66 Interesting Facts About Afghanistan

Last updated on April 18th, 2023

54. Marriage is considered an important element of one’s life in Afghanistan. Divorce is rare and is not much welcomed in society.

55. Polygamy is permissible in Afghanistan however it is rare. Many of the marriages are consummated between cousins.

56. Marriages are three-day lavish ceremonies during which a marriage contract is signed and the couple is brought together.

57. Living together in a common house is encouraged but never forced. Depending on the financial condition or personal preference, the sons of the family can live separately or with his father, mother and other siblings.

58. The total area of Afghanistan is 652,230 sq km.

59. Dari Persian and Pashto are official languages of Afghanistan.

60. Afghanistan is inhabited by – 80% Sunni Muslim, 19% Shia Muslim and 1% others.

61. Afghanistan’s national holiday is on August, 19.

62. Literacy rate in Afghanistan is 43%.

63. Noshaq (7,492 meters or 24,580 ft) is the highest point in Afghanistan.

64. Helmand is the longest river in Afghanistan.

wool rugs made by hand.
Many precious ancient colored wool rugs made by hand. Facts about Afghanistan. Photo © Fedecandoniphoto

65. Afghan rugs are very popular around the world.

66. The average life expectancy at birth in Afghanistan is 53.25 years (2021).

About the flag of Afghanistan

Flag of Afghanistan
The current flag of Afghanistan. 

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Afghanistan reflects its state after sweeping changes in 2021. It is now called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which raises the flag of the Taliban.

The current design features the Shahada in black script on a white field. It is an Islamic oath and creed which declares that there is only one God and that Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is his messenger. According to traditional schools, an honest recitation is all it takes for an individual to become a Muslim.

The white field represents “the purity of faith and government” of the Islamic Movement of Taliban. It reverses the typical color scheme for jihadist groups that prefer a black field. It comes from the 7th century Umayyad Caliphate which was responsible for taking Islam to the country.

2. Adoption

Afghanistan initially adopted this design on October 27, 1997. They reinstated it on August 15, 2021.

3. Technical Details

The official flag uses a proportion of 1:2. A variant flag with the same ratio has an elevated Shahada to make room for the script “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” at the bottom.

4. History

In 1994, the Taliban emerged from student militias in Islamic schools. They took over key cities and drove out the government with the help of Pakistan. In 1997, the Taliban flag became the flag of Afghanistan.

In 2001, the US launched a military offensive to overthrow the Taliban after it coddled Osama Bin Laden – the prime suspect in the 9/11 Attacks. Western forces worked with the local resistance movement to end the regime. An interim government ran the country with assistance from the United Nations.

In 2002, the flag changed to a vertical tricolor and a golden coat of arms. It resembles older Afghan flags in which the black remembers the past kingdoms, the red represents the blood spilled for independence, and the green signifies hope for the future. The flag of Germany inspired this tricolor design after King Amanullah Khan visited Europe in 1928.

Meanwhile, the Taliban regrouped in Pakistan. When NATO started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2021, the resurgent Taliban advanced quickly into the capital and reinstated their flag. The government collapsed, with most officials fleeing the country. A resistance led by the first Vice President Amrullah Saleh and the Northern Alliance’s Ahmad Massoud continued to oppose the Taliban from Tajikistan.

5. Flag Facts

The central emblem in many past Afghan flags features a mosque. Habibullah Khan, the Emir from 1901 to 1919, added this detail to his father’s flag. Some depictions surround it with wheat, while others encircle it with the sun’s rays forming an octagram. It is one of Afghanistan’s chief crops, along with rice, barley, and maize.

Other flags replace the mosque with a sun rising over snow-capped mountains, like the fourth flag during the reign of King Amanullah. It represents a new beginning for his kingdom. It is the first flag to make the tricolor bands vertical instead of horizontal – a format retained for the rest of the 1900s.

Afghanistan – the country at a glance

Independence19 August, 1919 (from the UK)
Capital CityKabul
(34°32′N 69°08′E)
Largest CityKabul
(34°32′N 69°08′E)
Areatotal: 652,230 sq km
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Population37,466,414 (July 2021 est.)
Population growth rate2.38% (2020 est.)
Official LanguagePashto and Dari
Languages spokenAfghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism, but Dari functions as the lingua franca
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Literacy rate43%
BordersChina 91 km, Iran 921 km, Pakistan 2670 km, Tajikistan 1357 km, Turkmenistan 804 km, Uzbekistan 144 km
Government typeUnitary autocratic Islamic provisional government
LeaderHibatullah Akhundzada
Prime ministerHasan Akhund (acting)
Chief JusticeAbdul Hakim Ishaqzai
National AnthemPashto: Milli Surood
National holidayIndependence Day, 19 August (1919)

National symbollion
National colorsred, green, black
Life expectancy at birth53.25 years (2021 est.)
Climatearid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
Terrainmostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Mean elevation1,884 m
Highest pointNoshak 7,492 m
Lowest pointAmu Darya 258 m
Natural resourcesnatural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones, arable land
Agricultural land58.1%
Birth rate36.08 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate12.57 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratio1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Industriessmall-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$784 million (2017 est.)
opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
Imports$7.616 billion (2017 est.)
machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,065 (2019 est.)
CurrencyAfghani (AFN)
Calling Code+93
Drives on theRight
Time ZoneD† (UTC+4:30)
Internet country code.af
Table last updatedJanuary 13, 2022