Afghanistan – Everything You Need To Know

Afghanistan is a state in the southwest of Central Asia. In the north, it borders with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, in the east with China, India (the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir) and Pakistan, in the south with Pakistan, in the west with Iran.

The name of the country comes from the name of the legendary ancestor of Afghans – Agan.

General information about Afghanistan
  • Official name: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  • Capital: Kabul
  • Area: 647.5 thousand km2
  • Total population: 28.4 million
  • Administrative division: The state is divided into 29 provinces (regions) and 2 districts of central subordination.
  • Form of government: Islamic state.
  • Head of state: President.
  • Composition of the population: 38% – Pashtuns, 25% – Tajiks, 19% – Khazars, 6% – Uzbeks.
  • State language: Pashto and Dari.
  • Religion: Islam (85% are Sunnis, 15% are Shiites).
  • Internet domain: .af
  • Mains voltage: ~ 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Country dialing code: +93

 

Climate

The climate of Afghanistan is continental (with significant temperature amplitudes), dry. Average temperatures (Celsius) of January on the plains range from 0 ° to 8 ° C (absolute minimum –25 ° C). The average July temperatures on the plains are 24–32 ° С, and the recorded absolute maximum temperature is + 45 ° С (in Girishka, Helmand province). In Kabul, the average July temperature is + 25 ° C, January – 3 ° C. Clear sunny weather is usually in the afternoon, and cool or cold at night.

The average annual rainfall is small: on the plains – about 200 mm, in the mountains – up to 800 mm. The rainy season on the plains of Afghanistan lasts from October to April. A specific humidification regime appears in the south-east of the country, where summer monsoons penetrate, bringing rainfall in July-August. Thanks to the monsoons, the annual rainfall reaches 800 mm. In the southwest, in Sistan, in some places, precipitation does not fall at all.

In the deserts and arid plains, dry westerly winds often bring sandstorms, while the difference in air temperatures in the lowlands and in the mountains, as well as their abrupt change, causes the formation of strong local winds.

 

Geography

Afghanistan is located on the eastern flank of Southwest Asia, between 60 ° 30 and 75 ° east longitude and 20 ° 21 and 38 ° 30 north latitude. It has no access to the sea. Distance to the nearest sea coast (Persian Gulf) – 500 km.

In the west, Afghanistan borders with Iran (820 km), in the south and east – with Pakistan (2060 km) and India (about 120 km), in the northeast for a short distance – with China (75 km), as well as with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. The area of ​​the country is 655 thousand square meters. Km

The length of the country from west to east 1350 km, and from north to south SV. 900 km. Afghanistan is a mountainous desert country located in the north-east of the Iranian Highlands, at its junction with the Central Asian mountain systems. In the north-east and in the center of it are highlands and mountain ranges of medium height, limited from the north, west and south by desert plains and plateaus.

Highlands occupy 80% of the country.

Mountains: mountain systems – Hindu Kush (height 4-6 thousand m), Paropamiz (height up to 4 thousand m), South Turkestan mountains (height up to 4 thousand m), Suleyman mountains (height 3700 m), high-mountain plateau Khazarajat (600-900 m). Plains – South Turkestan (along the left coast of the Amu Darya River to the Afghan-Iranian border), South Afghan.

Stony deserts – dashi (Dashti-Naumid, Dash-ti-Margot, etc.), which resemble the Sahara gammads, are typical for southern Afghanistan. Sometimes salt marsh clay deserts, Keira, are found. Examples of Kevirs in Afghanistan are the Namakzar and Gaudi-Zirra depressions. Along the Pakistani border stretches the sandy deserts of Garmsir and Registan. Areas with clay soil are widely represented, including takyrs, difficult to pass in rainy periods.

 

Flora and fauna

Flora world

The flora of Afghanistan is represented mainly by species of Iranian-Turanian origin, only in the extreme east, East Asian species begin to prevail. The total number of plant species in Afghanistan is at least 3.5 thousand, with the most richly represented families of Asteraceae, legumes, and cruciferous. The largest number of endemic species belongs to the genera Astragalus, Oxytropis. Ferula, cousin.

The vegetation of Afghanistan is very diverse due to the significant latitudinal extent of the country and the manifestation of altitudinal zonation. But almost everywhere, even in the southeastern region experiencing the influence of monsoons, the country’s vegetation is characterized by one common feature – the predominance of xerophytic, drought-resistant species.

