Afghanistan Country Information

 
 
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Afghanistan Travel Information


Afghanistan (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) is a landlocked country in southern Asia. It shares land borders with Iran, Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

As of 2009. the population of Afghanistan was estimated to be 28,150,000. Approximately 3 million people live in the country's capital, and largest city, Kabul. Kabul is thought to be one of the oldest capital cities in the world, and is believed to have been first established sometime between 2000 BC and 1500 BC. Apart Kabul, Afghanistan contains 13 other cities with populations over 100,000, the largest of which is Kandahar, which has a population of about 450,000.

Map of Afghanistan

After a prolonged period of unrest in the 1970s, Afghanistan has been almost continuously involved in civil war or foreign occupation:
  • The USSR invaded the country in 1979, and remained there until 1989. During this period, the US backed the Afghanistan resistance movement, known as the Mujahideen.

  • The Soviet backed Communist regime remained in power until 1992, until it was eventually overthrown by the Mujahideen.

  • Civil war then broke out been various Mujahideen factions, this fighting peaking in 1994.

  • The Taliban then began to develop. Eventually they took control of Kabul in 1996, and subsequently most of the country.

  • Following the 9/11 attacks on the United States, in 2001, a coalition led by the US and Britain began bombing the Taliban, and backed the Northern Alliance in the Afghan civil war. This eventually led to the overthrow of the Taliban regime, and the establishment of a new Afghan government. However, Taliban resistance to both the Afghan government and coalition forces continues to this day.

Afghanistan Country Details


Country Name Afghanistan
Political Status Country
Geographic Location Central Asia
Principal Language Pashto
Capital Kabul


Web Sites about Afghanistan


Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazir-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
Here are some other web sites about Afghanistan::

Blue Mosque in Mazir-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

Books about Afghanistan


Here are some books about travel to Afghanistan:

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Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)
By Bijan Omrani

Odyssey Books & Maps
Paperback (784 pages)

Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)
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Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is often unjustly thought of in the West as a barbarous backwater. This guide dispels that image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Each chapter
Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide
By Bijan Omrani

Brand: Airphoto International Ltd.
Paperback (768 pages)

Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide
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Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is now unjustly thought of in the West as a barbarous backwater. Afghanistan: A Traveler's Companion & Guide aims to dispel this image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture.

Starting with a full history of the country from 1500 BC, each chapter looks at the major cities and regions, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, their associations with poets, artists, musicians, travelers and holy men, as well as warriors and conquerors. Ancient and modern sources from Afghanistan are extensively quoted, as well as the thoughts, musings and experiences of writers from America, Europe, Russia, China, India and the Middle East, including such luminaries as Wilfred Thesiger and Bruce Chatwin.

Experienced Afghan traveler Matthew Leeming contributes detailed information for those who intend to visit the country as tourists, with guides to specific cities and areas, as well as more general advice. A number of short specialist appendices by leading experts further illustrate matters such as archaeology, architecture, carpets, miniature painting, calligraphy, music, flora and fauna. Wonderfully illustrated with superb images from world-renowned photographers such as Michael Yamashita and Roland and Sabrina Michaud. Also includes engravings, etchings, paintings and priceless museum artifacts.

     • Written by authors with both academic and first-hand knowledge of the country
     • Essential reading for anyone with an interest in Afghanistan's history
     • Includes stunning contemporary photography from world-renowned photographers such as Michael Yamashita and Roland and Sabrina Michaud
     • Rare archive material includes black-and-white photography by Wilfred Thesiger
     • Literary excerpts from Herodotus to Robert Lowell, Robert Byron, Peter Levi and Bruce Chatwin
     • The most comprehensive coverage, from Alexander the Great to the new constitution
     • 110 stunning color photos

This lavish guide reveals the immense treasury of cultural, historical and natural wealth-too frequently forgotten-that is Afghanistan. 110 full-color photos; maps and illustrations
Lonely Planet Afghanistan (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (Country Travel Guide)
By Paul Clammer

Lonely Planet
Paperback (244 pages)

Lonely Planet Afghanistan (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (Country Travel Guide)
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Discover Afghanistan

Blink as you emerge from the cliffs at the top of one of Bamiyan's enormous Buddha niches.
Stop pedalling for a moment and drift in your swan-shaped pedalo on the waters of Band-e Amir.
Utter a great smoking sigh of contentment as you puff on a sheesha at Mirwais Shandaiz.

