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د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت ( Pashto )
Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat
جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان ( Dari )
Jumhuri-ye Islāmi-ye Afgh
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Flag of Afghanistan
Coat of arms of Afghanistan
flag emblem
Motto : لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
Laa ilaha illa llāh Muhammadun rasūlu llāh.
( Arabic  for "There is no god but God and Mohammed is the messenger of God.", see Schahāda )
Official language Pashtun and Dari (Persian)
Capital Kabul
Form of government Islamic Republic
Government system Presidential system
Head of state , also head of government President
Ashraf Ghani
surface 652,864 km²
population 34,940,837 (estimate, as of July 2018)
Population density 52 inhabitants per km²
Population development + 2.4% (2018) per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nom.)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (Nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 19.63 billion ( 116. )
  • $ 72.96 billion ( 102. )
  • 545 US $ ( 182. )
  • US $ 2,025 ( 177. )
Human Development Index   0.496 ( 170th ) (2018)
currency Afghani (AFN)
founding 1747 (creation of the Durrani Empire , the predecessor state of modern Afghanistan)
independence August 19, 1919
(by the United Kingdom ; in fact never colonized)
National anthem Milli Tharana
National holiday August 19
(Independence Day)
Time zone UTC + 4: 30 , UTC
License Plate AFG
ISO 3166 AF , AFG, 004
Internet TLD .af
Telephone code +93
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Afghanistan ( Pashtun and Persian افغانستان, DMG Afġānistān , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ) is a landlocked country in South Asia at the interface between South and Central Asia , which borders Iran , Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan , Tajikistan , the People's Republic of China and Pakistan . Three quarters of the country consist of inaccessible mountain regions.

After the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979, mujahideen - funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia - defeated the Soviet-backed government. However, the division of power failed due to rivalries; the fundamentalist Islamic-oriented Taliban militias came to power and pushed through a radical interpretation of Islam and, in particular, Sharia law with all severity. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States , the Taliban regime, which had sheltered members of terrorist organizations, was overthrown in the largely American-led war on terror . Since then, this war has dominated events.

The country has been an Islamic republic since 2004 . Hamid Karzai was President of Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014 . After the 2014 presidential election , Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner and sworn in as head of state on September 29, 2014 .


The name Afghanistan literally means land of Afghans . The Persian suffix -stan goes back to the Indo-Iranian expression for place or place where one stands . The word Afghan is not to be understood in the modern sense as a citizen of Afghanistan , but refers specifically to the people and the tribes of the Pashtuns , who are referred to in the Persian-speaking area, across countries, as Afghans and in the Indian subcontinent as Pathans . Today, however, the Afghan constitution expressly regulates by law that all citizens of Afghanistan (regardless of their ethnicity ) are understood as Afghans.

In 1801, the name Afghanistan was officially mentioned for the first time in the Anglo-Persian peace treaty in connection with the Pashtun settlement areas, after it was already referred to in the Chagatai-language memoirs of Babur from the 16th century, in a regionally limited sense, and to the Pashtun tribes south of Kabul , had been mentioned. Only in 1919, with the full independence of Afghanistan from the British Empire , was the name officially recognized and established in 1936 with the country's first constitution.

Another name for most of the area is Kabulistan or “Kingdom of Kabul” which was the preferred country name in the 19th century by the Scottish historian Mountstuart Elphinstone .

The most famous historical name of this region is Khorasan , which for many centuries stood for the Islamic and Persian heyday. In Elphinstone's time, the term Khorasan was still common among the locals for the Afghan state. He mentioned that on his first visit to the country known to the outside world as “Afghanistan”, the locals welcomed him to “Khorasan”.


Afghanistan's topography


Afghanistan is a landlocked country with strategic importance in the region. The country is mostly mountainous. Less than 10 percent of the country's area is below 600  m . The central mountain range consists of several mountain ranges, the highest of which is the Koh-e Baba (up to 5048  m ). The Hindu Kush (up to 7500  m ) lies in the northeast, the Safed Koh (up to 4755  m ) in the east on the border with Pakistan.

In the southwest there is a plain with the Hilmendsee on the border with Iran. Its most important tributary is the Hilmend , which rises in the east of the country near the capital Kabul . Afghanistan has a continental climate with hot summers and very cold winters. Afghanistan is primarily a mountainous country in the eastern Iranian highlands . Only in the north are plains on the Amu Darya and in the southwest, smaller desert-like basins . The Northeast is crossed by the Hindu Kush. There has been a winter-proof road connection between the Kabul basin and the northern part of the country since 1964 over the mountain ridge with an almost 3 km long tunnel ( Salang Pass road). Through the Wachan Corridor in the Pamir Mountains , Afghanistan also shares a border with the People's Republic of China .

Landscapes in Afghanistan

The southern Hindu Kush slopes steeply into the Nuristan landscape , which is still partially covered by coniferous forests. The landscapes between the capital Kabul and the Chaiber Pass on the border with Pakistan are the political and economic core of the country. The core of the settlement in western Afghanistan is the city of Herat . The southern and southwestern Afghanistan consists of deserts and semi-deserts . It is only traversed by the Hilmend, which is the longest Afghan river. The Hilmend ends in the salt lakes of Sistan on the border with Iran. To the east of the Hilmend is the Rigestan desert ("Sandland") and to the west of the Hilmend is the Dascht-e Margo, which consists mainly of gravel and clay .

Earthquakes occur frequently in the northeastern Hindu Kush mountain range and in parts of the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan. Such earthquakes are usually fatal, destructive and cause landslides and, in winter, snow avalanches. A strong earthquake struck in 1998 in the Badakhshan Province area , killing around 6,000 people. Another earthquake followed in 2002, killing 150 people. The last strong earthquake occurred in 2012, with 11 deaths and over 2000 houses destroyed.

Natural resources of Afghanistan are coal , copper , iron ore , lithium , uranium , rare earth metals , chromite , gold , zinc , talc , barite , sulfur , lead , marble , gemstone , natural gas , petroleum and others. In 2010, the US and Afghan governments estimated the value of the unused mineral deposits discovered by 2007 to be between $ 900 billion and $ 3 trillion.

The highest point in the country is the summit of the 7485  m high Noshak in the Hindu Kush. In the flow plane of the Amudarja on the border with Turkmenistan is located at 285  m , the lowest point of Afghanistan.

The Band-e-Amir Lakes near Bamiyan are among the most famous sights in the western world. Since 2009, they have been designated as the first national park in Afghanistan.


Snow at the Salang tunnel

Seasons : The wintry westerly winds usually bring moderate rainfall , while the summers are distinctly dry and the monsoons only provide rain in the extreme southeast . In winter, due to the high altitude of the country, especially in the north, snowfalls into the valleys are occasionally possible. Climatically, the south of the country already belongs to the warmer subtropics , in which the cultivation of date palms is possible, while the north belongs to the temperate zone . In 2000, half of the population suffered from one of the most common severe droughts. Such droughts could become more frequent in the future, as climate change could lead to an intensification of the arid climate due to a decrease in precipitation, especially in winter and spring. For the south-east affected by the monsoon, however, it is to be feared that there will be significantly more variable precipitation in summer, as the additional warming of the atmosphere will also make the Indian monsoon system more unstable. In particular, agriculture, which is important for the high proportion of the rural population, could be negatively affected.

Day / night temperatures
place in January in July
Herat 09 ° C / −3 ° C 37 ° C / 21 ° C
Kabul 05 ° C / −7 ° C 32 ° C / 15 ° C
Kandahar 12 ° C / -0 ° C 40 ° C / 23 ° C

The mountains and high mountains surrounding this place have correspondingly lower temperatures, as the air temperature drops by typically 0.65 ° C per 100 m of altitude, according to the altitude formula .


Afghanistan has a large habitat diversity with very different ecological conditions. The establishment of systematic nature conservation is opposed to the country's political situation that has been unstable for decades. It was not until 2009 that the Band-e-Amir Lakes near Bamiyan became the first national park in Afghanistan.


With up to 5000 suspected higher plant species, Afghanistan has a fairly high number of species in view of the drought (for comparison: around 4000 plant species are estimated for the Federal Republic of Germany, which is about half the size). With a share of endemic species of around 30%, the Afghan flora is very rich in plants that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Large parts of the country have been remodeled by human influence; thousands of years of overgrazing, deforestation and agricultural use have resulted in very few, especially remote regions, still showing natural vegetation, despite the size of the country. Continuous floristic exploration of Afghanistan did not begin until the middle of the 20th century, which is also made difficult by the political situation of the state.


Population development in 1000 inhabitants
Afghanistan has a very young population

80% of the population of Afghanistan live in the countryside and only 20% in the cities. The largest cities in 2019 were Kabul (4.273 million inhabitants), Herat (556.200 Ew.), Kandahar (506.800 Ew.), Mazar -e Sharif (469.200 Ew.), Jalalabad (263.300 Ew.) And Kunduz (183.300 Ew .).

The annual population growth is 2.5% (as of 2017). Afghanistan has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world. The population of Afghanistan was 7.7 million in 1950 and rose to 33.7 million in 2015 despite several wars. Afghanistan is expected to have 61 million inhabitants in 2050, which will put a heavy strain on the country's limited resources. In 2015 the fertility per woman was 5.3 children, with a slight downward trend in recent years. Outside Africa, Afghanistan is the country with the highest fertility. Most women in the country have no access to contraception and often become pregnant at a very young age.


Simplified representation of the settlement areas of the largest ethnic groups in Afghanistan (based on data from the CIA 1981)
Afghan school children in Kabul

The country's population feels that they belong to a large number of ethnic groups and tribes, although for historical reasons the Pashtuns often see themselves as a people who support the state. Often several ethnic groups live mixed within settlement areas whose population numbers could only be estimated. The categorization into ethnic groups is also not clear, since self-identification and external attribution often differ.

