Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  • Geography: a landlocked country located in the center of the Asian continent; sits at an important geo-strategic location that connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which has been home to various peoples through the ages; the worlds 41st largest country (about the size of Texas), borders with Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the Far East
  • Religion: primarily Islam
  • After the 1978 Marxist revolution, the Soviet Union began a 10-year war in which over a million Afghans lost their lives. The Mujahidin insurgency generated by the Marxist government and the Soviet invasion signaled the first sustained entry of Islam into Afghan politics as the religion served as a force to unify the tribally divided multiethnic population.
  • Capital: Kabul (pop. 4.635 million)
  • Economy: an impoverished and underdeveloped country (one of the world’s poorest at 15th least developed in the world); unemployment rate of 35% and roughly the same percentage of its citizens live below the poverty line (42% live on less that $1/day)
  • Population: 32,564,342
  • Literacy rate: 38.2%
  • Official languages: Dari (Persian) and Pashto; Persian is the native tongue of various Afghan ethnic groups including the Tajiks, Hazaras, Aimaks and Kizilbash.  Pashto is the native tongue of the Pashtuns.
  • Climate: continental; harsh winters in the central highlands, the glaciated northeast (around Nuristan) and the Wakhan Corridor, where the average temperature in January is below −15 °C (5 °F) and hot summers in the low-lying areas of the Sistan Basin of the southwest, the Jalalabad basin in the east, and the Turkestan plains along the Amu River in the north, where temperatures average over 35 °C (95 °F) in July
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • An Islamic republic
  • President Ashram Ghani Ahmadzai (since 2014)
  • According to the 2010 Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, Afghanistan was ranked as the third most-corrupt country in the world.

Healthcare Statistics

  • Living conditions are extremely poor
  • Life expectancy: 50.87 years
  • Maternal mortality rate: 396/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 115.08/1,000 live births
  • Health expenditures: 8.1% GDP
  • The nation also has one of the highest incidences of people with disabilities, with an estimated one million handicapped people. About 80,000 citizens have lost limbs, mainly as a result of landmines.
  • One in five Afghan children die before their fifth birthday.
  • It was reported in 2006 that nearly 60% of the population lived within two hours walking distance of the nearest health facility, up from nine percent in 2002.
  • Physicians density: 0.27 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 0.5 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.04%
  • Infectious disease risk: intermediate
  • Infectious diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, rabies, avian influenza
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

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Images From the Field


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