Capital City: Kabul
Afghanistan is a landlocked country in the heart of Asia
, bordered by Pakistan
to the south and east, Iran
to the west, Turkmenistan
to the north. There is a short border with China
to the far northeast, but in extremely inaccessible terrain.
Temperatures in the north can be below freezing for most of the winter, and snow in the higher elevations is common. Summertime highs in lower elevations (such as Kandahar
) can exceed 50C/120F. In higher areas such as Kabul, summer temperatures can be 30C/90F and winter around 0C/30F. The most pleasant weather in Kabul is during April, May and September.
Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest. The Hindu Kush mountains run northeast to southwest, dividing the northern provinces from the rest of the country, with the highest peaks found in the northern Wakhan Corridor
. South of Kandahar is desert. The lowest point is Amu Darya at 258 meters, and the highest is Nowshak at 7,485 meters.
Afghanistan is a very ethnically diverse country. Tribal and local allegiances are strong, which complicates national politics immensely. The Largest ethnic groups are the Pashtuns, Tajiks/Persians, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.Baloch tribesmen, still largely nomadic, can be found anywhere between Quetta
, including much of Western Afghanistan. They make marvellous rugs, if somewhat simple. There are about 30,000 to 150,000 Hindus and Sikhs living in different cities but mostly in Jalalabad
, and Kandahar
who belong to the Punjabi, Sindhi, Kabuli, and Kandhari ethnic groups.Hazaras in the Central mountains look much more Asiatic than other Afghans. According to some theories, they are descended from Ghengis Khan''s soldiers.The two largest linguistic groups speak Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian). Pashto speakers predominate in the South and East, Dari inNorth, west and central Afghanistan. About 11% of the population have Turkic languages, Uzbek or Turkmen, as their first language. Many of them are in the North, near Uzbekistan