Country:     Afghanistan   Click here for map of Afghanistan

Continent:     Asia

Capital:           Kabul

Population:   31,889,923 — the 42 most populous country

Language:     Dari and Pashto mainly but there are many  others

Religion:        Sunni Muslim 80% and Shi’a Muslim 19%; Friday is Muslim holy day

Terrain:         Varies from snow-capped mountains to river valleys to desert

Sports:           Soccer, cricket, volleyball, basketball and boxing

Animals:        Snow leopard, Rhesus monkey

Facts of interest:

  • It has a very old and nomadic culture – some 2000 years old.
  • It is a landlocked country and has rich mineral deposits.
  • Lapis lazuli, the beautiful blue stone is from here.


Conflict:  Afghanistan has suffered from chronic instability and conflict since the 1800s when Imperial Russia and the British Empire in India vied for influence in the area.  A protracted civil war escalated due to the Cold War, the Taliban take-over, NATO-led peace-keeping from 2001 to 2014, and the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban.  In May, 2015, Taliban and Afghan officials had informal peace talks in Qatar.  They will continue to talk, though the Taliban will continue to fight until all foreign troops are gone.

Drug Trade:  Afghanistan supplies over 90% of the world’s opium, providing about $100M of annual income.

Refugees in 2015:  ~242 thousand from Pakistan

IDPs* in 2015:  ~948 thousand – mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis (nomadic people) displaced in the south and west due to drought and instability

Mission:  NATO-led Resolute Support Mission started in January 2015, provides training, advice and assistance to security forces.  Religion-based mission activities are few, if any.

Sources:,,, Learn more about Afghanistan from the Presbyterian Yearbook online.

*(Note:  An IDP is an Internally Displaced Person, meaning they had to leave their homes but are remaining in the country).