200 Amazing Facts About Afghanistan


Afghanistan

200 Interesting Facts About Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan’s national holiday is on August, 19.
  • Literacy rate in Afghanistan is 43%.
  • Noshaq (7,492 meters or 24,580 ft) is the highest point in Afghanistan.
  • Helmand is the longest river in Afghanistan.
  • Afghan rugs are very popular around the world.
  • The average life expectancy at birth in Afghanistan is 53.25 years (2021).
  • Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is its largest city.
  • About half of the country’s residents have access to the internet.
  • The Hindu Kush is the tallest mountain in the country, and it measures in at over 18,000 feet.
  • Modern Afghanistan was founded in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani.
  • Meals in Afghanistan are served with naan, an unleavened, flat bread
  • Afghans drive on the right side of the road.
  • Just under 12% of Afghanistan’s land is arable.
  • Each year, Afghanistan sees over 300 days of sunshine
  • The world’s two largest Buddha statues once stood in Afghanistan. However, they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
  • In the Afghan city of Herat, Thursday nights are poetry nights, where men, women, and children gather to recite and listen to poetry.
  • Afghanistan is a landlocked country that shares its borders with six other countries.
  • Afghanistan is a landlocked country. Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, 
  • Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in Southern Asia bordering China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • It is believed that Afghanistan has been inhabited for along as 100,000 years – since Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) times.
  • The earliest evidence of human occupation, the remains of a Neanderthal skull, date to around 30,000 years ago.
  • About 33% of the population marries by the age of 18.
  • Afghanistan literally means the “Land of the Afghans”. “Afghan” was originally referred to the Pashtun people and the suffix “-stan” means “place of” or “country”.
  • Kandahar airfield was once the busiest single-runway airstrip in the world when it handled 1,700 to 5,000 flights a week. Here NATO installed its first complete air traffic capability in a non-NATO country.
  • World’s largest Buddhas (two of these) were first built in Afghanistan. These statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
  • The world’s first oil paintings were drawn in the caves of “Bamiyan” around 650BC.
  • There is only one Jewish person living in Afghanistan. His name is Zablon Simintov and he is a restaurateur and an Afghan carpet trader. He was born in 1959.
  • Dari and Pushtu are the official languages of Afghanistan, but Turkish dialects are also spoken in some regions.
  • The most common foreign language spoken in the country is English.
  • There are at least 14 tribes found in Afghanistan.
  • The official religion of Afghanistan is Islam. Ninety-nine percent of Afghans practice Islam.
  • Since most Afghans are Muslims, they don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.
  • The new year in Afghanistan is celebrated on March 21, which is the first day of spring.
  • Afghanistan's government is a presidential Islamic republic, meaning that it is officially ruled by Islamic laws.
  • Fasting and praying is mandatory during Ramadan. Some exceptions are for foreigners, people who are sick, and people who are traveling.
  • Even though foreigners do not have to fast during Ramadan, they are still forbidden from eating, drinking, chewing gum, and smoking in public.
  • During Ramadan, the work day is reduced to six hours.
  • Family is very important to Afghans. After marriage, a son and his wife traditionally stay in the family home, in a separate room.
  • Afghan women are expected to dress modestly. Revealing clothing should not be worn, and most women wear headscarves.
  • While handshakes are a common greeting, it is rare and unusual for men and women to shake hands with each other.
  • In Afghanistan, men and women also avoid eye contact as much as possible.
  • Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan is believed to be the busiest single runway airstrip in the world.
  • Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China border Afghanistan from all sides.
  • The people of Afghanistan are called Afghans and their currency is Afghanis. Most of the time, people get confused between the use of these two terms.
  • Agriculture is the main source of income for Afghans. Afghanistan is also rich in natural resources like natural gas and oil.
  • “Buzkashi” is Afghanistan’s national game. Players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding a horse. This game is being played for centuries and is a tough sport.
  • Afghanistan became independent on August 19, 1919. They fought three wars with Britain after which they declared themselves independent. They were not directly ruled by the British but their foreign affairs were influenced by the United Kingdom.
  • In most of the cases, the family lives together in the same house. Upon marriage, the son and his wife live separately in a different room in the house under the same roof.
  • Hospitality plays a significant role in the country’s culture and tradition. The visitors are treated with the utmost respect and are offered the best that the household has.
