Economic Cooperation Organization

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan *

Afghanistan is a landlocked country of South-Central Asia. H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is the current President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The country extends about 600 miles (970 km) from north to south and about 800 miles (1,300 km) from east to west, including the very narrow Wakhan, a corridor of 150 miles (241 km) long connecting Afghanistan with China. Afghanistan is also bordered on the south and southeast by Pakistan, on the west by Iran, and on the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Its total area is 652, 900 square km.

Afghan people are of Pashtun, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras ancestries. The Pashtuns mainly inhabit the southern and eastern parts of the country. Most Pashtuns are sedentary. The Tajiks, mostly farmers and artisans, live predominantly in the northeast and in the west of Herat. The Uzbeks are mainly farmers living north of the Hindu Kush. The Hazaras are nomads who inhabit the central mountains. The Country has a relatively young population.

The official languages of the country are Pashtu and Dari, both Indo-European languages. Pashtu is spoken by about half the population. Dari is the language of about a third of the population-mainly the Tajik, Hazara and Kizilbash people. More than four-fifths of Afghanistan's population is rural, and nearly one fifth of the country's population is nomadic.

Natural resources of Afghanistan include the natural gas, with large reserves near Sheberghan in Jowzjan province, near the Turkmen border, about 75 miles west of Mazar-e-Sharif. The Khwajeh Gugerdak and Yatim Taq fields are major producers, with storage and refining facilities. Pipelines deliver natural gas to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and to a thermal power plant and chemical fertilizer plant in Mazar-e-Sharif. Petroleum resources have proved to be insignificant. Many coal deposits have been found in the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush. Major coalfields are at Karkar and Eshposhteh, in Baghlan province, and Fort Sarkari, in Balkh province.

* The data and statistics here are reproduced from the following UN source: