The Afghanistan Portal

Location of Afghanistan
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. , its population is 40.2 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Kabul is the country's largest city and serves as its capital.

Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic era, and the country's strategic location along the historic Silk Road has led it to being described, picturesquely, as the ‘roundabout of the ancient world’. 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 most recently by an American-led coalition. Afghanistan also served as the source from which the Greco-Bactrians and the Mughals, among 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 throughout history.

Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan's history has been dominated by extensive warfare, including coups, invasions, insurgencies, and civil wars which would end twice with the victory of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban. In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Mujahideen fought against them in the Soviet–Afghan War and continued fighting amongst themselves following Soviet withdrawal in 1989. The Taliban controlled most of the country by 1996, but their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan received little international recognition before its overthrow in the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban returned to power in 2021 following Kabul's capture by the Taliban and the concurrent overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ending the 2001–2021 war. Although initially claiming to form an inclusive government for the country, the Taliban in September 2021 re-established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with an interim government made up entirely of Taliban members; the regime currently remains internationally unrecognized. (Full article...)

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Dahla Dam in Kandahar Province.jpg
Aerial view of the Dahla Dam in 2012

The Dahla Dam, also known as Arghandab Dam and Kasa, is located in the Shah Wali Kot District of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of the provincial capital Kandahar. Constructed in 1952, it is said to be the second largest dam in Afghanistan. As of 2019, the Afghan government is spending $450 million on making the dam more useful. The project includes raising the dam's walls by 12 meters so its reservoir can hold nearly a billion cubic meters of fresh water and installing three turbines for the production of 22 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The Dahla Dam is built on the Arghandab River which flows over a length of 250 miles (400 km). Over the years its reservoir was subject to siltation, and its canal system reduced irrigation benefits. This necessitated undertaking rehabilitation of the dam which involved desiltation works and pertinent components of the project to improve the water delivery system; this component was completed during March 2012 with assistance provided by Canada. The second phase involved raising the height of the dam and the relevant dykes to compensate for the loss of storage in its reservoir due to siltation, and to achieve the full benefits of irrigation for which the dam was originally built. (Full article...)
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Snow-covered mountains outside of the Salang Tunnel in Afghanistan


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