The Afghanistan Portal

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Location of Afghanistan

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. Occupying 652,864 square kilometers (252,072 sq mi) of land, the country is predominantly mountainous with plains in the north and the southwest, which are separated by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Kabul is the country's largest city and serves as its capital. According to the World Population review, , Afghanistan's population is 40.2 million. The National Statistics Information Authority of Afghanistan estimated the population to be 32.9 million .

Human habitation in Afghanistan dates to the Middle Paleolithic era. Popularly referred to as the graveyard of empires, the land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Maurya Empire, Arab Muslims, the Mongols, the British, the Soviet Union, and a US-led coalition. Afghanistan also served as the source from which the Greco-Bactrians and the Mughals, amongst others, rose to form major empires. The various conquests and periods in both the Iranian and Indian cultural spheres made the area a center for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and later Islam. The modern state of Afghanistan began with the Durrani Afghan Empire in the 18th century, although Dost Mohammad Khan is sometimes considered to be the founder of the first modern Afghan state. Dost Mohammad died in 1863, days after his last campaign to unite Afghanistan, and Afghanistan was consequently thrown back into civil war. During this time, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the Great Game between the British Empire and the Russian Empire. From India, the British attempted to subjugate Afghanistan but were repelled in the First Anglo-Afghan War. However, the Second Anglo-Afghan War saw a British victory and the successful establishment of British political influence. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, Afghanistan became free of foreign political hegemony, and emerged as the independent Kingdom of Afghanistan in June 1926 under Amanullah Khan. This monarchy lasted almost half a century, until Zahir Shah was overthrown in 1973, following which the Republic of Afghanistan was established.

Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, including lithium, iron, zinc, and copper. It is the second largest producer of cannabis resin, and third largest of both saffron and cashmere. The country is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Due to the effects of war in recent decades, the country has dealt with high levels of terrorism, poverty, and child malnutrition. Afghanistan remains among the world's least developed countries, ranking 180th in the Human Development Index. Afghanistan's gross domestic product (GDP) is $81 billion by purchasing power parity and $20.1 billion by nominal values. Per capita, its GDP is amongst the lowest of any country . (Full article...)

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Afghanistan national cricket team at Rotterdam, 2010 ICC WCL Division One

Since their first match in 2009, 58 players have represented the Afghanistan national cricket team in One Day Internationals (ODIs). A One Day International is an international cricket match between two representative teams, each having ODI status, as determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC). An ODI differs from Test matches in that the number of overs per team is limited, and that each team has only one innings.

The Afghanistan Cricket Federation was formed in 1995, but cricket was banned by the Taliban until 2000. When the ban was lifted, the team experienced a "meteoric rise through international cricket". They were admitted to the ICC as an affiliate member in 2001, and in 2006 played and beat the Marylebone Cricket Club in Mumbai. Later in 2006 they toured England, winning six out of seven matches against county second XI teams. They joined the World Cricket League in 2008, winning Divisions Five and Four in their inaugural years, and the following year won Division Three. In 2009, Afghanistan narrowly missed out on a place in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, finishing fifth in the 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier. Their final position earnt them ODI status, and the opportunity to take part in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup. Their first ODI was the fifth-place play-off of the 2009 World Cup Qualifier against Scotland, which they won by 89 runs. (Full article...)
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Tulipa gesneriana, the national flower of Afghanistan


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