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Facts at a Glance
 Area: 652,000 sq km (251,739 sq mi)

Population: 26 million

Capital city: Kabul (pop 1.5 million)

People: Pashtun (38%), Tajik (25%), Hazara (19%), Uzbek (6%), other (12%)

Language: Afghan Persian (Dari; 50%), Pashtu (35%), Turkic (Uzbek and Turkmen; 11%); other (4%)

Religion: Sunni Muslim (84%), Shi'a Muslim (15%), Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Baha'i (1%)

Government: Interim government (22 Dec 2001 - 22 June 2002) appointed by the United Nations

Interim government chair: Hamid Karzai


Afghanistan's dramatic landscape encompasses a variety of biomes, from arid steppes to alpine fields. The seismically active mountains of the Hindu Kush, where most of the country's water falls as snow, are home to many plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth. The steppes and intermediary ecosystems are also of interest to the amateur biologist.

But, as with many places in the former USSR, land and water mismanagement led to the destruction of many of these unique natural habitats. While unruly Afghanistan was spared the worst of this trend - not even the Soviets wanted to risk a nuclear jihad - the constant, high-tech bloodshed of the last 20 years has left no environment undisturbed.

Unexploded artillery, landmines of every vicious sort and other implements of destruction are hidden in hill and vale; no one in their right mind would hike here without pushing a very large, very light metal detector in front of them.

Though Afghanistan's tough wildlife would likely recover given just a moment of peace, that moment doesn't seem like it's coming soon. Consider postponing your studies of Central Asian daisies for a few more years.

Economic Profile
 GDP: US$21 billion

GDP per head: US$800

Annual growth: unavailable

Inflation: unavailable

Major industries: Textiles and rugs, fruits and nuts, wool, cotton, fertilizer, soap, fossil fuels, gemstones

Major trading partners: FSU (Former Soviet Union), Pakistan, Iran, EU, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea

Facts for the Traveler
 At this time, we have no Facts for the Traveler information for Afghanistan.

Money & Costs

When to Go
 At this time, we have no When to Go information for Afghanistan.

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