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People and Society






Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was re-elected in August 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability - particularly in the south and the east - remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government. In January 2011, Afghanistan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.


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Economy - overview
Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government's difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan's living standards are among the lowest in the world. While the international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $67 billion at nine donors' conferences between 2003-10, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 110
$30.11 billion (2011 est.)
$28.48 billion (2010 est.)
$26.26 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$18.18 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 52
5.7% (2011 est.)
8.4% (2010 est.)
21% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 213
$1,000 (2011 est.)
$900 (2010 est.)
$900 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 34.9%
Industry 25%
Services 40%
Data exclude opium production (2008 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 40
15 million (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 78.6%
Industry 5.7%
Services 15.7% (FY08/09 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 181
35% (2008 est.)
40% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line
36% (FY08/09)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 3.8%
Highest 10% 24% (2008)

Revenues $1.58 billion
Expenditures $3.3 billion
Afghanistan received $15.7 billion in 2010/2011 (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 211
8.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 192
-9.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 165
7.7% (2011 est.)
0.9% (2010 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 39
15.15% (31 December 2011 est.)
15.222% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 94
$5.928 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.943 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 118
$6.351 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$4.149 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 176
$363.6 million (31 December 2008 est.)
$20.06 million (31 December 2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Agriculture - products
Opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins

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

Industrial production growth rate

Electricity - production World Ranking: 165
285.5 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 178
231.1 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
120 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 147
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 169
4,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 130
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 160
4,512 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 100
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 86
30 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 109
30 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 49
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 144
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 67
49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 115
-$736 million (2010 est.)
-$2.475 billion (2009 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 130
$2.625 billion (2010 est.)
$547 million (2009 est.)
Not including illicit exports or reexports

Exports - commodities
Opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems

Exports - partners
Pakistan 31.4%, India 28.8%, Tajikistan 8.3%, Russia 5.2%, Bangladesh 4.7% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 98
$9.152 billion (2010 est.)
$5.3 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products

Imports - partners
US 31.4%, Pakistan 20.8%, Russia 8.4%, India 5.6%, Germany 4.1% (2011)

Debt - external World Ranking: 147
$1.28 billion (FY10/11)
$2.7 billion (FY08/09)

Exchange rates
Afghanis (AFA) per US dollar -
46.75 (2011)
46.45 (2010)

Fiscal year
21 March - 20 March


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  Afghanistan (Kabul):

  GPS points from Afghanistan (Kabul)

Surkach Paktia

Kohe Khwajabolaq Wilayat-e Samangan

Takatu Wilayat-e Wardak

Gora Kandugak Wilayat-e Bamyan

Bamyan Wilayat-e Bamyan
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