BACKGROUND:Afghanistan was subdued and occupied by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R. i.e. Russia) in 1979. Subsequently in ten years, anti-communist forces provided and trained by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan assisted in the removal of the Soviet power. As the fighting resumed, a fundamentalist Islamic movement referred to as the Taliban managed to seize most of the country. Under their ascendancy, the country of Afghanistan became extremely improvished and suffered from a fallen governmental infrastructure.
GEOGRAPHY:Afghanistan is situated in southern Asia, northwest of Pakistan; east of Iran. It possesses a total land area of 647,500 sq. km. In its comparative aspect, Afghanistan is slightly smaller than Texas. Bordering countries such as China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan surrounds it. The land is less than 12% arable. 46% of the land consists of permanent pastures and 3% are occupied with forests and woodlands. Mostly rugged mountains and plains in the north and southwest portion of the country make up its terrain. Afghanistan is susceptible to natural hazards such as damaging earthquakes, floods, and droughts. This country has a seasonal climate of arid and semiarid air. They experience cold winters and hot summers. Current environmental issues involve soil degradation, overgrazing, deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials), and desertification. This country has established international environment agreements to deter marine dumping and nuclear testing, in addition to the implementation of environmental modification and preservation of its endangered species.
PEOPLE:Afghanistan possess a population of 26,818,057 (July 2001 est.) This number consists of 42% under the age of 14, 55% classified between the ages of 15 and 64, and 3% over the age of 65. As of 2001, this country has seen a population growth rate of 3.5%, but this rate exhibits the continuous return of refugees from Iran. The life expectancy of the Afghan people is about 46 years of existence. Afghanistan occupies a multitude of ethnic cultures and groups such as Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek. Most people of this country adopt the religion of Islam with 84% practicing as Sunni Muslims and 15% as Shia Muslims. The languages of this country are in a variation of Pashtu, Afghan Persian, Turkic, and much of them in bilingualism. Illiteracy is the prevalent impediment among the Afghan people with only 31% of the population capable of reading and writing. In the aspect of gender, 47% of the males have the ability to read and write, which is a substantial difference to females who consist of only 15% of the literate group.
GOVERNMENT:The Islamic State of Afghanistan has no functioning central government because the country has been preoccupied with warfare instead stabilizing its economic and governmental structure. It is administered by factions of authority that oversees its administrative divisions. Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamian, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabol, Kandahar, Kapisa, Konar, Kondoz, Laghman, Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Parvan, Samangan, Sar-e Pol, Takhar, Vardak, and Zabol represent Afghanistans 30 provinces. Kabul is the capital of this country, which gained its independence on August 19, 1919 from the United Kingdoms control. Although it has no executive, legislative, and judicial dominance, this country operates under Sharia (Islamic Law). The Taliban has proclaimed themselves the adequate government of Afghanistan, however since the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001, American troops have usurped many Taliban officials from the country including its leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama Bin Landin. Before the intrusion of the Islamic perpetrators, Burhanuddin Rabbani of the United National Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UNIFSA) maintained its governmental infrastructure. No embassy operations are present in America since its suspension on August 21, 1997. Also, due to security concerns, the US embassy in Kabul has been closed since January 1989.
EDUCATION: 95% of Afghanistans children find education inaccessible, a lucid indication that the education system in this country is not a priority. This is largely due to the continuation of armed conflict. This generation of Afghans seem to be existing in a state of illiteracy, and girls are most affected. It is reported that 8,000 girls in Afghanistan managed to acquire education up to the rudimental level. It is also