Information about the size and proportion of the population of the ethnic groups can therefore not be given as concrete values, but only in certain areas. The following information is extrapolated to the population in 2009.

  • Pashtuns , historically "Afghans", are the founders and namesake of the country. They make up about 40% of the population. The numerically largest subgroups are the Durrani (south and west) and the Ghilzai (east). Several nomadic tribes are assigned to the Pashtuns, above all the Kuchi with around 5 million people. The nomads were particularly protected by Article 14 of the Afghan Constitution ("The state develops and implements effective programs [...] to settle the nomads and improve their living conditions") and they (Kuchi) were given two representatives in Article 84 in the Meschrano Jirga promised to be appointed by the President. In addition, under the 2005 electoral law, the Kuchi can send ten MPs to the Wolesi Jirga .
  • Tajiks are the second largest group in the country with around 27%. "Tajik" is a general term for the Persian-speaking population in Afghanistan, they are often called "Parsiwan" ("Persian speakers") or, in the east and south, as "Dihgan" and "Dihwar" ("village owner", meaning " sedentary "). The Tajiks do not form an ethnic group in the narrow sense of the word; there is no recognizable cultural, social or political demarcation from other groups. In the west they are the direct continuation of the Persian-speaking population of Iran, in the north that of the Persian-speaking population of Central Asia. They also form the majority in most cities. The term "Tajik" is mostly used by others as a collective name for population groups who do not belong to any tribal society, who speak Persian and are mostly of the Sunni faith. Other Persian-speaking groups, such as the “ Qizilbasch ” or “ Aimaken ”, increasingly identify themselves as Tajiks.
  • Hazara , also speaking Persian , but mostly of Shiite faith and Mongolian descent, make up about 9% of the population. Because of their ethnic and religious affiliation, they have been and are discriminated against, persecuted and deliberately killed in Afghanistan.
  • Uzbeks , one of the many Turkic peoples in Central Asia, make up around 9% of the population.
  • There are also several smaller groups, including Aimaks (4%), Turkmen (3–4%), Baluch (2%), Nuristani and numerous other ethnic groups (4%).

After 1992, ethnic conflicts shaped the clashes between the mujahideen . The traditional rulers of Afghanistan were the Pashtuns, who also form the vast majority of the Taliban movement. The fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 gave an alliance of Tajiks, Hazara and Uzbeks the opportunity to enforce a power-sharing agreement. The Pashtuns have faced retaliatory attacks ever since. There had also been clashes between Sunnis and Shiites under the Taliban.

In 2017, 0.4% of the population was born abroad.


Districts with the respective demographically dominant language (according to the National Atlas of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 1985):
  • Persian (Dari)
  • Pashto
  • Uzbek
  • Turkmen
  • Baluchish
  • Nuristani
  • Pashai
  • About 49 languages ​​and over 200 different dialects are spoken in Afghanistan. In 1964, the Grand Council ( Loja Dschirga ) determined Persian ("Dari") and Pashto as the official national and government languages ( official languages ) as part of the confirmation of a new constitution .


    Pashto , the language of the Pashtuns , has been the official language by royal decree since 1936 and is spoken by around 35–55% of the population as their mother tongue (figures vary). The national anthem of Afghanistan is traditionally sung in Pashto. Military titles are also taken from the Pashtun language. Nevertheless, Pashto has not yet been able to establish itself as an administrative language and has this status only in the Pashtun tribal areas. As a result, other sections of the population tend to view Pashto as secondary, and the question of the national anthem has repeatedly provoked provocative discussions. Any attempt by the government to raise the status of Pashto among the population has largely failed so far.

    Persian (Dari)

    Dari (درى) is the official Afghan name for Persian , derived from Fārsī-ye Darbārī , "Persian of the royal court" ( Persian دربار Darbār , 'royal court'). Dari is the majority language and has been the dominant administrative and cultural language of the region since the Middle Ages. The literary written language of Persian has been the official and administrative language since the founding of the state of Afghanistan. More than half of the population of Afghanistan (mainly Tajiks , Hazara , Aimaken , but also a great many Pashtuns ) speak a dialect of Persian as their mother tongue. Persian is also the language of the population of the capital Kabul , whose dialect - colloquially equated with Dari  - not only serves as the government and business language, but also as a lingua franca between those ethnic groups who do not speak one of the two national languages ​​as their mother tongue.

    Until the 1960s, the official title of reading books in Afghan schools was Qerahate Farsi ( Farsi Reading Book ). The Farsi differs from the older, "courtly" Dari only by phonetics , accentuation and syllabic structure . Since 1964, the responsible ministry has renamed the reading books Qerahate Farsi e Dari and finally just Qerahate Dari . While the population still speaks of Farsi when they mean Dari, state institutions and media speak of Dari , a term that has not yet fully caught on.

    In 1776/77 Johann Friedrich Kleuker used the spelling Deri for the first time in the German-speaking area for the Persian language, which has developed "since the Sassanids as the court language for all countries in the Iranian highlands". In 1818 Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall used the same spelling in his translations from the Dīwān of Hafiz . In the work edited by Willi Kraus, Peter Snoy adds that the term Dari came up especially in the 9th and 10th centuries at the court (Persian dar ) of the Samanids in Central Asia. There, Persian, belonging to the western branch of the Iranian languages, was made court language (= Dari ).

    Regional national languages

    In addition, five minority languages ​​have been recognized as national languages ​​since 1980 in those regions in which they are spoken by the majority; the most important is Uzbek (Ōzbēkī) . Also Turkmen (Torkmanī) , Baluchi (Balūčī) , Pashai (PASAI) and Nuristani (Nūrestānī) (Kati) have under Karzai undergone a revaluation.


    The English language has a long history in Afghanistan. English was the language of commerce and trade in Afghanistan even in the days of British India. Even after independence from the United Kingdom in 1919, Afghans spoke English. The Afghan constitution is also available in English, and although Pashto and Dari are the official languages, English is one of the languages ​​of Afghanistan. English is mostly used today in Kabul and other major cities. It is particularly used on posters, advertisements and institutions, where all names are mostly written in English alongside Pashto or Dari. Whether English should become an official language in Afghanistan is a matter of dispute.


    In Afghanistan, the Hindus and Sikhs speak Urdu as their mother tongue . Due to the great popularity of Indian and Pakistani films and the similarity to Persian, the Afghans learned Urdu very quickly, which is now spoken by a large part of the population. Urdu is also used by poets in Afghanistan and is also taught as a foreign language in schools.


    Muslim Afghans at prayer

    Over 99.9% of the population are Muslims , of which around four fifths are mostly Hanafi Sunnis and one fifth are Imamite Shiites .

    Over the centuries, Islam has been interpreted very conservatively by the Afghans in Afghanistan, with the tribal law of the Pashtuns playing a role. However, Islam is understood and interpreted differently depending on the ethnic group, region and level of education. The pre-Islamic customs of the population still play an important role, such as the old Iranian New Year ( Nouruz ) according to the Iranian calendar or the belief in blessing incense (Espand) , both Zoroastrian customs .

    The situation of the Christian minority in Afghanistan had come to a head in early June 2010 after the private television station “Noorin TV” and other channels broadcast a film about the baptism of converts and showed their faces. Afterwards, Afghan government officials called for Islamic “apostates” to be punished with death. President Hamid Karzai instructed the government and state security to ensure that there were no further conversions. Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Abdul Satter Chowasi (Kabul), called for the public execution of people who convert from Islam to Christianity. One MP said the murder of Christians who were previously Muslims is not a crime. Since then, numerous Christian families have gone into hiding or fled abroad. Humanitarian aid organizations are subject to strict state controls. Two who have the term “church” in their names have had to cease operations - Norwegian Church Aid and the US organization World Church Services.

    There are also a maximum of 15,000 Hindus , a few hundred Sikhs and one last Bucharian Jew : Zebulon Simentov . Little is known about the number of Christians .


    An Afghan woman with her child, 1939

    In 1923, Amanullah Khan proposed a new constitution that included voting rights for women. Nader Shah and Zaher Shah removed women-friendly measures and women were denied the right to vote. The 1963 Constitution, which came into force in 1964, gave women the right to vote and stand for election . But it was limited to women who could read and write. This restriction was later removed.

    In cities and larger towns in particular, women usually only leave the house wearing a full veil ( burka ). However, the burqa only became common in larger cities. The burqa was not common in the country because it is a hindrance when working in the fields. Only in the short phase of the communist government in 1978 and during its support by Soviet troops since 1979 did women receive formal independence, freedom and schooling.

    In the mid-1990s, the Taliban obliged all women to wear a burqa. Up until then, this tradition was not widespread among the Tajiks and other ethnic groups. The burqa was officially lifted in 2001, but the burqa remains the usual clothing for most women.

    Few women dare to move around in public without male accompaniment. Assaults against women are not uncommon in Kabul and other larger cities, although the situation is reasonably stable, at least here due to the presence of foreign troops.

    Women were banned from working under the Taliban, and girls were also banned from attending school. Since there were around 30,000 widows in Kabul alone due to the war, they were left completely on their own. Many had no choice but to beg.

    The marital cohabitation is mandatory in Article 132 of the law regulating family life since in 2009. There it says: "The woman is obliged to meet the sexual needs of her husband at all times." According to Article 133, husbands can prevent their wives from unnecessary employment. Even if women want to leave the house, they must first get the husband's permission.

    In August 2020, President Ashraf Ghani announced his intention to create a high council for women before the planned peace talks with the Taliban, with 26 representatives of social groups that campaign for women's rights, including human rights activists, activists, politicians and officials. Hundreds of women meanwhile wrote an open letter calling on the Taliban to respect their rights.


    UIS Reading Skills of the Adult Population of Afghanistan 1980–2015

    Invasion, civil war and the Taliban's hostility towards culture left large sections of the population growing up without any access to education. Women are more affected by exclusion from the education system than men. The illiteracy rate in 2015 was 61.8%, very high in an international comparison (women: 75.8%; men: 48%). Illiteracy is one of the major barriers to rebuilding the country. After the end of the Taliban regime, numerous schools were built with foreign aid, some with newly trained teaching staff, so that a large number of children and young people, especially girls, gained access to schooling. The mean school attendance for over 25-year-olds rose from 1.5 years in 1990 to 3.6 years in 2015. The educational expectation in 2018 was 10.1 years.

    In 2014 there were 17 universities and 17 “Institutions of Higher Education” (IHE; comparable to a vocational school ) under state control in Afghanistan . There are also a growing number of private universities of very different quality. Only universities and colleges whose names consist of the "previous national [...] technical terms" are financially supported. The state makes the recognition and promotion of colleges and universities in the non-Pashtun areas dependent on the Pashtun name of the university, which is based on the fact that Pashto is one of the two official and national languages. In the Pashtun areas, however, the Persian naming of the universities can be omitted without fear of sanctions there. The last paragraph of Article 16 of the Constitution ("the previous national [...] and administrative terms are retained" - alluding to the status of the Pashtun language as the national language in the time of Mohammad Zahir Khan, 1933–1973) actually highlights the previous ones democratic paragraphs on freedom of language.


    As of 1980, more than 6 million Afghans had fled to the neighboring Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Iran. Many returned, but the fighting in 2001 created a new wave of refugees; Hundreds of thousands have been displaced within the country. With 3.2 million returnees from Pakistan and 860,000 from Iran, the UNHCR supported around 4 million Afghans returning to their homeland between 2002 and 2007. Around 3 million registered Afghans were still in exile at the end of 2007, of which around 2 million were in Pakistan, particularly in Peshawar , and 910,000 in Iran. The Pakistani Voluntary Return Program continued from March 2008 onwards. Afghanistan has a growing diaspora in western states. In 2018, around 257,000 people of Afghan origin lived in Germany. Around 580,000 people returned to Afghanistan from January to September 2018, also due to the economic situation.


    From antiquity to modern times

    In ancient times , the area of ​​today's Afghanistan, which corresponds to the east of the ancient " Aryānām Xšaθra ", belonged to the Persian Empire . Later, a Greco-Bactrian kingdom was established in Bactria , ruled by the descendants of the troops of Alexander the Great . The area was then ruled by different groups and lay in the border area to the Parthian and Sassanid empires . In the late antiquity there settled the so-called Iranian Huns before the last rule structure that Hephthalitenreich , of Sassanid and Göktürks was destroyed. After the fall of the Sassanids in the wake of the invasion of Muslim Arabs (see Islamic expansion ) and the slow disintegration of the Caliphate of the Abbasids , there dominated Iranian dynasties which the Caliphate at most nominally subordinate to. Nevertheless, Islam prevailed relatively slowly in this region against the resistance of the Turk Shahi and Hindu Shahi . It was not until the end of the 10th century, with the conquest of the region by Turkish nomads and military slaves (including the Ghaznavids and Seljuks ), that most of the inhabitants in the Ghor area (between Herat and Kabul) are said to have been Muslims. During this time, under the Ghaznavids and Ghurids , today's Afghanistan was the heartland of powerful empires. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the region was at the center of the conflicts between the Persian Safavids in the west, the Indian Mughal Empire in the southeast and the Uzbek Sheibanids in the north.

    Rise of the Pashtuns

    The history of modern Afghanistan is inextricably linked with the national history of the Pashtuns . Countless Pashtun uprisings against the respective rulers (Persian Safavids and Indian Moguls) finally led to the overthrow of the Safavids in Persia (1722) with the uprising of the Ghilzai tribe (1719). This Pashtun victory did not last long. Only seven years later they were defeated by Nader Shah and driven back to Kandahar . With the subsequent conquests of Nader Shah (1736–1747), the Persian Empire temporarily regained control of the region that is now called Afghanistan . After his murder, the Durranis tribe , who were allied with Nader Shah against the Ghilzai and who fought under his command, took power independently.

    State foundation and naming

    The Pashtun Ahmad Shah Durrani founded an independent Pashtun kingdom in the east of his empire in 1747 after the death of Nader Shah Afshar , which can be regarded as the predecessor of the modern state of Afghanistan. He is generally considered to be the founder of Afghanistan. The empire founded by Ahmed Shah Durrani later collapsed due to internal disputes and outside interference. A little later, Afghanistan came under the influence of the expanding British. The name "Afghanistan" was only introduced in the 19th century and only established as a state name in 1919.

    Area of ​​influence of British and Russian interests

    In Afghanistan, Russian and British colonial interests collided ( The Great Game ). Since the establishment of the Imperial Russian Navy by Tsar Peter the Great , the aim of Russian expansion policy has been to advance to the Indian Ocean and build an ice-free port there. In order to forestall Russia, Afghanistan was to be conquered and annexed to what would later become British India as part of the British Empire . In addition, a large Anglo-Indian army fought in the first Anglo-Afghan war from 1839 to 1842 against a relatively poorly equipped Afghan resistance. The British were able to occupy the country, but not achieve their goals. In 1842 an armistice was agreed upon in which the British agreed to withdraw their troops. However, these were attacked shortly afterwards at the Chaiber Pass and all soldiers, including 690 British and 2,840 Indian, but also 12,000 civilians, were killed. In response to this defeat, a punitive expedition was dispatched under Major General George Pollock , which captured Kabul on September 15, 1842. As early as October 11, 1842, British troops withdrew completely from Kabul and subsequently from Afghanistan. As a result of this war, the British colonial administration took no further direct action in Afghanistan for a long time and made its political and economic efforts such as controlling the trade routes in Central Asia and the attempted attack on the Chinese Qing dynasty more difficult . The disaster in Afghanistan also aroused many Indians, as the British-Indian army consisted to a large extent of Baluch .

    Spurred on by the previous humiliation, the British government declared war against Afghanistan again in 1878. Despite small military successes of the Afghans in the Second Anglo-Afghan War , such as the Battle of Maiwand in 1880, the resistance was crushed by the British, the capital Kabul burned down in revenge and a puppet was installed as king . At the same time, the British took over Afghan foreign policy for the next 40 years . Due to many uprisings in Afghanistan in 1893 the country was divided by the British through the Durand Line and the southeastern area (today's Pakistani provinces NWFP , FATA and a small part of Baluchistan ) was incorporated into the Indian crown colony. To control this line, the Khyber Rifles regiment, consisting of Afridis , a Pashtun tribe , was set up in 1880, as only locals can move freely in this area. The regiment still exists today as part of the Pakistan Army .

    The third Anglo-Afghan war in May 1919 - Afghanistan's last attempt to free itself from British colonial aspirations - finally led to the Rawalpindi Treaty through skillful negotiation by the Afghan diplomats under Amanullah Khan (the Afghans threatened the British with further rapprochement) and on August 8, 1919, for the recognition of Afghanistan as a sovereign and independent state by Great Britain . Thus, after more than 60 years of British rule, Afghanistan had achieved its full independence, while a large part of the areas such as parts of the Pakistani Northwest Province as the frontier area, also known as the tribal area ( tribal areas under federal administration ), was lost to the British and later to the state Pakistan was awarded. Independent Afghanistan formed a buffer between Russian and British interests. This was also reflected in the demarcation and can still be seen today on the Wachan Corridor .

    Afghanistan after independence

    A constitutional kingdom had existed since 1933 with Mohammed Zahir Shah (Mohammedzai) at its head . Zahir Shah, however, ushered in a democratic turnaround in Afghanistan. Under his rule, elections, a two-chamber parliament, the emancipation of women and women's suffrage, a modernization of the infrastructure and freedom of the press were established. Shah's progressive and western policies, however, were not without controversy among the Afghan people. Afghanistan has been a member of the United Nations since 1946 . In 1973 at the collapsed Soviet Union anlehnende Mohammed Daoud Khan , the royal family and called the Republic of. After Daoud's fall in the Saur Revolution in 1978 , the communist-style Democratic People's Party of Afghanistan , led by Nur Muhammad Taraki , took power in Kabul, proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and, with Soviet support, attempted a social transformation, for example literacy of the rural population. This met with military resistance in some regions. With the invasion of Soviet troops in December 1979, the civil war developed into a ten-year proxy war (→ Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ) between the Soviet occupying power and the Islamic guerrillas ( mujahedin ) supported by the United States , Saudi Arabia and Pakistan . This finally ended with the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1989. The Soviet-backed government under President Mohammed Najibullāh was able to hold out until the mujahedin captured Kabul in 1992.

    In April 1992 the Islamic State of Afghanistan was founded by the Peshawar Agreement. With the support of Pakistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyār began a year-long war in Kabul against the Islamic State, which destroyed large parts of Kabul.

    “Pakistan was aiming for a breakthrough in Central Asia . ... Islamabad knew that the newly appointed members of the Islamic government [in Afghanistan] ... would not subordinate their own national interests to those of Pakistan in order for Pakistan to fulfill its regional ambitions. ... Without the logistical support and the delivery of a large number of rockets by the ISI [Pakistani intelligence service], Hekmatyār's troops would not have been able to fire and destroy half of Kabul. "

    - Amin Saikal : Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (2006)

    In addition, there was a cruel war between other hostile militias. Southern Afghanistan was neither under the control of the central government nor under the control of externally controlled militias like the Hekmatyārs. Local militia or tribal leaders ruled the south.

