Portal:Afghanistan

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The Afghanistan Portal

Flag of Afghanistan
Emblem of Afghanistan
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Afghanistan ( /æfˈɡænɪstæn, æfˈɡɑːnɪstɑːn/ ( About this sound listen); Pashto/ Dari: افغانستان, Pashto: Afġānistān [avɣɒnisˈtɒn, ab-], Dari: Afġānestān [avɣɒnesˈtɒn]), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a mountainous landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast. Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. Its population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

Humans lived in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Settled life emerged in the region 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus civilization ( Shortugai site), the Oxus civilization (Dashlyji site), and the Helmand civilization ( Mundigak site) of the 3rd millennium BCE. Indo-Aryans migrated through Bactria- Margiana area to Gandhara, followed by the rise of the Iron Age Yaz I culture (ca. 1500–1100 BCE), which has been closely associated with the culture depicted in the Avesta, the ancient religious texts of Zoroastrianism. The region, then known as " Ariana", fell to Achaemenid Persians in the 6th century BCE, who conquered the areas to their east as far as the Indus River. Alexander the Great invaded the region in the 4th century BCE, who married Roxana in Bactria before his Kabul Valley campaign, where he faced resistance from Aspasioi and Assakan tribes. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom became the eastern end of the Hellenistic world. Following the conquest by Mauryan Indians, Buddhism and Hinduism flourished in the region for centuries. The Kushan emperor Kanishka, who ruled from his twin capitals of Kapisi and Puruṣapura, played an important role in the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to China and Central Asia. Various other Buddhist dynasties originated from this region as well, including the Kidarites, Hephthalites, Alkhons, Nezaks, Zunbils and Turk Shahis. ( Full article...)

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ISAF military vehicle passing by an Afghan shepherd in Kapisa Province of Afghanistan in 2007.
Environmental issues in Afghanistan predate the political turmoil of the past few decades. Forests have been depleted by centuries of grazing and farming, practices which have only increased with modern population growth. In Afghanistan, environmental conservation and economic concerns are not at odds; with over 44% of the population dependent on herding or farming, the welfare of the environment is critical to the economic welfare of the people. In 2007, the World Health Organization released a report ranking Afghanistan as the lowest among non-African nations in deaths from environmental hazards. ( Full article...)
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Mountains and River in Faryab province.jpg

A view of Faryab Province, Afghanistan, 2009

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