Afghanistan

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

Afghanistan served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from British control in 1919. In August 2021, the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban overran the country; the latest group to rule in this war-torn country since 1979.

Geography

Area

total: 652,230 sq km
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Climate

arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

Natural resources

natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones, arable land

People and Society

Population

39,232,003 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

current, reliable statistical data on ethnicity in Afghanistan are not available; Afghanistan's 2004 Constitution cited Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkman, Baluch, Pachaie, Nuristani, Aymaq, Arab, Qirghiz, Qizilbash, Gujur, and Brahwui ethnicities; Afghanistan has dozens of other small ethnic groups

Languages

Afghan Persian or Dari (official, lingua franca) 77%, Pashto (official) 48%, Uzbeki 11%, English 6%, Turkmani 3%, Urdu 3%, Pachaie 1%, Nuristani 1%, Arabic 1%, Balochi 1%, other <1% (2020 est.)

Religions

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

Population growth rate

2.26% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

theocratic; the United States does not recognize the Taliban Government

Capital

name: Kabul

Executive branch

chief of state: Overall Taliban Leader HAYBATULLAH Akhundzada serves as the head of the Taliban government as Amir-ul Momineen; note - on 7 September 2021, the Taliban announced Mohammad HASSAN Akhund as the “acting prime minister” of the "caretaker government”; as of November 2021, the group had announced three "acting deputy prime ministers” - Abdul Ghani BERADER, Abdul Salam HANAFI, and Abdul KABIR
head of government: Overall Taliban Leader HAYBATULLAH Akhundzada serves as the head of the Taliban Government as Amir-ul Momineen

Legislative branch

description: the Taliban Government has not announced the formation of a legislative branch; before the 2021 Taliban takeover, Afghanistan had a bicameral National Assembly that consisted of the House of Elders and House of the People

Economy

Economic overview

extremely low-income South Asian economy; import drops, currency depreciation, disappearing central bank reserves, and increasing inflation after Taliban takeover; increasing Chinese trade; hit hard by COVID; ongoing sanctions

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$60.803 billion (2021 est.)
$76.711 billion (2020 est.)
$78.558 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2021 est.)
$2,000 (2020 est.)
$2,100 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, grapes, vegetables, potatoes, watermelons, melons, rice, onions, apples

Industries

small-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper

Exports

$1.476 billion (2020 est.)
$1.516 billion (2019 est.)
$1.609 billion (2018 est.)

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 45%, Pakistan 24%, India 22%, China 1% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, figs, grapes, cotton, fruits and nuts, coal (2021)

Imports

$6.983 billion (2020 est.)
$7.371 billion (2019 est.)
$7.988 billion (2018 est.)

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 23%, Pakistan 17%, India 13%, Uzbekistan 7%, China 9% (2021)

Imports - commodities

wheat flours, broadcasting equipment, refined petroleum, rolled tobacco, aircraft parts, synthetic fabrics (2019)

Exchange rates

afghanis (AFA) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
76.814 (2020 est.)
77.738 (2019 est.)
72.083 (2018 est.)
68.027 (2017 est.)
67.866 (2016 est.)


Page last updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024