Afghanistan is an Islamic republican state located in both Central and South Asia. Its neighbors are China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The country covers an area of 252,000 square miles making it the 41st largest country globally. The capital city of Afghanistan is Kabul, which is also the largest city in the country. As of 2016, the population of Afghanistan was estimated at 34,656,032.
Geography of Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a mountainous country. The Hindu Kush Mountains which traverse the nation from northeast to southeast divide the nation into three distinct regions. These regions include the Southwestern Plateau, the Central Highlands, and smaller plains in the northern part of the state. Noshaq, with an elevation of 24,580 feet, is the highest point in Afghanistan. It is part of the Hindu Kush range of mountains. The country has numerous reservoirs and rivers, but two-thirds of its water flows into the neighboring countries. Rainfall in the country is very scarce, falling mainly in the northern highlands.
Afghanistan is divided into 34 wilayats or provinces. Each province has its capital and a provincial government headed by a provincial governor. The provinces are divided into smaller administrative units called provincial districts which are governed by district governors. The president of Afghanistan appoints the provincial governors who in turn select district governors.
The government of Afghanistan has three branches; the judicial, legislative, and the executive. The President of Afghanistan is the head of state. After a hotly contested election held in the country in 2014, a government of national unity was formed to accommodate the two front-runners. A new position of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was also created. The CEO chairs the Minister’s Council which recommends policies to the President. Afghanistan’s parliament is bicameral, consisting of a lower house and an upper house. The upper house is called the House of Elders, and the lower house is known as the House of the People. The Chief Justice heads the judiciary.
The economy of Afghanistan relies mostly on agriculture. It is the largest opium producer in the world. Approximately 11% of the country’s GDP comes from the growth and sale of the crop. Afghanistan also exports a lot of high-quality fruits and nuts. The country’s nominal GDP as of 2017 was estimated at $19.290 billion while the per capita income was $576.
Although it is among the least developed countries in the world, Afghanistan is very rich in mineral deposits. It has vast reserves of natural gas liquids, natural gas, and crude oil. It also has significant deposits of lithium, gold, copper, and coal. If the country tapped into this potential, there would be massive improvements in its economy.
The government of Afghanistan is currently working on reviving the country’s economy. This plan has seen more than 5 million Afghans who were expatriates in other countries return to their motherland. Many of them are investing their expertise, energy, and wealth in the construction industry which is one of the leading industries in the country. Others are using their resources to fund start-up businesses which are generating revenue for the government and creating new jobs.