    In 1994 the Taliban first appeared in the southern city of Kandahar. The Taliban movement originally came from religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan, most of which were run by the Pakistani political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam . During 1994 the Taliban took power in various southern and western provinces of Afghanistan.

    At the end of 1994 the Afghan Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud succeeded in militarily defeating Hekmatyār and the various militias in Kabul. The bombing of the capital was stopped. Massoud initiated a nationwide political process aimed at national consolidation and democratic elections. Three conferences were held with representatives from many parts of Afghanistan. Massoud invited the Taliban to join this process and help create stability. However, the Taliban refused. Instead of a democracy, they wanted to establish an Islamic emirate.

    In early 1995, the Taliban launched large-scale bombing campaigns against Kabul. Amnesty International wrote:

    "This is the first time in a few months that the civilians of Kabul have been the target of bombing attacks on residential areas in the city."

    The Taliban nonetheless suffered a defeat by Massoud's troops. In September 1996, with military support from Pakistan and financial aid from Saudi Arabia, they had already regrouped and were planning another major offensive against Kabul. On September 26, 1996, Massoud therefore ordered a strategic withdrawal of his troops to northern Afghanistan.

    On September 27, 1996, the Taliban invaded Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan , which was only recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, which included Defense Minister Massoud, remained the internationally recognized government of Afghanistan (with its seat at the United Nations).

    Territorial control of Afghanistan in winter 1996: Massoud (blue), Taliban (green), Dostum (pink), Hezb-i Wahdat (yellow)

    Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Raschid Dostum , former opponents, founded the United Front , originally in response to massive Taliban offensives against the areas under Massoud's control on the one hand and Dostum on the other. However, the United Front soon developed into a new, national resistance movement against the Taliban. Ahmad Shah Massoud pursued the goal of establishing a democratic form of government in Afghanistan with the help of the United Front, which would represent the diversity of Afghanistan. The Hazara ethnic group, persecuted by the Taliban through ethnic cleansing , joined the United Front , as did anti-Taliban Pashtun leaders such as the later President Hamid Karzai , who comes from southern Afghanistan. It was similar with Abdul Qadir, he came from an influential family who enjoyed great influence in the Pashtun eastern part of Afghanistan around Jalalabad .

    Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only commander who was able to successfully defend his territories against the Taliban from 1998 onwards. Pakistan intervened militarily on the side of the Taliban, but could not bring about a defeat for Massoud. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf  - at that time, among other things, as Chief of Staff of the military - dispatched tens of thousands of Pakistanis to fight alongside the Taliban and al-Qaida against the forces of Massoud. A total of 28,000 Pakistani citizens are estimated to have fought within Afghanistan. Another 3,000 soldiers on the Taliban's side were militiamen from Arab countries or Central Asia. Out of an estimated 45,000 soldiers who fought against the United Front within Afghanistan, only about 14,000 were Afghans.

    The Taliban enforced their political and legal interpretation of Islam in the areas they controlled. The women, half of the population, lived under house arrest. According to a United Nations report, the Taliban committed systematic massacres of civilians while trying to consolidate control in western and northern Afghanistan. The United Nations named 15 massacres in the years 1996 to 2001. These were "highly systematic and all attributable to the Defense Ministry [the Taliban] or Mohammed Omar personally." The so-called 055 al-Qaeda Brigade was also involved in atrocities against the Afghan civilian population involved. The United Nations report cites testimonies describing Arab militia officers carrying long knives with which they cut throats and skinned people.

    In early 2001, the United Front adopted a new strategy of local military pressure and a global political agenda. Resentment and resistance to the Taliban, based on the roots of Afghan society, grew stronger. This also affected the Pashtun areas. In total, an estimated one million people fled the Taliban. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled to the areas of Ahmad Shah Massoud. The National Geographic Society concluded in its documentary Inside the Taliban :

    "The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud."

    - National Geographic Society : Inside the Taliban

    In spring 2001 Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels and asked the international community for humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan. He stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda had introduced a "very wrong interpretation of Islam" and that if the Taliban did not have the support of Pakistan, they would not be able to continue their military campaigns for one year. During his visit to Europe, during which the President of the European Parliament Nicole Fontaine called him the “pole of freedom in Afghanistan”, Massoud warned that his secret service had information that a large-scale attack on American soil was imminent.

    After the September 11, 2001 attacks

    Two days after Massoud's assassination, terrorist attacks took place in the United States, resulting in the deaths of at least 2,993 people, which are considered a mass terrorist murder . The United States identified members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network , based in the Taliban emirate and allied with the Taliban, as perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks .

    Afghan history from 2003-2008.jpg

    As a result, the United States began an invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 with the help of a military alliance under their leadership . The US administration under President George W. Bush used a resolution of the United Nations Security Council to legitimize this invasion , which granted them the right to self-defense . As a result of this invasion succeeded in overthrowing the Taliban ruling in most regions of Afghanistan, with the United Front providing the majority of the ground troops.

    In December 2001, leaders of the United Front and Afghan groups in exile met at the Petersberg Conference in Bonn, where they agreed on the so-called "Petersberg Agreement", a step-by-step plan for the democratization of the country and the formation of a provisional government with the Durrani-Pashtun tribal leader Hamid Karzai as chairman. Members of the victorious United Front held key positions in the new government. In addition, requests were made to deploy an international force under a mandate from the United Nations to ensure the security of the Provisional Government. This task was taken over by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

    The provisional government was replaced in June 2002 by an interim government appointed by a nationwide extraordinary Loja Jirga , again headed by Karzai as interim president. At the end of 2003 a constituent loja jirga was convened, which ratified the new Afghan constitution in January 2004. The presidential election held on October 9, 2004 confirmed Karzai as the now democratically legitimized president. The parliamentary elections in September 2005, from which the first freely elected Afghan parliament since 1973 constituted, marked the end of the democratization process provided for in the Petersberg Agreement. These elections were originally scheduled to take place in June 2004, but had to be postponed several times due to delays in electoral registration.

    Many Taliban fled to Pakistan via the Durand Line and regrouped there. In 2003 they reappeared for the first time. Since the beginning of 2006, together with the Haqqani network and the Hizb-i Islāmī of Gulbuddin Hekmatyār , they have been perpetrating more attacks against Afghan civilians and ISAF soldiers . Suicide bombings, previously completely unknown in Afghanistan, and bombings on non-military targets increased sharply.

    In an article for the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Babak Chalatbari described the motives for the “Taliban's terror” as follows: “The terrorist tactics behind the massive intimidation aims to ensure that hardly anyone dares to accept the views of those who are mostly not particularly theologically trained To oppose masterminds of the Taliban. ”The number of attempted and carried out suicide attacks rose sharply from three in 2003 to 106 in 2006, most of which the Taliban - especially the Haqqani network - claimed to be. There are areas in the south and east of Afghanistan that foreign aid organizations and ISAF troops avoid.

    Afghan history from 2008-2011.jpg

    Pakistan plays a central role in Afghanistan. A 2010 analysis by the London School of Economics and Political Science found that the Pakistani Secret Service (ISI) had an “official policy” of supporting the Taliban. The ISI finances and trains the Taliban. This happens even though Pakistan officially pretends to be an ally of NATO. As a result, the analysis states: “Pakistan seems to be playing a double game of astonishing proportions.” Amrullah Saleh , the former head of the Afghan intelligence service, criticized in 2010: “We talk about all these deputies [Taliban, Haqqani, Hekmatyar], but not their master: The Pakistani Army. The question is, what does Pakistan's army want to achieve [...]? You want to gain influence in the region. "

    The Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyārs troops are targeting the Afghan civilian population in attacks. In 2009, according to the United Nations, they were responsible for over 76% of the victims among Afghan civilians. In 2010, too, the Taliban were responsible for over ¾ of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Civilians are more than twice as likely to be the target of deadly Taliban attacks as Afghan government troops or ISAF troops. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIGRC) called the targeted attacks by the Taliban against the civilian population a “war crime”. Religious leaders condemned the Taliban's attacks as a violation of Islamic ethics. Human rights groups prompted the International Court of Justice in The Hague to conduct a preliminary investigation into the Taliban for war crimes.

    In the recent past, tensions arose between elements of the former United Front and Hamid Karzai after he had referred to the Taliban as “brothers”. Elements around former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh and others fear that Karzai could conclude an agreement with the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyār that would enable the Taliban to return outside the democratic process. A split from Gulbuddin Hekmatyār's Hizb-i Islāmī party has been [out of date] allied with Karzai since autumn 2009 and appointed Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal as Minister of Economic Affairs from 2010 to 2017. In 2011, however, these alleged allies of Karzai left no doubt in public statements about their loyalty to Hekmatyar.

    The United Front's great influence on the government has diminished over the years. In the Afghan presidential election in August 2009 , Abdullah Abdullah , former foreign minister until 2006 and one of Ahmad Shah Massoud's closest confidants , ran against Hamid Karzai and was one of the favorites. When the vote was counted, however, accusations from international observers that massive electoral fraud had taken place increased. A complaints commission investigated for several weeks and announced in mid-October that hundreds of thousands of votes were invalid. The incumbent Karzai lost an absolute majority and a run-off election between him and Abdullah on November 7, 2009 was agreed. According to media reports, at the end of October 2009, just under a week before the election, Abdullah threatened to withdraw from the runoff election. This was preceded by failed talks with Karzai. Among other things, Abdullah had called for the chairman of the controversial Electoral Commission (IEC) to be dismissed in order to allow a “free and fair” runoff election. Six days before the scheduled runoff election, he announced his boycott of the vote. When his supporters tried to take to the streets, Abdullah held them back so as not to endanger the fragile stability of Afghanistan.

