Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: General Questions about Afghanistan

What is the size of Afghanistan?

The area of Afghanistan is 647,500 sq. km. (249,935 sq. mi.), which is slightly smaller than Texas.


What is the population?

The population is 29,863,000 (2005 est.). Since 1980, and especially during the Taliban regime, many Afghans took refuge abroad, mainly in Pakistan and Iran. Since 2001, Afghans are returning in record numbers every year.


What is the capital of Afghanistan?

Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan with a population of about 2,000,000.


What natural resources are found in Afghanistan?

Natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones are all naturally found in Afghanistan.


Among the population, what are the major religious, ethnic, and linguistic groups?

Afghanistan has been for centuries a land of diverse peoples. Communities with separate religions, languages, and ethnic backgrounds have lived side-by-side. With a multitude of distinct ethnic groups, Afghanistan still remains a country of dynamic diversity.

The main ethnic groups are Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani and Kizilbash.

Pashto and Dari are Afghanistan’s official languages. Afghanistan’s Constitution stipulates that all other languages are “official” in the areas in which they are spoken by a majority of the population. Dari is spoken by more than one-third of the population and Pashto is spoken throughout Kabul and eastern and southern Afghanistan. Many Afghans are mulch-lingual. Tajik and Turkic languages are spoken widely in the north. Smaller groups throughout the country also speak more than 70 other languages and numerous dialects.

Afghanistan is an Islamic country. An estimated 80% of the population is Sunni, following the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. The remainder of the population is predominantly Shi'a. In recent history, Afghanistan has been host to Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh religious groups.


What is the geography and climate of Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is a beautiful country with soaring mountains and steep plateaus. The terrain contains numerous mountain ranges, but also deserts, rivers, lakes, plains and forests. Afghanistan has a relatively dry climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot with plenty of sunshine; during the spring flowers bloom across the country; falls are mild; and winters are cold with snow in most areas. Average rainfall is 250 mm per year, but amounts vary greatly regionally.

Afghanistan is completely landlocked, bordered by Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan.


How did Afghanistan become a sanctuary for terrorism?

In the three decades prior to the tragic events of 9/11, the people of Afghanistan suffered from the consequences of two interconnected tragedies, the occupation by the former Soviet Union and the influx of extremism in the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal. When the country suddenly lost her strategic importance in the aftermath of the Cold War, international disengagement left Afghanistan vulnerable, effectively allowing the country to become a base of operations for transnational terrorists, extremists, and drug traffickers. In this fashion, Afghanistan was both a victim of the Cold War and a victim of the end of the Cold War. On October 7, 2001, the US-led Coalition forces reengaged Afghanistan, and the Afghan people have benefited greatly in the intervening five years.


Can U.S. citizens adopt children from Afghanistan?

At the moment, there is no adoption under Afghan law, only guardianship, which, as we understand the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security and the Board of Immigration Appeals may deem insufficient for the purposes of immigration under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Guardianship refers to sponsoring Afghan children to travel to the U.S. for obtaining an educational opportunity, etc. We occasionally receive inquiries from kind and concerned citizens concerned about the plight of the children of Afghanistan and offering the possibility of adopting them. We appreciate very much your support and friendship, but regret that at this time, it is not possible to adopt Afghan children, for the aforementioned reasons.