Afghanistan

Afghanistan


The Islamic State of Afghanistan, known as Dowlat-e-Eslami-ye Afghanestan in its official language of Dari, has been hogging the limelight for all the wrong reasons. The country has been at war for the past twenty years and more, with allies turning into enemies and erstwhile enemies turning into allies. It is a landlocked country which, because of its vast size of 647,500 sq km, extends through Central Asia into Southeast Asia. As neighbours, it has Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to its north, Pakistan to the south and southeast, China to its east and northeast, while Iran closes out its western border.

Kabul travel

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Its population of almost 27 million people is scattered across the totally mountainous country, with the majority in its few cities of note. Afghanistan is basically a bilingual country with Dari (Afghan Persian) the principal language at 50%, Pashtu 35%, followed by Turkic and various other languages that make up the rest. Dari and Pashtu are also the National languages. 99% of its population is Muslim, heavily biased towards the Sunni (84%) and 15% belong to the Shia sect. The remaining 1% includes Sikhs, Jews & Christians, mainly from India. Ethnically speaking, Pashtun comprises 38%, Tajik 25%, Hazara 19%, Uzbeks 6% and minor groups 12%.

Book Afghanistan Hotels

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Afghanistan is plagued by abject poverty, with the ongoing wars giving people little time to devote to any gainful vocation. Poverty considered, its economy falls into three basic sectors, agriculture at 53%, industry at 28.5% and services at 18.5%. Wheat, fruits and nuts may be grouped under its agricultural products, with wool, mutton and Karakul pelts in an undefined zone. Textiles, furniture, fertilizer, natural gas, cement, shoes, hand-woven carpets, oil and copper come under Industry, almost all of which is used domestically.

The vast Hindu Kush range of mountains barricade the northern part of the country from the rest. The Central Highlands, the Northern Plains and the Southwest Plateau make up the three different geographic regions of Afghanistan, with varying climate, altitude and underfoot soil. Of these three, the northern plains are suitable for agriculture, whereas the central and southern parts of the country are dry. Its climate fluctuates from cold to very cold winters, but summers are pleasantly hot. All in all, Afghanistan is a country best left out of your tourism itinerary. On paper, Afghanistan has thirty-four provinces, but factually, there is no such entity as a province, other than Kabul and Kandahar. Its major cities are its capital Kabul, Ghazni, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat. Kabul has mosques, museums, gardens and forts that have their individual history. The other cities are worth visiting, but not under the present unstable military conditions, even as the country repairs itself with international aid whilst handling the Taliban insurgency. Helmand, Kandahar and Oruzgan are the most hazardous places in Afghanistan due to the drug trade that plagues the country, but brings in money. The lax Puppet Government is reportedly corrupt to the core.

The national airlines, Ariana Afghan Airlines operates domestic flights between Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. International flights head for limited destinations, mainly Dubai, Frankfurt, Delhi and Istanbul. Rail and road services are limited. In better days, Afghani cuisine was delectable and accommodation plentiful. The situation is quite different now. Visitors to Afghanistan require a tourist visa. Its currency is the Afghani (AFA) and the exchange rate is 1US$=50 AFA . Afghan time is at GMT + 4.30 hours.

Date posted: 3rd July, 2018

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