Afghanistan Facts

Afghanistan Facts and History


Due to the Taliban regime, which had been in power in Afghanistan since 1996, and its overthrow in 2001 by the “Global Coalition Against Terror”, led by the USA and Great Britain, much of the Afghan infrastructure was destroyed.

This included the road network, entire city districts and also many cultural and historically valuable goods such as the large Buddha statues of Bamiyan from the 5th century, which were classified by the Taliban as un-Islamic in 2001 and as a result blown up, or the inventory of museums that was largely looted and destroyed.

Since 2004 Afghanistan again has a constitution and an elected president. Nonetheless, there are repeated attacks and unrest, especially against the American and English troops stationed there.

The German soldiers stationed there were also the target of attacks. Unfortunately, despite the overthrow of the Taliban, the situation of Afghan women has only improved slightly.

On September 4, 2009, two tank trucks hijacked by the Taliban were bombed by order of a German colonel. About 142 people were killed – including women and children. As a result of this bombing, the defense minister responsible at the time, who had meanwhile transferred to the labor ministry, resigned, and a state secretary and the inspector general of the German armed forces passed. The colonel was later promoted to general.

The Federal Foreign Office urgently advises against traveling to the country – because of the more than uneasy domestic political situation, the numerous terrorist attacks, but also because of the increased number of hostage-taking of foreigners.

Name of the country Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Form of government republic
Geographical location Central Asia, bordering Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Pakistan and Iran.
National anthem Sououd-e-Melli
Population approx. 30 million residents (Credit: Countryaah: Afghanistan Population)
Ethnicities approx. 38% Pashtuns, 25% Tajiks, 19% Hazara, 6% Uzbeks, 12% smaller ethnic groups
Religions 99% Muslims (84% Sunnis and 15% Shiites), only approx. 0.1% are Christians – with a decreasing tendency
Languages mainly Dari and Pashto as well as numerous other languages
Capital Kabul with an estimated 4.5 million residents
Surface 652,000 km²
Population an estimated 30 million
Highest mountain Nowshak at 7,485 m
Longest river Hilmend with a length of around 1,300 km
Largest lake Hamun-e-Saberi
International license plate AFG
Currency Afghani = 100 pulse
Difference to CET + 3.5 h
International phone code + 0093
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .af

Afghanistan: history

Until around the year 1000

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in AD 652, Arab troops invaded Afghan territory. From Bukhara to the north-west of India, the empire of the Ghaznavids with its center in Ghazni arose from 999 to 1030 under Mahmud the Great.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

In 1040 the Turkmen Seljuks defeated the Ghaznavids. However, the Seljuks were fought by the Ghorids, who came from the Ghor mountains, under the leadership of Alauddin Jahansuz, the “world burner”.

Among them, Islam prevailed as a formative element while Arab influence almost completely disappeared from Afghanistan. The Turkish ruler Khorezm Shah Mohammed II. conquered the empire of Ghor in 1208, but was driven out by the Mongols under Genghis Khan. These invaded the country and razed whole areas to the ground. The descendant of Genghis Khan, Ügedai, conquered other Afghan territories. The descendants of his troops are today’s Hazara tribe in central Afghanistan.

In 1370 Timur Leng, leader of a Turkic Mongol tribe, invaded Afghanistan. The people of Herat rebelled against Timur Leng in 1382, after which the city was destroyed. With the rule of Shah Ruch from 1405 to 1447, the heyday of the Timurid rule began in Herat.

In 1507 the Uzbeks from Bukhara and Samarkand conquered Herat and expelled the Timurids. Thereupon the Timurid Mohammed-ud-din, called Babur, moved to the northeast and conquered Kabul. However, Babur never really managed to rule the bellicose Pashtun tribes. He directed his urge to conquer east, towards Delhi, and in 1526 defeated the rulers of the Lodhi dynasty.

In the 17th century, Herat belonged to Persia and Kabul to India under the Shiite Saffavid dynasty. These two zones of influence met in Kandahar. From 1667 to 1672, Pashtun tribes, led by the Yussufzai tribe, rebelled against the army of the Mughal Empire of India.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

After the murder of the Turkmen Saffavid ruler Nadir Shah in Afghanistan in 1747, the leader of his bodyguard, Ahmad Durrani, managed to win the approval of the various tribes, the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Hazara in Kandahar. Ahmad Durrani then became Shah of Afghanistan. The beginning of the modern Afghan state is seen in the unification of the tribes under a state authority represented by a king.

From 1843 to 1863, Dost Mohammad founded Afghanistan as it is today.

In 1893 a treaty with England on the Durand Line was signed. Through this treaty, the eastern border was arbitrarily placed through the territory of the Pashtun tribes.

20th century until today

In 1919 the British protectorate over Afghanistan ended. In 1921 there was a friendship treaty between the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) and Afghanistan. Kabul then received financial and technical assistance from Moscow.

In 1931 Afghanistan became a constitutional monarchy, the division of British India took place in 1947. The Afghan government took the view that the population between the Afghan border and the Indus was Afghan and should decide for themselves who to join. Pakistan was against such self-determination plans (Pashtunistan), which led to border incidents with Pakistan from 1949 to 1950.

In 1952, US economic and technical assistance and military support ceased.

In 1955 there were renewed blockades by Pakistan due to the Pashtunistan question.

A bloodless coup in 1973 resulted in the overthrow of King Mohammad Zahir Shah. The republic was proclaimed and the former Prime Minister Daud was appointed president.

In 1978, however, there was a military coup against Daud. In the same year a treaty on “friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation” between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union was signed.

In 1979 the Soviet invasion followed, which ended in 1989 with the withdrawal of the Soviets.

The Taliban militia was established in 1993 with Pakistani support, and massive Taliban victories followed just a year later.

In 1996, the Taliban under Mullah Omar finally seized power in Kabul. Osama bin Laden and his organization Al Qaeda gained increasing influence on the politics of Mullah Omar.

In response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the “Global Coalition Against Terror”, led by the USA and Great Britain, attacked the Taliban and Al Qaeda and drove them to flight.

In January 2002 Hamid Karzai took over the interim government. In June of the same year a Loya Jirga (Grand Council Assembly) confirmed Karzai as President of the “ATA” (Afghan Transitional Authority).

In 2003/2004, a new constitution was passed at the constituent grand council (Constitutional Loya Jirga).

The first democratic election of a president took place on October 9, 2004, and Hamid Karzai emerged victorious with 55.4% of the valid votes cast.

Afghanistan Facts