  • Women are highly respected in society and are not expected to mix with the members of the opposite sex, except out of marriage or direct family relations.
  • Women are also expected to wear clothes that honor their modesty and are not revealing. Tight clothes and western dresses are not much welcomed in society, at least in rural areas. Headscarves for women are advisable.
  • Direct eye contact between men and women is not considered acceptable and must be avoided.
  • Thirty-six percent of Afghanistan’s population live below the federal poverty line.
  • Sometimes, the people of Afghanistan are mistakenly called Afghanis. This is actually the country’s currency. The people of Afghanistan are known as Afghans.
  • Buzkashi is the national game of Afghanistan. This challenging game requires players to catch a goat while riding a horse.
  • The caves of Bamiyan in Afghanistan were home to the world’s first oil paintings.
  • The percentage of Afghans that have access to electricity is one of the lowest in the world.
  • Even though electricity may be scarce, 18 million Afghans own and use mobile phones.
  • Poetry is a big part of Afghanistan’s culture and has been a part of its history for over 1,000 years.
  • Afghan rugs are a popular export that are found in homes around the world.
  • Hamid Karzai was the country’s first democratically elected president. He was voted into office in 2004.
  • The country is the world’s largest supplier of opium.
  • Afghanistan is attempting to rebuild its economy following years of instability and invasions.
  • At least 9 million people in the country are unable to read and write, making Afghanistan one of the most illiterate countries in the world.
  • UNICEF data show that about 25% of children are involved in child labor, primarily because of the high rates of poverty.
  • Under the Taliban’s rule, girls and women were not allowed to attend school in Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan’s most famous historic city Herat. Herat has been at the centre of much of Afghanistan’s history and is considered its “cultural heart” today with its Great Mosque considered one of Islam’s great buildings.
  • Afghanistan was a busy section of the Silk Road, the ancient network of trade routes that connected China with the West, as the high mountain passes allowed for passage across Asia.
  • Afghanistan is famous for its poetry with one epic poem called Shahnameh, written over 1,000 years ago, compared to Homer’s Odyssey.
  • Kite flying is a popular pastime in Afghanistan. However, kite flying is competitive with the objective of a kite fight to cut the other opponent flier’s string with your own and send it crashing to the ground.
  • Afghanistan is home to the endangered snow leopard. Snow leopards live in the high, rugged mountain landscapes above 3,000m.
  • In post-war Afghanistan around 2004, bodybuilding became extremely popular with Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming a role model in Kabul as young men strived to emulate him.
  • Afghanistan is among the nine most dangerous countries in the world according to the 2021 International SOS Travel Risk Map. It has been assessed as carrying an ‘extreme travel security risk’.
  • Additionally, according to the UK Foreign Office, Afghanistan is one of 17 countries deemed to be entirely unsafe for tourists to visit.
  • Afghanistan has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of which is the 65m-tall Minaret of Jam dramatically located in a deep river valley between mountains. The ornately decorated minaret dates from the 12th century.
  • Afghanistan’s other UNESCO site is the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley. The site was once home to the world’s two largest standing Buddhas. The “Buddhas of Bamiyan” stood at 38m and 55m respectively and were carved into the side of a cliff.
  • Tragically, the 1,700-year-old statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Anti-aircraft guns, tanks and eventually, dynamite was used in its destruction. The Taliban attempted to eradicate all non-Islamic statues in the country.
  • The world’s first oil paintings originated in Afghanistan, hundreds of years before oil paint was used in Europe. Paintings, dating from the 7th century AD, were discovered in the caves behind the Buddha in Bamiyan statues.
  • Afghanistan is one of the world’s hungriest countries and suffers from “serious” levels of hunger according to the 2021 Global Hunger Index.
  • Afghans celebrate their new year, Nowruz, on 21 March, the first day of spring.
  • One of the most famous images of Afghanistan was this 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine. The image of 12-year-old-refugee Sharbat Gula was taken during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan after she became orphaned at age six. She spent three decades as a refugee in Pakistan before finally returning to Afghanistan in 2016.
  • Britain repeatedly tried to conquer Afghanistan during a series of conflicts known as the Anglo-Afghan Wars: 1839–42; 1878–80; 1919.
