Afghanistan Population: 33,332,025

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 History
Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 communist countercoup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-communist mujahidin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Usama BIN LADIN. A UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan, and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was reelected in August 2009 for a second term. The 2014 presidential election was the country's first to include a runoff, which featured the top two vote-getters from the first round, Abdullah ABDULLAH and Ashraf GHANI. Throughout the summer of 2014, their campaigns disputed the results and traded accusations of fraud, leading to a US-led diplomatic intervention that included a full vote audit as well as political negotiations between the two camps. In September 2014, GHANI and ABDULLAH agreed to form the Government of National Unity, with GHANI inaugurated as president and ABDULLAH elevated to the newly-created position of chief executive officer. The day after the inauguration, the GHANI administration signed the US-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement, which provide the legal basis for the post-2014 international military presence in Afghanistan. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, the Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force despite its last two spiritual leaders being killed; it continues to declare that it will pursue a peace deal with Kabul only after foreign military forces depart.

 Geography
Landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
Location: Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
Geographic coordinates: 33 00 N, 65 00 E
Area: total: 652,230 sq km
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Size comparison: almost six times the size of Virginia; slightly smaller than Texas
Land Boundaries: total: 5,987 km border countries (6): China 91 km, Iran 921 km, Pakistan 2,670 km, Tajikistan 1,357 km, Turkmenistan 804 km, Uzbekistan 144 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones, arable land
Land use: agricultural land: 58.1% arable land 11.9%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 46% forest: 2.1%
other: 39.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 32,080 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Current Environment Issues: limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
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 People
Nationality: noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, other (includes smaller numbers of Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, Pashai, and Kyrghyz) note: current statistical data on the sensitive subject of ethnicity in Afghanistan is not available, and ethnicity data from small samples of respondents to opinion polls are not a reliable alternative; Afghanistan's 2004 constitution recognizes 14 ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, and Pashai (2015)
Languages: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism, but Dari functions as the lingua franca note: the Turkic languages Uzbek and Turkmen, as well as Balochi, Pashai, Nuristani, and Pamiri are the third official languages in areas where the majority speaks them
Religions: Muslim 99.7% (Sunni 84.7 - 89.7%, Shia 10 - 15%), other 0.3% (2009 est.)
Population: 33,332,025 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.03% (male 6,947,939/female 6,728,983)
15-24 years: 22.49% (male 3,816,369/female 3,678,657)
25-54 years: 30.01% (male 5,095,905/female 4,907,019)
55-64 years: 3.9% (male 640,813/female 660,121)
65 years and over: 2.57% (male 396,124/female 460,095) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 87%
youth dependency ratio: 82.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.6%
potential support ratio: 21.7% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 18.6 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.34% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 38.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 13.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 26.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: KABUL (capital) 4.635 million (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 20.1 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 396 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 112.8 deaths/1,000 live births male: 120.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 105 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.3 years male: 49.9 years
female: 52.7 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.22 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 21.2% (2010/11)
Health expenditures: 8.2% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.27 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density: 0.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 78.2% of population
rural: 47% of population
total: 55.3% of population

unimproved:
urban: 21.8% of population
rural: 53% of population
total: 44.7% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 45.1% of population
rural: 27% of population
total: 31.9% of population

unimproved:
urban: 54.9% of population
rural: 73% of population
total: 68.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.04% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 6,900 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 300 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 2.4% (2014)
Education expenditures: 3.4% of GDP (2015)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38.2%
male: 52%
female: 24.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years male: 13 years
female: 8 years (2014)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan
local short form: Afghanistan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
etymology: the name "Afghan" originally referred to the Pashtun people (today it is understood to include all the country's ethnic groups), while the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country"; so Afghanistan literally means the "Land of the Afghans"
Government type: presidential Islamic republic
Capital: name: Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul
Independence: 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
National holiday: Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
Constitution: several previous; latest drafted 14 December 2003 - 4 January 2004, signed 16 January 2004, ratified 26 January 2004; note - a provision in the constitution prohibits changes until 2020 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai (since 29 September 2014); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai (since 29 September 2014 ); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014 ); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet consists of 26 ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held in 2 rounds on 5 April and 14 June 2014 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote in first round - Abdullah ABDULLAH (National Coalition of Afghanistan) 45%, Ashraf GHANI (independent) 31.6%, Zalmai RASSOUL 11.4%, other 12%; percent of vote in second round - Ashraf GHANI 56.4%, Abdullah ABDULLAH 43.6%
Legislative branch: description: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats; 34 members indirectly elected by district councils to serve 3-year terms, 34 indirectly elected by provincial councils to serve 4-year terms, and 34 nominated by the president of which 17 must be women, 2 must represent the disabled, and 2 must be Kuchi nomads; members serve 5-year terms) and the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (249 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms) note: the constitution allows the government to convene a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it consists of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils; no constitutional Loya Jirga has ever been held, and district councils have never been elected; the president appointed 34 members of the Meshrano Jirga that the district councils should have indirectly elected

elections: the Wolesi Jirga’s five-year term expired in 2015, but the president extended its term by decree until elections can be held

election results: results by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the supreme court chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans) judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms

subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Political parties and leaders: note - the Ministry of Justice licensed 67 political parties as of September 2015
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: religious groups, tribal leaders, ethnically based groups, Taliban
International organization participation: ADB, CICA, CP, ECO, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNAMA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): lion; national colors: red, green, black
National anthem: name: "Milli Surood" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA

note: adopted 2006; the 2004 constitution of the post-Taliban government mandated that a new national anthem should be written containing the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan's ethnic groups
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hamdullah MOHIB (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6410
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador P. Michael MCKINLEY (since 22 December 2014)
embassy: Bibi Mahru, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806
telephone: [00 93] 0700 108 001
FAX: [00 93] 0700 108 564
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 Economy
Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government's difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan's living standards are among the lowest in the world. The international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $67 billion at nine donors' conferences between 2003 and 2010. In July 2012, the donors at the Tokyo conference pledged an additional $16 billion in civilian aid through 2015. Despite this help, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure. Afghanistan's growth rate slowed markedly in 2014-15. The drawdown of international security forces that started in 2014 has negatively affected economic growth, as a substantial portion of commerce, especially in the services sector, has catered to the ongoing international troop presence in the country. Afghan President Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai is dedicated to instituting economic reforms to include improving revenue collection and fighting corruption. However, the reforms will take time to implement and Afghanistan will remain dependent on international donor support over the next several years.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $64.08 billion (2016 est.) $62.82 billion (2015 est.) $62.35 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $18.4 billion (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2% (2016 est.) 0.8% (2015 est.) 1.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,000 (2016 est.) $2,000 (2015 est.) $2,000 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 23.4% of GDP (2016 est.) 23.3% of GDP (2015 est.) 20% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 108.6%
government consumption: 12.8%
investment in fixed capital: 18.2%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 6.6%
imports of goods and services: -46.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 108.6%
government consumption: 12.8%
investment in fixed capital: 18.2%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 6.6%
imports of goods and services: -46.2% (2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins, poppies
Industries: small-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (2014 est.)
Labor force: 7.983 million (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 78.6%
industry: 5.7%
services: 15.7% (FY08/09 est.)
Unemployment rate: 35% (2008 est.) 40% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: 35.8% (2011 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 24% (2008)
Budget: revenues: $1.7 billion
expenditures: $6.639 billion (2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 9.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year: 21 December - 20 December
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2016 est.) -1.5% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: $827 million (2016 est.) $925 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $658 million (2014 est.) $2.679 billion (2013 est.) note: not including illicit exports or reexports
Exports - commodities: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Exports - partners: India 42.3%, Pakistan 29%, Tajikistan 7.6% (2015)
Imports: $7.004 billion (2014 est.) $12.19 billion (2013 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Pakistan 38.6%, India 8.9%, US 8.3%, Turkmenistan 6.2%, China 6%, Kazakhstan 5.9%, Azerbaijan 4.9% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $6.232 billion (31 December 2015 est.) $6.681 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external: $1.28 billion (FY10/11) $2.7 billion (FY08/09)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: afghanis (AFA) per US dollar - 61.14 (2016 est.) 61.14 (2015 est.) 61.14 (2014 est.) 57.25 (2013 est.) 46.45 (2010)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 4.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 3.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 600,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 35.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 64.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 130,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 127,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 159.6 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 159.6 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 7.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 19.709 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 61 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: limited fixed-line telephone service; an increasing number of Afghans utilize mobile-cellular phone networks

domestic: aided by the presence of multiple providers, mobile-cellular telephone service continues to improve rapidly; the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information claims that more than 90 percent of the population live in areas with access to mobile-cellu

international: country code - 93; multiple VSAT's provide international and domestic voice and data connectivity (2012)
Broadcast media: state-owned broadcaster, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), operates a series of radio and television stations in Kabul and the provinces; an estimated 150 private radio stations, 50 TV stations, and about a dozen international broadcasters are available (2007)
Internet country code: .af
Internet users: total: 2.69 million percent of population: 8.3% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 43 (2016)
Airports (paved runways): total 25
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 18

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2016)
Heliports: 9 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 466 km (2013)
Roadways: total 42,150 km
paved: 12,350 km
unpaved: 29,800 km (2006)
Waterways: 1,200 km; (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2011)
Ports and terminals:
river port(s): Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
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 Military
Military branches: Afghan National Security Forces: Afghan National Army (includes Afghan Air Force), Afghan National Police, Afghan Local Police (2016)
Military service age and obligation: 18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2016)
Military expenditures: 28.09% of GDP (2016) 4.74% of GDP (2011)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps and since 2014 have met to discuss collaboration on the Taliban insurgency and counterterrorism efforts; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey; Iran protests Afghanistan's restricting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Russia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 257,523 (Pakistan) (2015) IDPs: 1,174,306 (mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis displaced in the south and west due to drought and political instability) (2015)
Illicit drugs: world's largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 7 percent, to a record 211,000 hectares in 2014 from 198,000 hectares in 2013, while eradication dropped sharply; relatively low opium yields due to poor weather kept potential opium production - 6,300 metric tons - below the record set in 2007; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; illicit cultivation of cannabis and regional source of hashish
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