    After the killing of Osama bin Laden in Operation Neptune Spear in May 2011, attacks on prominent Afghan politicians increased sharply, including ex-President Burhānuddin Rabbāni , Mohammed Daud Daud , Dschan Mohammed Chan and President Karzai's half-brother Ahmad Wali Karzai . In October 2011, Afghan and NATO forces began an offensive against the Haqqani network in the country's southeastern border area. In 2014, the first democratic change of power was carried out in Afghanistan, but massive corruption and forgery are suspected again. Ashraf Ghani , the new president, signed an agreement with NATO, in which the successor mission of the ISAF, Resolute Support , was legitimized. This began on January 1, 2015 and supports the Afghan security forces in training.

    The country has also been threatened by the Islamic State since 2015 and continues to be violent by the Taliban.

    An earthquake struck in October 2015, killing at least 347 people (80 of them in Afghanistan).

    In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement. The US and NATO committed to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan within 14 months. In return, the Taliban guaranteed to start peace talks with the Afghan government within two weeks and to renounce terrorism or not to tolerate it in Afghanistan. As a party to the conflict, the Afghan government did not sign the agreement. Since the Taliban are also not representatives of the state, the agreement was not a peace treaty under international law . The treaty did not affect the future shape of the political system in Afghanistan or the distribution of political power. Subsequently, negotiations began in March 2020 on a prisoner exchange between the Taliban leadership and the Afghan government, through which up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners would be released if the Taliban released 1,000 of their prisoners in return. In fact, up to and including May 2020, the Afghan government began releasing over 1,000 of the 5,000 Taliban captured, while this militia released a few hundred adherents to the government. At the same time, however, the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan in May 2020 continued, so that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced in the same month that he wanted to fight the Taliban again. Within a week in June, the Afghan government reported that the Taliban had carried out 222 terrorist attacks in the country, killing or wounding 422 state security forces.


    Political system

    The Arg in Kabul (Presidential Palace)
    Afghan Parliament

    Afghanistan has been an Islamic republic with a presidential system of government since the current constitution was passed in 2004 . The constitution is considered to be one of the most democratic in the Islamic world and provides for equal rights for members of all religions and ethnic groups, as well as for the sexes.

    The president is directly elected by the people for a term of five years. After two terms in office, the president is not allowed to run again. A presidential candidate must be at least 40 years old, a Muslim and an Afghan citizen. The applicant nominates two vice-presidential applicants. The President is head of state and government and commander in chief of the military armed forces. His powers also include appointing his cabinet and filling positions in the military, police and provincial governments with the approval of parliament.

    The National Assembly is the legislature of Afghanistan and consists of two houses: the Wolesi Jirga ( House of the People ) and the Meschrano Jirga ( House of the Elders ). The Wolesi Jirga consists of 249 seats, 68 of which are reserved for women and ten for the nomad minority of the Kuchis . The MPs are determined by direct election, with the number of seats in proportion to the population of the respective province. At least two women per province must be elected. A legislative term lasts five years. No parties are allowed to vote. The name, photo and symbol of the candidate who is not allowed to be associated with armed organizations appear on the ballot paper. The elected officials receive no immunity from the law. The Meschrano Jirga consists of one third each of delegates, who are appointed by the provincial or district councils for four years, and one third of members who are appointed by the president, half of which must be women. The Loja Jirga , an assembly of tribal leaders and other moral and spiritual leaders, is also consulted when making important, groundbreaking decisions .

    The judiciary is made up of the Stera Mahkama (Supreme Court) , the Court of Appeal and lower courts for specific jurisdictions. The Stera Mahkama consists of nine judges who are nominated by the President for a ten-year term and confirmed by Parliament. Judges must be at least 40 years of age, must not belong to any political party, and have a degree in law or Islamic jurisprudence. The Stera Mahkama also has the powers of a constitutional court .

    houses of Parliament

    The parliamentary elections in Afghanistan 2010 took place on September 18, 2010. 249 MPs were elected from around 2500 candidates. Due to the explosive security situation, estimates assume that up to 14% of the polling stations cannot be opened. According to Babak Chalatbari, Afghanistan seems “to be faced with the alternative of correcting recognized errors or coming to terms with the inadequate status quo . The first option is a painful but necessary step towards transparency, responsibility and good governance. The second option, on the other hand, means stagnation and carries the risk of a political system collapse. ”“ Manipulations have now become an integral part of the Afghan electoral process, ”stated Citha Maaß and Thomas Ruttig for the 2010 parliamentary elections and blame these two reasons for the fact that trust in the The post-2001 system is dwindling more and more, and the insurgency movement is gaining more and more supporters. The Taliban also threatened voters with death.


    On August 20, 2009, the elections for the presidency took place in Afghanistan , along with the provincial council elections. The incumbent at the time, Hamid Karzai , was sworn in again as president on November 19, 2009, after a planned runoff election had been canceled in the preceding weeks due to the withdrawal of his colleague Abdullah Abdullah . The first ballot, in which Karzai had missed the necessary absolute majority, was overshadowed by election rigging and several bomb attacks in the days before.

    Human rights

    The human rights situation remains bad. Amnesty International has documented torture and ill-treatment in numerous detention centers in Afghanistan . Journalists were arrested, beaten or killed. The death penalty can be imposed for certain crimes . Many children are forcibly married in Afghanistan and domestic violence is widespread.

    There is also child abuse and sexual abuse of children, for example through the practice of bacha bazi .

    Persecution of the Hazara

    At the end of the 19th century, the Hazara suffered a genocide for which the Pashtun Emir Abdur Rahman Khan was responsible because of their ethnic and religious affiliation . To this day, the Hazara are discriminated against and persecuted in Afghanistan.

    On February 11, 1993, Ahmad Shah Massoud , the deeply religious Sunni leader of the Persian-speaking Tajiks of northern Afghanistan and then Defense Minister, carried out a serious massacre against the Shiite and ethnic Hazaras in the Afshar district of Kabul and murdered up to 1,000 civilians with his supporters. However, this massacre is denied by many Tajiks and the former defense minister is instead celebrated as a national hero.

    Foreign policy

    Locations of the diplomatic missions of Afghanistan

    During the time of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan from 1978 to 1992, the country had close relations with the countries of the Eastern Bloc , including the Soviet Union. During the later rule of the Taliban, the country was almost completely isolated in terms of foreign policy. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had official relations with the country during this period. Afghanistan has had close ties to the West since the fall of the Taliban regime. The country works closely with the states of the European Union and the USA in political, military and economic terms. Afghanistan is therefore on the list of the United States' major non-NATO ally . Afghanistan hopes for an improvement in its security situation and an improved economic and social situation due to stronger economic exchange.

    Due to its inland location in the heart of Asia, it cannot detach itself from regional events. Relations with neighboring countries are therefore of crucial importance for Afghanistan.

    Afghanistan has complicated and occasionally strained relations with Pakistan. Afghanistan continues to accuse Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban. Since the beginning of the Soviet invasion of the country, Pakistan has provided the Taliban with massive arms and financial support in order to use the Taliban to gain influence over political events in the country. A strategy that has now taken revenge in the form of an increased Taliban presence in Pakistan. At the same time, there are strong cultural similarities between the two nations. This is how the Pashtun ethnic group lives in both countries. Pakistan has taken in 1.3 million refugees from Afghanistan.

    To escape the excessive influence of Pakistan, the country is trying to intensify relations with Pakistan's regional rival India . India is one of the most important investors (including in the raw materials sector) in Afghanistan and, with around 2 billion US dollars, has been the largest regional and fifth largest donor of development aid since 2001.

    There are close linguistic and cultural ties to Iran. Relations are strained by conflicts over control of water resources, drug smuggling and Afghan refugees in Iran.

    China's economic and political influence in Afghanistan is growing. Both countries are primarily interested in intensifying economic relations. Chinese direct investments in the country mainly benefit the extraction of raw materials.

    The most important partner in security and economic cooperation is the USA. The state and political structures of the country in the post-Taliban period were for the most part designed under the guidance and supervision of the United States. The US is by far the largest donor of development aid in the country. American troops are still stationed in Afghanistan. In August 2017, an increase in American troops in Afghanistan from 3,000 to 14,000 men was announced.

    Afghanistan and Germany

    The German government was one of the first states to recognize the government of Amanullah Khan and thus the independence of Afghanistan. Contacts between German companies and Afghan rulers had existed since 1898, but the two countries did not cultivate diplomatic relations until 1922.

    In 2017 there were 252,000 Afghans in Germany.

    International organizations

    Afghanistan has been a member of the United Nations since 1946 . It has observer status in the WTO and is a signatory to the ICC . It is also a member of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and a member of the Movement of Non-Aligned States .

    Since 2007 Afghanistan has also been a full member of the SAARC ( South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ).


    Afghanistan is divided into 34 provinces ( velayat ), which in turn are divided into 329 districts ( woluswali ). The provinces are each headed by a governor ( waali ) who is appointed or confirmed by the government in Kabul .


    Security guards

    Afghan National Army in 2010

    Since the fall of the Taliban, the nations involved in ISAF have had a great interest in being able to guarantee the Afghans full sovereignty again in the area of security policy . Therefore, under the leadership of the United States, they are building police , military, and intelligence agencies . Afghanistan has been on the list of major non-NATO ally since 2012 , making it one of the USA's closest diplomatic and strategic partners outside of NATO .

