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Quick Facts:
 Full name: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
 Population: 33.4 million (UN, 2012)
 Capital and largest city: Kabul
 Area: 652,225 sq km (251,773 sq miles)
 Major languages: Dari, Pashto
 Major religion: Islam
 Life expectancy: 49 years (men), 49 years (women)
 Monetary unit: Afghani
 Main exports: Fruit and nuts, carpets, wool, opium
 Internet domain: .af
 International dialing code: +93
Flag of Afghanistan
 Black for the dark ages of the past,
 Red for the blood shed in the
independence struggle
 and Green for the hope and wealth of
the future.
 Its modified coat of arms includes the
Arabic inscriptions “Afghanistan”, “There
is no deity but God; Muhammad is the
messenger of God” and “God is Great.”
The coat of arms still includes a mosque,
two flags, and sheaves of wheat.
 Afghanistan has four seasons; spring, summer,
autumn and winter. The largest part of the country
has a dry continental climate with hot summers
and cold winters.
 In parts of the lowlands, especially in southern
and eastern Afghanistan, the summer
temperature can rise to 50⁰C, but stays around
20⁰C in the winter.
 In mountainous areas, winter temperatures may
dip to -25⁰C. In the higher mountain areas winter
temperatures may even be considerably lower
than that.
What are the differences between
Sunnis and Shiites?

 Their beliefs over who should have

succeeded the Prophet Muhammad is the
key theological difference between the
 Sunnis have a less elaborate religious
hierarchy than Shiites have.
 Shiites give human beings the exalted
status that is given only to prophets in
the Quran, often venerating clerics as
saints, whereas Sunnis do not.
Daily life and social customs
 Religion has long played a paramount role in the
daily life and social customs of Afghanistan. The
sale of alcohol was banned, and women were
pressured to cover their heads in public and
adopt traditional Muslim dress. But far more
stringent practices were imposed as the Taliban
 enforced its Islamic code in areas under its
control. These measures included banning
television sets and most other forms of
entertainment. Men who failed to grow beards
and leave them untrimmed were fined and jailed
—full beardedness being perceived by extremists
as the mark of a Muslim—and little mercy was
shown to convicted criminals.
The Arts and Cultural
 In music and dance, a revival of traditional folk
singing has gone hand in hand with the imitation
of modern Western and Indian music. Afghan
music is different from Western music in many
ways, particularly in its scales, note intervals,
pitch, and rhythm, but it is closer to Western
than to Asian music. Afghans celebrate their
religious or national feast days, and particularly
weddings, by public dancing. The performance of
the attan dance in the open air has long been a
feature of Afghan life. It became the national
dance of the Pashtun and then of the entire
 Under the Taliban regime, however, all
performances of music and dance—and
even listening to or watching the same
—were forbidden as un-Islamic.
 The largest bank in the country, the Bank of Afghanistan, became
the centre of the formal banking system. It formerly played an
important role in determining and implementing the country’s
financial policies. Traditionally, private money traders provide
nearly all the services of a commercial bank. The currency, the
afghani, underwent rampant inflation beginning in the 1990s, and
as a result precious metals and gems became a common form of
currency for large transactions. A sanction imposed in 1999 by the 
United Nations (UN) against the Taliban government froze
government accounts abroad and closed the few branches of 
Afghan banks outside the country. Despite these measures, the
Taliban and their al-Qaeda supporters (al-Qaeda is an Islamic
extremist group that found refuge under the Taliban) removed
large quantities of bullion and currency from Afghanistan during
the U.S. military campaign of 2001, virtually bankrupting the
 Total annual imports have customarily exceeded
exports. Prior to the fall of Afghanistan’s communist
regime, roughly two-thirds of exports went to the
former Soviet republics to the north. The Soviet state
was also the leading source of imports. The principal
export, natural gas, flowed mostly to the 
Soviet Union until pipelines were closed. Traditional
exports are dried fruits, nuts, carpets, wool, and
karakul pelts, and imports include vehicles, 
petroleum products, sugar, textiles, processed
animal and vegetable oils, and tea. Since the mid-
1990s Pakistan and Iran have served as the major
suppliers of consumer goods. Other major trade
partners include India, China, and the 
United Arab Emirates.
 Afghanistan’s financial sector
expanded rapidly in the decade that
followed the fall of the Taliban.
However, the banking system has been
plagued by corruption and fraud.
 The problem with Kabul’s air:
Latest report from the Health Effects
Institute’s State of Global Air project
estimates that air pollution was attributable
for 51,600 deaths in Afghanistan in 2016.
With an annual rate of 406 deaths per
100,000, its air pollution is among the worst
in the world. The report combines data on
PM2.5, ozone and indoor air pollution
associated with the combustion of solid fuels.