- Country name : Afghanistan
- Official name : Islamic State of Afghanistan
- System of government : Parliamentary Islamic State
- National anthem :
- Area : 647,500 sq km
- Capital : Kabul
- Border countries : China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
- Population : 31 millions (2006)
- Language(s) : Pashto, Dari Persian, Turkmen and Uzbeki.
- Religions : Islam
>Afghanistan's economy is highly dependant on farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats).
>Largely substence crops include wheat and other grains, cotton, sugar beets, fruits and nuts.
>Afghanistan is essentially a pastoral country : only 12 percent of the total land area is arable.
>Mineral wealth is virtually undeveloped, except for natural gas, which is produced in exportable quantities.
>Industry is based mainly on agricultural and pastoral raw materials. The cotton textile industry is the most important.
>Paleolithic people probably roamed Afghanistan as early 100,000 B.C.
>Darius I (c. 500 B.C.) and Alexander the Great (c. 329-327 B.C.) were the first to use Afghanistan as the gateway to India.
>After Alexander's death (323 B.C.), the region at first was part of the Seleucid empire.
>Early 2d cent. B.C., Buddhism was introduced from the east by the Yüechi, who founded the Kushan dynasty.
>The Kushans declined (3d cent. A.D.) and were supplanted by the Sassanids, the Ephtalites and the Turkish Tu-Kuie.
>Islamic conquerors arrived in the 7th century, and Gengis Khan and Tamerlane followed in the 13th and 14th centuries.
>1747 : Ahmad Shah Sadozai Durani comes to power supported by Pashthun tribal council.
>In the 19th century, Afghanistan became a battleground in the rivalry of imperial Britain and czarist Russia for control of Central Asia.
>1839-42 : First Anglo Afghan war.
>1878-80 : Second Anglo Afghan War.
>1919 : The third Anglo Afghan war was ended by the Treaty of Rawalpindi, which gave Afghanistan full control over its foreign relations.
>1933 to 1973 : The long reign of Zahir Shah.
>1973 : Zahir Shah was overthrown by his cousin Mohammed Daoud who became president and prime minister.
>In 1978, Daoud was deposed by a group led by Noor Mohammed Taraki, who instituted Marxist reforms and aligned the country more closely with the Soviet Union.
>December 1979 : The Soviet Union marches into Afghanistan. The Soviets were met with fierce resistance from groups already energized by opposition to the government, calling themselves "Mujahedeen".
>Feb. 15, 1989 : The Russians finally withdraw. The Afghanistan war (1979-1989) has devastated the country and took an enormous human and economic toll.
>April 1992 : Occupation of Kabul by the Mujahedeens and declaration of an Islamic State. The victorious guerillas proved unable to unit. Afghanistan was in effect divided into several independant zones, each with its own ruler.
>September 1996 : The Taliban captured Kabul and declared themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan.