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AFGHANISTAN
Situated in the heart of Asia, Afghanistan has an area of 250,000 square miles and a population of 25 million1. Afghanistan is a landlocked country, bounded on the North by Tajekistan, Turkmania, and Kirghizia; on the Northeast corner by the Chinese province of Sinkiang; on the East and South by the Pashtoon areas of Chitral, Mohmand, Afridi, Waziri and Baluchistan; and on the west by Iran.

Afghanistan is the present geographical name of Ancient Aryana. The oldest records of the Aryans, the Vedas (1500 BC) and the Avesta of Zoroaster (600 BC) refer clearly to the land of the Aryana, around the ranges of the Hindukush, between the Oxus and Indus rivers.



Afghanistan has been an ancient crossroads and a melting post of different cultures and civilizations. The birthplace of Zoroaster is considered by many to be Balkh (Bactria), northern Afghanistan.

Alexander the Great invaded Afghanistan in 332 BC As was his custom, he built Alexandrias in many parts of the country. Later, one of his generals founded the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom in the north of Afghanistan which lasted two centuries.

Also from the area of Balkh came Rumi (Moulana), one of the most important poets in history. Rumi's poetry has had great influence on many people.

Buddhism began to penetrate Afghanistan around 250 BC and from the 1st century to the 7th, it flourished in one of its greatest centers in the beautiful valley of Bamiyan where today the two giant statues of Buddha (the tallest in the world) carved in the face of a cliff, are one of the wonders of the world2.

From the fusion of Greek and Buddhist art in Afghanistan, the famous "Greco-Buddhist" was born. The Kushand, the White Huns, and finally the Muslims, each in turn, have left their vestiges in the history of this land.


Make a Micro-Loan To An Afghani

Afghanistan is a land of sunshine with an extremely healthy climate and a great variety of delicious fruits, its grapes and melons and being some of the best in the world. With its four well-defined seasons, its famous historic and archeological sites, and its amazing local color, Afghanistan provides a fascinating and thrilling experience for every traveler.

• Language - Afghanistan is a bilingual country. The official languages are Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian (Farsi)). In Kabul and other larger cities, foreign languages are spoken.

• Religion - Islam is the religion of 99% of the Afghan people. Hindus, Sikhs and Jews form a small minority.

• Climate - Afghanistan has a healthy and agreeable climate. The average total rainfall is less than 10 inches per year. The average temperatures during a normal year are:
Spring (March, April, May) 12-13C. (55F.)
Summer (June, July August) 26-27C. (80F.)
Autumn (Sept., Oct., Nov.) 10-12C. (50F.)
Winter (Dec., Jan., Feb.) 7C. (20F.)

During the summer and autumn there is sunshine every day. In the winter there is usually snow once a week, otherwise clear, crisp skies. March and April are two rainy months. From the middle of man to the end of November, weather is excellent for travel, with September and October being the best because of the harvest.

• Sports - Buzkashi (dragging of goat) is one of the most popular equestrian sports. It is a remarkable feat of horsemanship performed by opposing teams of hardy riders, generally from northern Afghanistan. The game is such that a beheaded calf is paced in a circle, with the riders gathered around it. Upon the signal, the contestants riding swift nimble horses rush to pick up the goat from the ground and carry it to the end of the field, generally a distance of 400-500 meters and bring it back to the goal. The ensuing struggle, snatching and pulling the calf from each other becomes quite a spectacle. Some claim the sport of polo was derived from Buzkashi.

Wrestling, football (soccer), tennis, field hockey, archery, golf and track are other sports in Afghanistan.

• Holidays - similar to Iran's Islamic religious days and New Year (see Persian Culture)

• CIA Worldfact book Afghanistan page.

Map Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh (Bactria)
Kabul Ghazni
Kandahar
Bamiyan
Herat
more will be added...
Afghan Links & Resources


FOOTNOTES:
1. Current population unknown.
2. In 2001 AD the Taliban destroyed much of the Bamiyan Buddhist statues. Destroying historical artifacts in the name of religion is not new, it seems to happen everywhere in the world throughout history. Arabs in 640 AD destroyed the faces of carvings in Persepolis when they invaded Iran. See Bamiyan web page. Book on Taliban.

For the last 20+ years Afghanistan has suffered from wars and droughts. Some of the information on these web pages is outdated and we will be adding more up-to-date information. For years the Iranian government and people have allowed thousands of refugees into Iran to escape the hardships of Afghanistan. However you can help, your help is needed. Help Afghan Children.