Afghanistan is a land of high mountains, scorching deserts, rolling plains and fertile valleys. A landlocked country in Asia, it is bordered in the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (countries of the former Soviet Union). In the northeast is a narrow region called the Wakhan Corridor, which juts eastward to touch the borders of Pakistan, India and China. To the east and south lies Pakistan, while Iran lies to the west.
Despite significant progress since the Taliban were deposed in 2001, Afghanistan still faces daunting challenges - defeating an active insurgency, recovering from over two decades of civil strife, dealing with years of severe drought, and rebuilding a shattered infrastructure. Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO forces continue to combat Taliban and al-Qaida elements. Following successful presidential elections in October 2004, President Hamid Karzai was sworn in as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on December 7, 2004. Successful national Parliamentary elections were held on September 18, 2005, and the Parliament convened in late 2005. These political developments bode well for Afghanistan's future. Nonetheless, government ministries and institutions are in their infancy and the ability of the government to project law and order throughout the country is extremely limited. These institutions are still in the process of establishing policies and procedures to deal with the array of issues any government must address, as well as the extraordinary security, legal, commercial, and other infrastructure problems this country faces.
Official Languages: Pashto and Persian
Official Currency: Afghani
Afghanistan experiences four distinct seasons and sharp temperature contrasts according to time of day, season and elevation. Except at high elevations, summers are hot and dry; spring and autumn are rainier seasons, while winters are generally cold and snowy, with mountain areas receiving much snowfall. For more info go to: