Afghanistan | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

Infoplease has everything you need to know about Afghanistan. Check out our country profile, full of essential information about Afghanistan's geography, history, government, economy, population, culture, religion and languages. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags.

Facts & Figures

  • President:Now VACANT - Ashraf Ghani (2014-2021, forced into exile by Taliban)

    Chief Executive: Now VACANT - Abdullah Abdullah (2014-2020, only one to hold position)

    Total area: 251,827 sq mi (652,230 sq km)

    Population (2022 est.): 38,346,720 (growth rate: 2.3%); birth rate: 35.46/1000; infant mortality rate: 104.89/1000; life expectancy: 53.65

    Capital and largest city (2020 est.): Kabul, 4.435 million

    Other large cities: Kandahar, 614,118; Mazar-i-Sharif, 500,207; Charikar, 96,093; Herat, 574,276 (2019 est)

    Monetary unit: Afghani

    National name: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan

    Current government officials

    Languages: Dari Persian, Pashtu (both official), other Turkic and minor languages

    Ethnicity/race: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%

    Religion: Muslim 99.7% (Sunni 84.7 - 89.7%, Shia 10 - 15%), other <0.3% (2009 est.)

    National Holiday: Independence Day, August 19

    Literacy rate: 37.3% (2021 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2017 est.): $20.24 billion; per capita $2,000. Real growth rate: 2.7% (2013 est.). Inflation: 5% (2017 est.). Unemployment: 16.2% (2020 est.). Arable land: 11.8%. Agriculture: opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins. Labor force: 8.478 million; agriculture 44.3%, industry 18.1%, services 37.6%. Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones. Industries: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper. Exports: $1.48 billion; note - not including illicit exports or reexports (2020): opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semiprecious gems. Imports: $6.98 billion (2020): capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products. Major trading partners: Pakistan, India, U.S., Germany, Russia, China, Tajikistan.

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 145,787 (2020); mobile cellular: 22,678,024 (2020). Radio broadcast stations before Taliban control: AM 21, FM 5, shortwave 1 (broadcasts in Pashtu, Afghan Persian (Dari), Urdu, and English) (2020). Since about August 2021, many of the private stations have ended due to fear of censorship and financial hardships. There are still about 174 private radio stations, however.Television broadcast stations: at least 83 before Taliban censorship (2021). Internet users: 7,007,101 (2020).

    Transportation: Highways: total: 34,903 km; (2017). Waterways: 1,200 km; chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to about 500 DWT. Ports and harbors: Kheyrabad, Shir Khan. Airports: 46 (2021)

    International disputes: World's largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 57%, from 115,000 hectares in 2011 to 180,000 hectares in 2012. The Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; regional source of hashish (2013).

    Major sources and definitions