be higher than the estimated 25% of children ages 5-14 derived from 2011 survey results; UNICEF estimated that 30% of children ages 5-14 in 2011 were engaged in child labor (2008 est.)
Government ::AFGHANISTAN
Country name:

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan
local short form: Afghanistan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
Government type:

Islamic republic

name: Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:

34 provinces (welayat, singular – welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul

19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 19 August (1919)

several previous; latest drafted 14 December 2003 – 4 January 2004, signed 16 January 2004, ratified 26 January 2004 (2012)
Legal system:

mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law
International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Yunis QANUNI (since March 2014); Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Yunis QANUNI (March 2014); Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004)
cabinet: 25 ministers; note – ministers are appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the president is elected by direct vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if no candidate receives 50% or more of the vote in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes will participate in a second round; first round of last election held on 5 April 2014 (second round held on 14 June 2014)
election results: first round results – Abdullah ABDULLAH 45%, Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai 31.6%, Zalmai RASOUL 11.4%, other 12%; second round results – expected on 22 July
Legislative branch:

the bicameral National Assembly consists of the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats, two-thirds of members elected from provincial councils for four-year terms, and one-third nominated by the president for five-year terms) and the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (no more than 250 seats; members directly elected for five-year terms)
note: the constitution allows the government to convene a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it is made up of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils; no Loya Jirga of this type has ever been held, and district councils have never been elected
elections: last held on 18 September 2010 (next expected in 2015)
election results: results by party – NA; note – ethnicity is the main factor influencing political alliances; approximate percentage of seats by ethnic group – Pashtun 39%, Hazara 24%, Tajik 21%, Uzbek 6%, other 10% (including Aimak, Arab, Baloch, Nuristani, Pahhai, Turkmen, Turkic); women hold 69 seats
Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the Supreme Court Chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans)
judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Political parties and leaders:

note – the Ministry of Justice licensed 84 political parties as of December 2012
Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: religious groups, tribal leaders, ethnically based groups, Taliban
International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Eklil Ahmad HAKIMI (since 16 February 2011)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6410
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Richard YONEOKA
embassy: The Great Masood Road, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806
telephone: [93] 0700 108 001
FAX: [93] 0700 108 564
Flag description:

three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other two bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning “God is great”), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood shed for independence, and green can represent either hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam
note: Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them
National symbol(s):

National anthem:

name: “Milli Surood” (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 “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups
Economy – overview:

Afghanistan’s economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world. The international community remains committed to Afghanistan’s development, pledging over $67 billion at nine donors’ conferences between 2003-10. In July 2012, the donors at the Tokyo conference pledged an additional $16 billion in civilian aid through 2015. Despite this help, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure. Afghanistan’s growth rate slowed markedly in 2013.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$45.3 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$34.25 billion (2012 est.)
$30.45 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):

$20.65 billion (2013 est.)
GDP – real growth rate:

3.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
12.5% (2012 est.)
6.1% (2011 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP):

$1,100 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
$1,100 (2012 est.)
$1,000 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP – composition, by end use:

household consumption: 96.5%
government consumption: 23.3%
investment in fixed capital: 25.4%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 18.1%
imports of goods and services: -63.4%
(2011 est.)
GDP – composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 20%
industry: 25.6%
services: 54.4%
note: data exclude opium production (2011 est.)
Agriculture – products:

opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins

small-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Industrial production growth rate:

Labor force:

7.512 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
Labor force – by occupation:

agriculture: 78.6%
industry: 5.7%
services: 15.7% (FY08/09 est.)
Unemployment rate:

35% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
40% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:

36% (FY08/09)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 24% (2008)

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: 207
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-8.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
Fiscal year:

21 December – 20 December
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.8% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
5.7% (2011 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:

15% (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
15.15% (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of narrow money:

$6.121 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$5.928 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of broad money:

$6.499 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$6.351 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:

$-819.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
$-520.2 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:

-$743.9 million (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
-$736 million (2010 est.)