  • In 1842, a 16,000-strong Anglo-Indian army was famously defeated by Afghan forces in the Khyber Pass. Only one man managed to escape the massacre.
  • The flag of Afghanistan has black, red and green vertical stripes and a central coat of arms. Black represents the dark ages of the past, red for the bloodshed in the independence struggle, and green for the hope and wealth of the future.
  • During the 20th century, Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag than any other country. The flag was changed up to 19 times!
  • Afghanistan’s coat of arms includes the Arabic inscriptions “Afghanistan”, “There is no deity but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God” and “God is great”. It also includes a mosque, two flags, sheaves of wheat and the date 1298 in the Islamic calendar (1919 in the Gregorian), the year Afghanistan achieved independence.
  • Afghanistan is estimated to be inhabited by humans at least 50,000 years ago.
  • Arab Muslims spread the religion of Islam in Afghanistan in 642 CE in Herat and Zarang. They recognized Afghanistan as Al Hind (due to Afghanistan’s proximity to India.)
  • Buddhism and Zoroastrianism were dominant religions in Afghanistan before the introduction of Islam.
  • Genghis Khan and his Mongol army spread rapidly in Afghanistan in 1219 AD.
  • hmad Shah Durrani, also known as “the Father of the Nation”, is the founder of the last Afghan empire. He was crowned in 1747. He consolidated the country from principalities and fragmented provinces into one kingdom.
  • After the death of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1772, his son, Timur Shah succeeded him.
  • Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan, was declared the national language of Afghanistan during the beginning of the reign of Zahir Shah.
  • Dari (Persian), the other official language was always used for government and business purposes.
  • An estimated 35% of the population of the country speaks Pashto while 50% of the population speaks Dari.
  • Today, as Islam is a dominant religion in Afghanistan, the culture is heavily influenced by the religion of peace and monotheism.
  • In Afghanistan, most of the shops and businesses are closed on Friday, which is the Islamic holy day.
  • The legal, political, economic and personal lives of the Afghans is governed by Islamic laws.
  • The host does their best to serve the best possible food, and special attention is paid to fill the visitor’s plate when it is empty.
  • While consuming food, it is also a norm to sit in a respectable position and not with your feet facing people or your legs outstretched.
  • Marriage is considered an important element of one’s life in Afghanistan. Divorce is rare and is not much welcomed in society.
  • Polygamy is permissible in Afghanistan however it is rare. Many of the marriages are consummated between cousins.
  • Marriages are three-day lavish ceremonies during which a marriage contract is signed and the couple is brought together.
  • Living together in a common house is encouraged but never forced. Depending on the financial condition or personal preference, the sons of the family can live separately or with his father, mother and other siblings.
  • The total area of Afghanistan is 652,230 sq km.
  • Afghanistan has been in news more than any country in the last decade.
  • New Year is celebrated by Afghans on 21st March. They call it “Nawroz”. It is a pre-Islamic festival which is celebrated by a gathering of thousands of travelers from across Afghanistan to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. There is a mosque in the center of the city. It is known as the Blue Mosque or ‘the Shrine of Hazrat Ali’ the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).
  • Mobile phone coverage is available in more than 90% of the country. Mobile phones are status symbols.
  • They celebrate poetry night on Thursdays in the western city of Herat. People of all age groups gather there to share modern and ancient verses of poetry and indulge in some nice food along with some sweet tea.
  • Alexander the Great captured the city of Herat in 330BC and built its ancient citadel. Alexander had a son with a beautiful woman from the province of Balkh in Afghanistan.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is the poster boy in many of the muscle building centers in Afghanistan. They say he (Arnold Schwarzenegger) looks like an Afghan.
  • There has been 300% increase in Opium cultivation in Afghanistan in 2013 when compared to the last seven years before the U.S. invasion. Afghanistan was once the largest producer of cannabis.
  • Afghanistan has been a war-torn country for decades and has been under the military influence of many powers including Soviet, British, Mongols, Muslim Arabs, Mauryas, Alexandra the Great, and in the recent times under western powers.
  • In 1776, Timur Shah transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul.
  • A civil war took place in the country between 1992 and 1996, and it is estimated that at least 50,000 people died in the country in mujahidin infightings during the civil war.
  • The Taliban (a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan) also ruled the country for almost 5 years between 1996 and 2001.