    The Afghan armed forces, known as the Afghan National Army for short, had around 150,000 men in January (as of January 2011) and by October 2014 a troop strength of around 260,000 was the goal. Since it is expensive to build and maintain an operational air force, the United States is responsible for securing Afghan airspace. The need for an Afghan air force is currently being debated, but due to the geographic situation it is considered to be there. The command structure is based on that of the United States. Afghanistan is to be divided among militarily sensible regional commands, comparable to the US armed forces . The primary goal remains to improve training, morale and equipment as well as clearing the military of spies and saboteurs. Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak reports to the armed forces .

    In cooperation with Germany and the EU, the United States is currently training Afghan police officers , of whom there should be around 80,000 (as of March 2009). Here, too, the structure is based on the United States, for example with a kind of highway police . The Afghan police are currently organized centrally, but in view of the constitutional process and the ongoing assessment of all factors, this is a temporary measure.

    The newly established Afghan secret service, the National Security Directorate (NDS) supports the Afghan government through information gathering and analysis.

    Foreign troop presence

    132,203 soldiers from 48 countries were stationed in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF mandate. The largest contingent was the United States with 90,000 soldiers. Germany participated with 4909 soldiers stationed in the north of the country. ISAF provided 28 Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT). Another 14,000 or so United States soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom were not under ISAF command. The largest Allied military bases were Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Airfield near Kandahar Airport .

    Land mines

    Afghanistan is heavily polluted with landmines . According to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the land is contaminated with 10 million mines on 530 km². The capital Kabul is considered to be the most heavily landmined city in the world. The mines date from the time of the Soviet occupation from 1979 to 1989, as well as from the United States, Great Britain and Iran from the time of the civil war. The Taliban used Pakistani landmines.

    The mines pose a constant threat to the residents. In 2002 alone, the Red Cross counted 1286 landmine victims, which is assumed to be a high number of unreported cases. Afghanistan acceded to the Ottawa Landmine Ban Treaty in 2002. However, it is suspected that the Taliban have continued to use mines to combat the foreign military presence since then.


    After two decades of war, the country's economy was largely destroyed in 2001, as was much of the livestock.

    The gross domestic product in 2016 was an estimated 18.8 billion US dollars. This made Afghanistan one of the poorest countries in the world. The agricultural sector contributed an estimated 60%, industry an estimated 15% and services an estimated 25% in the creation of GDP . By 2017, the share of the agricultural sector fell to 23%, while the shares of industry and the service sector rose to 21% and 52%, respectively. The unemployment rate was 23.9% in 2017, plus underemployment, which is widespread. In 2017, 44.3% of all workers worked in agriculture, 18.1% in industry and 37.6% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 8.5 million in 2017; only 17.3% of them are women.

    In the 2008/2009 financial year, economic growth was 3.6%. The main reason for the low growth was the almost complete loss of the grain harvest due to a drought. In 2009/2010 growth increased to 15%. In 2016 the economy grew by only 2.4%. Growth of 3 to 4 percent is expected for the next few years, which is not considered sufficient for a sustainable reduction in poverty and high unemployment or underemployment.

    In 2017, Afghanistan ranks 163rd out of 180 countries in the Index for Economic Freedom . In the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index, Afghanistan ranks 183rd out of 190 countries in 2018. In 2016, the country ranked 169th in the Human Development Index .

    In spite of existing problems such as inadequate infrastructure, partly insecure security and corruption, large investments have been made in Afghanistan in recent years: Various state-owned companies have been privatized, and industries destroyed by the war have been rebuilt. The Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA for short), founded in 2003, registers new companies and supports investors with problems after the company has been founded.

    The most important trading partners include countries in the region, especially Pakistan and Iran , as well as the European Union .

    Key figures

    All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

    year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    (purchasing power parity)
    18.76 billion 20.81 billion 21.52 billion 24.84 billion 26.97 billion 31.39 billion 33.24 billion 40.39 billion 44.33 billion 48.18 billion 55.92 billion 60.05 billion 62.78 billion 64.29 billion 66.65 billion 69.55 billion
    GDP per capita
    (purchasing power parity)
    845 900 896 999 1,052 1,191 1,230 1,458 1,561 1,655 1,875 1,966 2.007 2,009 1.923 1,957
    GDP growth
    ... 8.7% 0.7% 11.8% 5.4% 13.3% 3.9% 20.6% 8.6% 6.5% 14.0% 5.7% 2.7% 1.3% 2.4% 2.5%
    Public debt
    (as a percentage of GDP)
    346% 271% 245% 206% 23% 20% 19% 16% 8th % 8th % 7% 7% 9% 9% 8th % 7%


    Fertile plains surrounded by forestless mountains in Badachschan
    Fields on the
    Pech river
    Potato growing in Bamyan
    Development of the opium poppy acreage

    Although only about 6% of the state's area is agriculturally usable and this use mostly depends on artificial irrigation , 67% of the population is active in agriculture (as of 2001).

    Extensive deforestation , overgrazing of the soil and uncoordinated pumping of groundwater during the years of civil war caused a decline in the country's agriculturally usable resources. This has made the country's supply more sensitive to droughts and other natural disasters. The harvests are regularly threatened by droughts, which have increased in frequency and intensity over the past three decades. In some cases, certain rivers and lakes dried up completely. Sections of the population depend on food aid.

    A number of organizations are therefore involved in the survey, monitoring and development of usage concepts for the country's water resources.

    Drug cultivation

    Afghanistan is the largest opium producer in the world. In July 2000, opium cultivation was banned by the Taliban regime, whereupon opium production collapsed completely and in 2001 fell to almost zero. After the US-led war, production rose again and has been higher since 2004 than in previous years. In 2006 the opium trade amounted to 46 percent of the gross domestic product. The acreage for opium poppies has increased continuously since the elimination of the Taliban regime, again in 2006 by 59 percent to around 193,000 hectares . According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), over 6,000 tons of opium were harvested in 2006, representing 92 percent of total world production. According to the United States Department of State, the export value of this opium is $ 3.1 billion, while the street price is around $ 38 billion. In autumn 2007 around 8,200 tons of opium were harvested in Afghanistan, more than half of which in the Afghan province of Helmand . That exceeds global consumption by 3000 tons. The individual opium farmer earns around 122 US dollars per kilogram of opium (“ farm gate price ”). Thus, for them, the opium poppy cultivation is around ten times more lucrative than the wheat cultivation.

    Afghanistan is also the largest producer of hashish as determined by the UNODC in 2010. According to the UNODC study, 145 kilograms of cannabis resin are extracted per hectare in Afghanistan. In Morocco , the largest cannabis-growing country in the world, it is only 40 kilograms per hectare in comparison.

    The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) has been established in Afghanistan since 2002 to combat drug crime . As part of the destruction of fields by the Afghan Eradiction Force and the national police, opium cultivation has been increasingly combated since 2005. The disadvantage of this measure demanded by western donor countries is that numerous farmers whose livelihoods were destroyed became supporters of local warlords, one reason for the deterioration in the security situation since then. An economically negative effect is that the market shortage of the current surplus production plays into the hands of the drug traffickers because it causes prices to rise. In 2003, with a harvest of 4,000 tons, the gross income of the farmers was still 27 times that of wheat cultivation. The re-cultivation of opium becomes more lucrative through the destruction of fields, but the political power of the drug barons is not attacked.

    Mining and industry

    The most important mineral resources are iron and copper ores , natural gas , coal , gemstones (mainly lapis lazuli ) and petroleum . In the 1880s, the British geologist Karl Griesbach conducted geological excursions and documented rich deposits of minerals . In 1937 Afghanistan awarded a concession to a US company to mine mineral and oil reserves over a period of 75 years. However, the latter soon renounced the exercise of the concession because commercial exploitation would have required an investment of several hundred million US dollars. From the 1950s onwards, the Soviet Union invested in geological excursions that continued into the 1980s. The most important finds were the copper ore deposits at Aynak , about 30 km south of the capital, the iron ore deposits in Hajigak in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan and the gas fields near Scheberghans . In 1967 the Soviet Union completed a 101 km long gas pipeline to Wachsch in the Tajik Soviet Republic and from then on about 90 percent of Afghan gas reserves were exported to the Soviet Union. In 2007, the United States Geological Survey used an airborne detection method to document additional mineral deposits. In the north of the country, deposits were discovered that contain 18 times the originally estimated amount of oil and about three times the amount of gas. In 2010 there were a number of press reports in which there was talk of discoveries of mineral resources valued at up to one trillion US dollars, and with the appropriate extraction up to four trillion US dollars. Afghanistan, for example, is said to have lithium deposits like only Bolivia has so far . The majority of the discoveries, however, go back to excursions to the Soviet Union.

    Many of the mines and deposits that used to be regarded as state property have now been privatized, which is what makes the participation of foreign investors possible. In surveys of the possible extraction of existing non- fossil mineral resources, 20 deposits were identified that are said to have the potential for economic extraction. However, a prerequisite for the start of production is an adequate security situation, which is not yet given in many places. In 2008, the Afghan government awarded a concession to mine the most significant copper deposits in Aynak, with 5.5 to 11.3 million tonnes of copper, to the Chinese state-owned China Metallurgical Construction Corporation (MCC), which had pledged 2.9 billion US dollars for the project to invest. However, the project was delayed due to contractual disputes and the critical security situation. A concession for the mining of iron ores at Hajigak was awarded to a consortium of seven Indian companies and a smaller part to a Canadian company. The USA has been supporting Afghanistan in establishing its own extractive industry since 2009.


    Band-e-Amir Lakes National Park
    Jam Minaret , UNESCO World Heritage
    Wakhan National Park in Badakhshan

    In Kabul, some hotels and guest houses are open to foreigners. Traveling outside the capital is dangerous. Many cultural treasures such as the famous Bamiyan Buddha statues were destroyed or looted. Afghanistan does not publish official figures on tourism. In the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called hippie trail led from Europe to South Asia through Afghanistan.