In This Guide:

Chapters on working and safety in Afghanistan, with advice from resident expats.
Specialist contributors write on journalism, women, and trekking in the Wakhan and the Afghan Pamir.
Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler reflects on travel to Afghanistan over the decades.
Afghanistan
By Reise Know-How Verlag

Reise Know-How Verlag
Map (1 pages)

Afghanistan
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Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil
By Deborah Rodriguez

Random House Trade Paperbacks
Released: 2007-12-18
Paperback (320 pages)

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil
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Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.

With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.

Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.

With warmth and humor, Rodriguez details the lushness of a seemingly desolate region and reveals the magnificence behind the burqa. Kabul Beauty School is a remarkable tale of an extraordinary community of women who come together and learn the arts of perms, friendship, and freedom.


From the Hardcover edition.
The Places In Between
By Rory Stewart

Mariner Books
Released: 2006-05-08
Paperback (297 pages)

The Places In Between
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In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.

Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map's countless places in between.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East Wall Map
By National Geographic Maps - Reference

National Geographic
Map (1 pages)

Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East Wall Map
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National Geographic's map of the Middle East covers a broad geographic area ranging from northern Africa through the Fertile Crescent to the western edge of China and India. Includes complete coverage of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Cyprus, and Eritrea. Also includes parts of India, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

Features thousands of place names, accurate political boundaries, archeological sites, and major infrastructure networks such as roads, canals, ferry routes, airports, and railroads. The region's diverse terrain is detailed through accurate shaded relief, coastal bathymetry, and symbolism for water features and other land forms. Elevations of major peaks and depth soundings are expressed in meters. The signature Classic style map uses a bright, easy to read color palette featuring blue oceans and stunning shaded relief that has been featured on National Geographic wall maps for over 75 years.

The map is packaged in a two inch diamater clear plastic tube. The tube has a decorative label showing a thumbnail of the map with dimensions and other pertinent information.

  • Map Scale = 1:6,083,000
  • Sheet Size = 30.25" x 23.5"
The Bookseller of Kabul
By Asne Seierstad

Back Bay Books
Paperback (288 pages)

The Bookseller of Kabul
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This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details - a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America's Longest War
By Brian Glyn Williams

University of Pennsylvania Press
Hardcover (264 pages)

Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America s Longest War
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Nearly 100,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan at the height of the campaign, fighting the longest war in the nation's history. But what do Americans know about the land where this conflict is taking place? Many have come to have a grasp of the people, history, and geography of Iraq, but Afghanistan remains a mystery.

Originally published by the U.S. Army to provide an overview of the country's terrain, ethnic groups, and history for American troops and now updated and expanded for the general public, Afghanistan Declassified fills in these gaps. Historian Brian Glyn Williams, who has traveled to Afghanistan frequently over the past decade, provides essential background to the war, tracing the rise, fall, and reemergence of the Taliban. Special sections deal with topics such as the CIA's Predator drone campaign in the Pakistani tribal zones, the spread of suicide bombing from Iraq to the Afghan theater of operations, and comparisons between the Soviet and U.S. experiences in Afghanistan.

To Williams, a historian of Central Asia, Afghanistan is not merely a theater in the war on terror. It is a primeval, exciting, and beautiful land; not only a place of danger and turmoil but also one of hospitable villagers and stunning landscapes, of great cultural diversity and richness. Williams brings the country to life through his own travel experiences—from living with Northern Alliance Uzbek warlords to working on a major NATO base. National heroes are introduced, Afghanistan's varied ethnic groups are explored, key battles—both ancient and current—are retold, and this land that many see as only a frightening setting for prolonged war emerges in three dimensions.


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