  • In 2004, Hamid Karzai became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan.
  • After the September 2001 attack on the United States allegedly carried by the Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda forces, a U.S and U.K coalition launched a military attack on the major cities of Afghanistan including Kabul, against the Taliban regime.
  • The term Afghanistan translates to “the land of Afghans”.
  • Afghanistan is also the land of many historical sites. And it is the 37th most populous country in the world.
  • Afghanistan’s location on the silk route gave it various economic and cultural advantages.
  • Afghanistan is considered as the place of origin of the religion Zoroastrianism.
  • Fasting and praying during the month of Ramadan is a mandatory act except for a few such as foreigners, and those who are sick, traveling or having some other issues.
  • The family is an important aspect of Afghanistan’s culture. Men are laden with the responsibility to earn while women are expected to stay home and serve the family. However, in modern Afghanistan, you may also find some women working in the cities and earning a living for themselves and their families.
  • Gifts are a means of strengthening the relationship between a visitor and his/her host. The visitors can carry a small gift for the host when invited for tea or food.
  • Afghanistan is a multicultural and multi-ethnic country.
  • In the past few years, an estimated 2.6 million Afghans left their home country and sought refuge in others.
  • A handshake is the most usual form of greeting in Afghanistan’s culture. Some people also place their hand on their heart and nod slightly to show respect and approval to the other party. However, shaking hands between the members of the opposite sex is not usual and is avoided.
  • Food is generally served on the floor, on clothes made from various materials. Making use of the right hand while eating the food is the norm, and the food is generally shared from the same dish unless required otherwise.
  • Dari Persian and Pashto are official languages of Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan is inhabited by – 80% Sunni Muslim, 19% Shia Muslim and 1% others.
  • The total GDP of Afghanistan is $21.06 billion, with a per-capita amount of $1,900. Fifty-six percent of the country's GDP comes from services, with 22% from both agriculture and industry.
  • Afghanistan's main agricultural products include opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins, and poppies.
  • Afghanistan's living standards are among some of the worst in the world and is highly dependent on foreign aid.
  • Afghanistan spends 0.89% of its GDP on military spending.
  • Just 10.6% of Afghanistan's population has access to the internet.
  • At 250,000 square miles, Afghanistan is roughly the size of the state of Texas.
  • Fifteen percent of the population were married by the age of 15, according to UNICEF data.
  • Afghanistan achieved independence from the United Kingdom on August 19th, 1919 following the Third Anglo-African War.
  • Afghanistan was first settled over 9,000 years ago.
  • Many shops and businesses are closed on Friday, which is considered a holy day in Afghanistan.
  • Arranged marriages are common in Afghanistan, and factors including wealth, status, and tribe are taken into consideration when making a pairing.
  • Defending a person’s honor is a cause for violence in Afghanistan. It is not uncommon for someone to retaliate when they or their family has been dishonored.
  • Popular Afghan dishes include a steamed dumpling known as manti, and rice cooked in broth that is called palao.
  • Snow leopard, red flying squirrel, corsac fox, and desert hedgehog are just some of the animals that call Afghanistan home.
  • Alexander the Great conquered most of Afghanistan around 330 BC where he married Roxanne (also known as Roxana).
  • Afghanistan was invaded by the USSR in 1979 and mired in a ten-year conflict between various mujahideen groups and Soviet forces.
  • Following the USSR withdrawal, Afghanistan was embroiled in a devastating civil war that saw the Taliban take power and impose strict Islamic rule.
  • Afghanistan was again invaded in 2001, this time by a US-led coalition following the September 11 attacks on the USA. Foreign troops remain in Afghanistan due to a Taliban resurgence after the war officially ended in 2014.
  • Afghanistan’s national game is buzkashi, also known as “goat-grabbing”. The game is played by two teams of horseback riders (similar to polo) who compete over a headless, freshly slaughtered goat.
  • Afghanistan suffers from some of the world’s worst air pollution. A recent analysis suggests it has the world’s seventh-highest death rate from air pollution.
  • During the 13th century, Afghanistan was also conquered by Genghis Khan and was incorporated into the Mongol empire.
  • Afghanistan is by far the world’s largest producer of opium. According to the US military, 90% of the world’s heroin is made from opium grown in Afghanistan.
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