$376 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$388.5 million (2011 est.)
note: not including illicit exports or reexports
Exports – commodities:

opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Exports – partners:

Pakistan 32.2%, India 27%, Tajikistan 8.5%, US 6.2% (2012)

$6.39 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
$5.154 billion (2011 est.)
Imports – commodities:

machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports – partners:

Pakistan 24.3%, US 18%, Russia 8.7%, India 5.8%, China 5.6%, Germany 4.4% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$5.983 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$5.268 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt – external:

$1.28 billion (FY10/11)
country comparison to the world: 154
$2.7 billion (FY08/09)
Exchange rates:

afghanis (AFA) per US dollar –
50.92 (2012 est.)
46.75 (2011 est.)
46.45 (2010)
Electricity – production:

986.1 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
Electricity – consumption:

2.489 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
Electricity – exports:

0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
Electricity – imports:

1.572 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
Electricity – installed generating capacity:

489,100 kW (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Electricity – from fossil fuels:

23.5% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
Electricity – from hydroelectric plants:

76.5% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Electricity – from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Crude oil – production:

1,950 bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
Crude oil – exports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
Crude oil – imports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
Crude oil – proved reserves:

NA bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products – production:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Refined petroleum products – consumption:

4,229 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Refined petroleum products – exports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Refined petroleum products – imports:

36,250 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
Natural gas – production:

140 million cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
Natural gas – consumption:

140 million cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
Natural gas – exports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
Natural gas – imports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Natural gas – proved reserves:

49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

6.589 million Mt (2011 est.)
Communications ::AFGHANISTAN
Telephones – main lines in use:

13,500 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 198
Telephones – mobile cellular:

18 million (2012)
country comparison to the world: 55
Telephone system:

general assessment: limited fixed-line telephone service; an increasing number of Afghans utilize mobile-cellular phone networks
domestic: aided by the presence of multiple providers, mobile-cellular telephone service continues to improve rapidly; the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information claims that more than 90 percent of the population live in areas with access to mobile-cellular services
international: country code – 93; multiple VSAT’s provide international and domestic voice and data connectivity (2012)
Broadcast media:

state-owned broadcaster, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), operates a series of radio and television stations in Kabul and the provinces; an estimated 150 private radio stations, 50 TV stations, and about a dozen international broadcasters are available (2007)
Internet country code:

Internet hosts:

223 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 199
Internet users:

1 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 101
Communications – note:

Transportation ::AFGHANISTAN

52 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 91
Airports – with paved runways:

total: 23
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Airports – with unpaved runways:

total: 29
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m:
6 (2013)

9 (2013)

gas 466 km (2013)

total: 42,150 km
country comparison to the world: 85
paved: 12,350 km
unpaved: 29,800 km (2006)

1,200 km; (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 59
Ports and terminals:

ariver port(s): Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
Military branches:

Afghan Armed Forces: Afghan National Army (ANA, includes Afghan Air Force (AAF)) (2011)
Military service age and obligation:

18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 7,056,339
females age 16-49: 6,653,419 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 4,050,222
females age 16-49: 3,797,087 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 392,116
female: 370,295 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:

NA% (2012)
4.74% of GDP (2011)
NA% (2010)
Transnational Issues ::AFGHANISTAN
Disputes – international:

Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey; Iran protests Afghanistan’s restricting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Russia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 16,825 (Pakistan) (2013)
IDPs: 667,158 (mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis displaced in the south and west due to drought and instability) (2014)
Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Afghanistan is a source transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, although domestic trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking; Afghan men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Turkey, and the Gulf states; Afghan women and girls are forced into prostitution and domestic servitude in Pakistan, Iran, and India, while women and girls from the Philippines, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and China are reportedly sexually exploited in Afghanistan; children are increasingly subjected to forced labor in carpet-making factories, domestic servitude, forced begging, and commercial sexual exploitation; some children are sold to settle debts
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Afghanistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons; anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts have improved, though official complicity in human trafficking remains a problem; the first known convictions were made under the government’s 2008 anti-trafficking law; Afghanistan has not developed or employed systematic procedures to identify trafficking victims or refer them to protective services and continues to rely on NGOs to provide the vast majority of victim assistance; the government has not made discernible progress in preventing human trafficking or protecting victims but has adopted an anti-trafficking action plan (2013)
Illicit drugs:

world’s largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 57 percent, from 115,000 hectares in 2011 to 180,000 hectares in 2012; despite the increase in area under cultivation, the effects of poor weather and crop disease resulted in lower yield so potential opium production remained stable at 4,300 mt in 2012 compared to 4,400 mt in 2011; the Taliban and other anti-government groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counter-drug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; regional source of hashish (2013)


Here is more information and pictures from Afghanistan you may be interested in – Pictures from Afghanistan


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