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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. Subsequently, a series of 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 in New York City, 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 and a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. On 7 December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan. The National Assembly was inaugurated on 19 December 2005.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 31,889,923 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Afghan(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Afghan

Official Language(s): Dari, Pashtu

Major Languages Spoken: Dari, Kirghiz, Pashtu, Pushtu, Turkman, Uzbek

Map of Afghanistan

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Country Name (short form): Afghanistan

Country Name (local long form): Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan

Name of Capital: Kabul

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Afghanistan: Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, China

Land Area: 647500 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than Texas

Total Land Boundry: 5,529 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 19 August (1919)

International Phone Code: +93

Currency Code: afghani (AFA)

Internet Country Code: .af

US Embassy Location: The Great Masood Road, Kabul

US Embassy Mailing Address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806


Afghanistan flag

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