    For Afghanistan there is a travel warning issued by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (as of April 28, 2016). Travel is considered dangerous and is strongly discouraged as rescue (especially from the provinces) in the event of an accident is only possible under the most severe conditions and cannot be guaranteed .

    Telecom industry

    In 2008, mobile payment with M-Pesa was introduced by Afghanistan's telecommunications company Roshan and Vodafone. From 2009 the Afghan National Police then used M-Pesa in some parts of the country for payment, which made it possible to track down non-existent police officers and prevent the usual partial withholding of salaries by the upper ranks of the police.


    After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Afghanistan in 2017 out of 180 countries on the 177th place, with 15 out of a maximum 100 points. This makes Afghanistan one of the world's most corrupt countries. Corruption is widespread in all parts of the economy and the state. Billions in aid money for the economic development of the country have seeped away through corruption.

    State budget

    The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 6.39 billion , which was offset by income equivalent to US $ 1.70 billion, and Afghanistan also received international financial aid of US $ 2.7 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 10.5% of GDP . The national debt in 2016 was $ 1.540 billion, or 8.2% of GDP.

    In 2010, Afghanistan was waived by the states of the Paris Club US $ 441 million, a further US $ 585 million is sought. In 2007, Afghanistan had already canceled government debts amounting to billions as part of the HIPC initiative ; in 2006, the external government debt was the equivalent of USD 11.6 billion.

    In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


    The country has a barely existing infrastructure, which was also badly damaged in various wars. In the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank , Afghanistan came last out of 160 countries. In terms of the quality of the existing infrastructure, the country came third from the bottom of all the countries examined.


    The Kajakai Dam , built in 1953, dams the
    Hilmend River

    Afghanistan has been considered as a possible transit country for fossil fuels for decades; this due to its location between the Turkmen oil and natural gas fields of the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean . Construction of the long-planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline (TAP for short), which would supply Pakistan and possibly India with Turkmen natural gas, should have started in 2006. However, due to the uncertain security situation and unclear funding, the project has been postponed indefinitely and may no longer take place. Building the pipeline would create thousands of jobs and earn the state about $ 100 to $ 300 million in transit fees annually.

    power supply

    After the Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan in 2001, the electrical infrastructure in large parts of the country was destroyed: in 2003, only around 6-7% of the population had access to electricity, although it was only available for around four hours a day. 30% of all electricity connections in the country were in Kabul , the 42 power plants in existence at that time only had an output of 240  MW instead of the nominal 454 MW.

    Afghanistan's energy network was separated into unconnected sub-networks in the years that followed. In the north there were sub-networks between individual areas and neighboring countries: near Scheberghan (natural gas production and electricity generation in a 100 MW power plant), near Mazar-e Sharif and near Kunduz , in the east there were unconnected networks near Kabul and Jalalabad , in the west near Herat and in the south a sub-network between Kandahar , Laschkar Gah , Musa Qala and the Kajakai dam . After mainly local hydropower plants were repaired in the first few years, such as the Sarobi hydropower plant near Kabul, the plan for a supraregional energy system was created that could be built within a few years. In 2009, the first 90 megawatts (later up to 150 megawatts) reached Kabul via a 442-kilometer power line from Uzbekistan , with several cities in the vicinity of the high-voltage line also being connected at this time, for example Pol-e Chomri , or which will be connected soon. The rapidly growing city of Mazar-e Sharif also received energy from Uzbekistan via a branch in addition to an existing connection.

    The level of coverage rose again, albeit at a very low level. In 2009, the per capita consumption of electrical energy was 49  kWh , which was one of the lowest values ​​in the world. In 2011, 28% of the population had an electricity connection. The country had an installed capacity of around 500 MW, divided between hydropower plants and diesel generators . Electricity consumption totaled 3,086 GWh , of which 73% was imported from abroad.

    In Afghanistan there is a lot of potential for hydropower in particular: plans include expanding the Kajakai Dam with an additional Kajakai II hydropower plant . Other renewable energies such as wind energy and solar energy , which apart from decentralized island systems have so far not played a significant role, have great potential in Afghanistan. Reasons for their expansion in Afghanistan are u. a. less dependence on energy imports from neighboring countries with fluctuating and unpredictable delivery conditions, a longer range of domestic energy resources coal and natural gas, and a reduction in diesel imports, which on the one hand increase costs and cause environmental damage. The use of wind power and photovoltaic systems in the provinces of Herat and Balch is particularly promising , where a wind and solar power share of 65 to 70% could be achieved without major curtailment. In Herat z. B. strong winds about 120 days a year.

    Transport infrastructure

    Main traffic routes in Afghanistan

    The road network is being rebuilt and will also be expanded. The so-called Ring Road , the main artery of the country, around 60 percent of the population live in, has been repaired. By 2007, 715 kilometers had already been renewed. The completion of the last 400 km long, newly traced section, which would close the last gap in the north-west of the country, has been delayed due to the locally precarious security situation. In addition, over 800 km of secondary roads had been renewed or newly constructed by mid-2007. In 2017, the entire road network covered around 34,903 km, 17,903 km of which was paved.

    The border river Amu Darya or its source river Pandsch represents a natural obstacle for overland transport to the neighboring countries Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, as there are only a few bridges over these two rivers. There is sometimes a high risk of mines and many roads are often heavily undermined, depending on the season.

    Around 2000 the road traffic regulations of the GDR were adopted because many Afghan soldiers had been trained in the GDR.

    There are over 60 airfields and airports in Afghanistan , most of them are simple gravel roads. Larger airports are only available in a few cities; these are also or predominantly used for military purposes by the U.S. Air Force . The largest airport in the country is Kabul Airport . Over a dozen airlines fly to destinations in Afghanistan. Afghan airlines are Ariana Afghan Airlines , Kam Air and Pamir Airways .

    The Afghan rail network currently has a length of 87 kilometers in Russian broad gauge of 1520 millimeters. Short branch lines lead from Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan and Pakistan to Afghan territory, with the Chaiber Pass railway line to the Pakistani-Afghan border town of Landi Khana being closed. The route from the Uzbek Termez crossing on the Friendship Bridge (combined rail-road bridge) the Amu Darya and leads since August 2011 to 85 km distant airport of Mazar-i-Sharif . Almost half of the Afghan imports are processed through this bridge. A freight line from Serhetabat in Turkmenistan leads 2 kilometers to Afghan territory, which was renewed in 2007. These two lines were built during the time of the Soviet occupation. Due to the increasing foreign trade with Iran, there are efforts to build a railway line between Mashhad and Herat . There are also concrete plans to build a route from the Pakistani border town of Chaman to Kandahar and a connection from Pakistan via Kabul to Uzbekistan. This connection promotes the export of copper ore from the Aynak mine of the China Metallurgical Group , which is also building the route.


    There are four cellular networks. At the beginning of 2008 there were 4.5 million cell phone users in Afghanistan. Afghan Telecom's telecommunications network supplies all 34 Afghan provincial capitals as well as 254 towns and villages. In 2016, 6.8 percent of the population used the Internet.


    Development of child mortality (deaths per 1000 births)

    There are two doctors and 4.2 hospital beds for every 10,000 inhabitants. Only around 66 percent of the rural population has access to medical care. 80 percent of the doctors work in Kabul. 60 percent of the hospital beds and 40 percent of the pharmacies are also in the capital.

    Afghanistan has one of the highest mother-to-child mortality rates in the world. Medical specialists are only available for 19 percent of births. Every year around 24,000 women die before, during or immediately after giving birth. Almost a quarter of children die before the age of five. According to the World Bank , child mortality has been reduced significantly. In 1960, 36 percent of children died before their 5th birthday, in 2016 it was 7 percent.

    In 2015, 23% of the population was malnourished. In 2000 the rate was 46.1%.

    In the period from 2010 to 2015, life expectancy in Afghanistan was 62.3 years (women: 63.5, men: 61.1). Despite the very difficult conditions in the country, life expectancy has doubled since 1950–1955.


    Bagh-e Babur in Kabul
    Nouruz 2011. The Ali mausoleum in Mazar-e Sharif is the most important pilgrimage site in Afghanistan.
    Afghan carpet

    The region was shaped by Buddhism from about the 2nd to about the 10th century . Numerous remains of Buddhist sites have been preserved from this period. Islam, which had reached the area in the 7th century, initially spread rather slowly.

    One of the greatest sights was the Bamiyan Buddha statues . In 2001 these works of art worked into a rock wall were destroyed by the Taliban. The numerous remains of monasteries, painted caves, statues and fortifications in the Bamiyan Valley are on the UNESCO World Heritage List , as is the Jām minaret in the Ghor province with its archaeological remains.

    The Taliban destroyed and looted many works of art (including paintings and figures from Buddhist times), especially those depicting people. Employees at the local art institute managed to save works of art from the Taliban. The equestrian game Buzkaschi is considered an Afghan national sport . The Afghan national football team was founded in 1933, but played no more games between 1984 and 2002; today the team is active again and plays competitive games.

    Afghanistan's first professional football league, the Afghan Premier League , has existed since 2012 .

    On November 4, 2016, a marathon took place in Bamiyan, in which female athletes participated for the first time.

    The culinary specialties of Afghan cuisine include Khabilie Palau with delicious vegetable sauces, Borani Badendschan and Aschak .


    Afghan literature includes among other things the literature in Dari and Pashto , which was written by authors in the field of the Afghan state, which has existed since the 18th century. Dari speak as their mother tongue mainly Tajik and Hazara, but also more and more Pashtuns. The spread of the Pashtun language, an East Iranian language that differs greatly from Dari, does not coincide with today's Afghan national territory; it extends as far as Pakistan. Conversely, Urdu , which is widespread in Pakistan, is spoken by a minority in Afghanistan and is used as a literary language by some authors.