An unfavorable combination of high summer temperatures with insufficient rainfall causes sparse vegetation. Desert ephemeral vegetation dominates on the plains, sedges and bluegrasses prevail in the northern part of the country, hodgepodge and wormwood prevail in the southern part, and colonists – wild bitter watermelons – are found. On the plateaus, the most common steppe vegetation is made of prickly pillows – astragalus, acantholimon, combined with juniper woodlands and sparse pistachio thickets.

In the dry, hilly steppes of the foothills of Northern Afghanistan, rich grassy vegetation develops during the growing season. There are abundant pastures and hayfields made from wheatgrass and bluegrass, in some places dominated by wormwood with sections of bulbous bluegrass, a lot of camel spines.

Forests (oak, Himalayan cedar, pine, spruce, fir) occupy less than 5% of the country’s area, mainly in the mountains, in the east. Forests have been preserved in inaccessible areas poorly provided with roads.

In a number of places in Afghanistan, the fishing of pistachios and edible nuts of the Gerard pine tree remains important. The latter resemble Siberian pine nuts but have an elongated shape. Toasted, they are sold at city bazaars. The population collects the fruits of wild shrubs: barberry, sea buckthorn, blackberry, hazel, rosehip, pomegranate. In the forests, walnut fruits are also harvested, rosin, resin, gum, honey, wax are harvested.

Fauna world

The fauna consists of the following species – ungulates (wild goats, rams, gazelles, saiga), carnivores (snow leopard, leopard, wolf, fox, jackal), rodents, birds, reptiles, insects.

Of the ungulates on the plains, the wild donkey Kulan, gazelles, saiga live. Boars graze in tugai and pistachios. Wild goats and rams live in the mountains, including a single-legged goat grazing on impregnable slopes, and the largest of the rams is argali, adorned with magnificent swirling horns.

Of the predators in the tugai thickets, there is a fox, a reed cat, in the tugai of the Amu Darya, a tiger is still preserved. There are bears in the forests of Nuristan. Wolves are common in all areas of Afghanistan. They are especially dangerous in winter, when in packs they descend from the mountains and penetrate into villages. Sheep herds suffer very much from wolves, to protect which local shepherds keep large dogs such as wolfhounds.

There are a lot of rodents in Afghanistan: porcupines, hares, jerboas, marmots, and field voles.

Some animals, in particular carnivores, are of commercial importance; their fur is exported. The population preys on ungulates mainly in the winter, when there is less fieldwork. The Muslim population considers Kabanov to be “unclean animals” and does not consume their meat. Wild boars cause great damage to the farm, destroying crops.

Afghanistan lies on important bird flight routes. Late autumn and early spring are the main seasons for catching birds, both waterfowl, common on the Sistan lakes and in the valleys of the North Afghan rivers (where there are also many pheasants), and birds of rocky habitats (partridges, bustards, desert chicken).

There are many reptiles in Afghanistan, among which there is a gray monitor lizard, up to 1.5 m long, poisonous snakes: cobra, gyurza, efa, etc.

Among the many insects, malarial mosquitoes deserve mention (the inhabitants of the Afghanistan-Turkestan Plain are especially affected by them), termites that severely damage wooden structures, and arachnids: scorpions, tarantulas, karakurt, phalanx, mite argizidae (spread of typhoid). Fields of Afghanistan are subject to devastating locust raids.

 

sights

Afghanistan is a very ancient country, first mentioned as part of Bactria in the chronicles of the VI century BC. e., when he was included in the Persian empire of the Achaemenids. Around 330 BC e. the territory of modern Afghanistan became part of the empire of Alexander the Great, after the death of which was ruled by Greek, Indian, Iranian, Arab and Mongol rulers, who were replaced by the British protectorate.

It was on this earth that Zoroastrianism arose, it was here, in the Bamyan valleys, that there was one of the centers of the formation of Buddhism, it was here that the Muslim cities of the classical period blossomed, which gave the world many wise men and poets. Therefore, the number of the most diverse historical monuments that this land keeps in itself is simply enormous.

Consisting of two huge mountain ranges, the Hindu Kush is one of the most magnificent and most beautiful mountain systems in the world. These beautiful mountains, valleys, and lakes have retained their original appearance and can be a great area for hiking and mountaineering.

 

Banks and Currency

The monetary unit of Afghanistan is afghani, equal to 100 pools.

 

Useful information for tourists

In view of the turbulent situation and the destruction during the fighting, the country is not popular with foreign tourists.