    The Pashto produced a noteworthy, but little-noticed or little-known literature outside the Pashtun-speaking area. The beginnings of Pashto literature go back to the 17th century and are heavily influenced by Persian. The authenticity of older manuscripts from the pre-Iranian period, which may have been written by Mohammad Hotak between 1728 and 1729, is questioned.

    Pīr Roschān (1525–1581 / 1585), a warrior, poet and Sufi master from the Ormur tribe, developed his own script that reproduced the sound structure of Pashto better than the Arabic script. Khushal Khan Khattak (Hushal Han, 1613–1689), a tribal ruler born in what is now Pakistan, leader of the uprising against the Mughal rulers and master of the landai , a form of two-line Pashtun short poems, are considered the best-known poets and writers of the Pashto of the classical epoch. who occasionally also wrote in Persian, as well as the mystical-erotic poet Abd ur-Rahman Mohmand ( Rahman Baba , 1653–1709 / 1711) and the secular love poet Abd ul-Hamid (* ~ 1732). They used the templates and forms of classical Persian poetry, e.g. B. the Ghazel , the meter of which was adapted to the Pashto folk poetry. Rahman Baba's poems were extremely venerated by the Pashtuns. Nazo Tokhi ("Nazo Ana", "Grandmother Nazo", approx. 1651–1717), a daughter of the chief of the Tokhi tribe, was known as a warrior as well as a poet. But the first king of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani (1724–1773), went down in the history of the country as a great poet. The grandson of Kushal Khan, Afzal Khan Khattak, compiled a history of Afghanistan from various sources around 1708 with the Tarich-e morassa .

    There is also rich folk poetry, which was first documented in the 19th century (albeit in the area of Peshawar in today's Pakistan) by James Darmesteter . The Afghan bards, however, were usually not court poets, but chiefs close to the people (until modern times those of the Kahttak clan in Pakistan) or dervishes who wrote poetry in Pashto. The gap between vernacular and literary language is small. A Pashto academy was founded in Kabul in 1931. This also endeavors to maintain the Pashtun language like its counterpart, the Pakhto Akedemi in Peshawar, the literary center of Pashto in today's Pakistan.

    In the thirties, western genres such as novellas, short stories, theater plays and (sequel) novels prevailed, especially in the feature pages. That was not easy, since the prose in Pashto was also tied to the ideal of the Persian courtly style. Two major areas of material emerged: historical topics, which were treated with transfigured patriotism, and realistic contemporary criticism, whereby the religious and socio-political basic rules of Islamic society were not shaken.

    After the Second World War there was a radicalization of literature. The lead was the short-lived literary association Wesch zalmayan (Wache Jugend). Abdul Rauf Benawa (1913–1987) and Gul Pacha Ulfat (1909–1977) were important authors of this period. Both wrote u. a. Didactic poems. Benawa's cycle of poems Preschana afka (Sad Thoughts 1957) is about the powerlessness, abandonment and disenfranchisement of people. The social activist Benawa addresses the differences between rich and poor in his country and the arbitrary rule of civil servants to which the mass of the dispossessed are exposed, while Ulfat gives a voice to the complaints of women about their social position. However, the young radicals used stereotypes that were distorted to the point of caricature: the village lord with a fat belly and a rifle, the peasant barefoot under the lord's whip, his daughter who was forced to marry, the doctor trained abroad, the mullah, etc. Benawa had to emigrate and died 1987 in American exile.

    Even Muhammad Taraki Only (1917-1979), who had a translator, diplomat and temporarily in exile, published socially critical short stories not free of stereotypes. From 1978 to 1979 he was Prime Minister and was presumably murdered. The author of patriotic poems, writer and psychologist Kabir Stori (1942–2006) studied in Germany. He was arrested in Pakistan in 1983 and was only able to emigrate to Germany because of successful international pressure.


    A pioneer of modernization after independence in 1919 was Mahmud Tarzi (1865/68? –1935), who supported the political reforms, published the first important newspaper Seraj ul akhbar (lamp of the news) and in 1919 became foreign minister. He translated the aesthetic literature from European languages ​​into Dari and introduced modern western terminology (nation, freedom, exploitation, science, railroad, airplane, ...) into Pashtul literature, where terms such as love, flower, nightingale and the traditions of tribal society used to be dominated.

    The storytelling tradition remained lyrical for a long time. The first modern short stories appeared around 1933; most of the authors were translators and journalists at the same time. The first novel in Afghanistan was published in 1938; its author was Sayed Mohammad Ibrahim Alemschahi. In the same year, other novels and serial novels appeared, such as Chandschar (dagger) by Jalaluddin Choschnawa and Begom by Suleiman Ali-Djaguri, which were influenced by traditional storytelling, but criticized traditional conditions. The most famous playwright of the 1940s was Aburraschid Latifi. Azizurrahman Fathi became known through two great socially critical novels from 1949 ( Sunrise ) and 1952 ( Under the Wild Rose ), through which he set new standards for long prose.

    Authors such as Balzac , Maupassant , Dickens , Jack London , Hemingway , Dostoevsky , Chekhov and Maxim Gorki have been translated into Dari since around 1953 . Since then, the realistic, regional-folk, often absurd short story - also under the influence of the Iranian left and the communist movement in Afghanistan - has gained ground. Mention should be made of Abdul-Ghafur Berschna (1912–82), who got his material from folk tales , Babrak Arghand (* 1946), Jalal Nurani, Rahnaward Zaryab and Akram Osman. Rosta Bakhtari wrote under the influence of symbolism and the literature of the absurd. Although the hope for democratization was quickly dashed, the situation of women in particular improved, which was also expressed in the work of the author and translator Roqqiya Abu Bakr (1919–2004). The poet and narrator Mohammad Musa Schafiq (1932–1979), a studied Islamic theologian and lawyer, was foreign minister in 1971 and prime minister from 1972 to 1973, who wrote in Pashto and Dari, and who by no means avoided the everyday life of the elite clichés .

    After the communist overthrow of April 1978, Schafiq was murdered in 1979. Mahbub emigrated to Pakistan, India and later to Canada in 1979. There was literary resistance to the Soviet occupation. a. by Layla Sarahat (1958-2004), Partov Naderi (* 1952) and Gholamschah Sarschar Schomali (1930-1981), who died in prison. The novelists Assadullah Habib (* 1941), Babrak Arghand and Alim Eftekhar can be seen as literary representatives of the new regime . Maga Rahmani and Marjam Mahbub (* 1955) ( The Desolate House 1990) emerged as narrators . The writer, literary scholar and president of the Afghan writers' association Assadullah Habib was rector of the University of Kabul from 1982 to 1988 .

    During the Taliban rule, many intellectuals went into exile, mostly in Iran due to the language relationship , but also in the USA. B. the narrator and writer of classical poems Razeq Fani . Among the authors who continued their work in Western exile were Spôjmaï Zariâb (* 1949), Tamim Ansary and the peace educator Ahmad Jawed . Marjam Mahbub also published other works in Dari in Canada.

    The promising poet Nadia Anjuman was killed by her husband in 2005 at the age of 25.


    Rahbeen Khorshid and Mohammad Afsar Rahbin, who actually speaks Dari, write poetry (also) in Urdu. Typical of Urdu literature is the Muschaira , the poets' symposium , at which many poets recite their poems.


    Afghanistan ranks 121st out of 180 countries on the 2019 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders . According to the report of the non-governmental organization, the press freedom situation in the country is "difficult". Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution, but in reality it is not respected by local rulers and various political groups. There is no freedom of the media in the Taliban-ruled regions of the country.

    In 1906 the first Afghan daily newspaper appeared in Dari, which was banned again after one issue. In 1911 it was brought back to life by Mahmud Tarzi. After 1919, the press and newspaper system were given a lot of support, and the first women's magazine appeared in 1921.

    After the Taliban came to power in 1996, there were no TV channels for five years; today there are 16 channels, which mainly broadcast films and series from abroad such as India, Pakistan and Iran in their entertainment program. Revealing clothing in advertising or in Indian series is made unrecognizable or shown blurred by image filters. Information programs and talk shows are also moderated by women.


    Statutory or state and agricultural holidays and festivals such as Nouruz , Independence Day and state memorial days are celebrated according to the Iranian solar calendar . Religious festivals are celebrated according to the Islamic lunar calendar .

    The calendar after the solar year is the state calendar, even if it has been repeatedly overridden in the course of history on the soil of today's country, but also since the naming "Afghanistan" in the 19th century. The last time the solar calendar was declared invalid by the Taliban was in 1996 . The Islamic lunar calendar was the calendar of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan".

    Since the Loja Jirga of 2004, the calendar based on the solar year has once again been anchored in the constitution. Accordingly, the beginning of the calendar is based on the time of the pilgrimage ( hijra ) of the Prophet Mohammad. The working basis of the state is the solar calendar based on that pilgrimage. 22 solar years correspond to 23 lunar years. The twelve month names of the solar calendar correspond to the signs of the zodiac in Afghanistan . Afghan calendars with German public holidays (GPL license) as well as further information on the Afghan calendar are available under Afghan Calendar Project .

    See also

    Portal: Afghanistan  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Afghanistan


    Web links

     Wikinews: Afghanistan  - in the news
    Wikisource: Afghanistan  - Sources and Full Texts
    Commons : Afghanistan  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
    Wikimedia Atlas: Afghanistan  geographical and historical maps
    Wiktionary: Afghanistan  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wikivoyage: Afghanistan  Travel Guide



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    This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 10, 2005 .

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