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Afghanistan Information - Page 1
Geography
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is in Southern Asia and is bordered by Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.

Kabul is the capital city. Other principal cities include Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif.

Afghanistan is very mountainous with plains in the north and southwest. The main rivers are the Kabul and Amudarya.

Afghanistan's climate is arid to semiarid. It has cold winters and dry, hot summers, depending on altitude.

Environment
Afghanistan is a landlocked country with mountains, valleys, plains, deserts and rivers.

Cedar, fir, pine and oak trees grow in forested areas. However, today, deforestation and desertification number among the country's problems.

Band-i-Amir National Park, in Bamiyam province north of Kabul, consists of six lakes separated by natural dams. The dams are travertine systems, created by mineral deposits.

Wildlife includes ibex, sheep, wild cats, foxes and wolves.

Architecture
Over two decades of war left Afghanistan with a severe housing problem. Following the fall of the Taliban in 2001 over a million refugees arrived in the capital. Many people crowded together in houses, while others found makeshift shelters such as tents and abandoned buildings.

The Minaret of Jam, in the Ghur province, was inscribed on the World Heritage in Danger List in 2002 and the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley site was added to the List in 2003. The Bamiyan Valley site suffered a great loss in March 2001 when the Taliban destroyed two standing Buddha statues.

Population
The population of Afghanistan was estimated at 33,609,937 in 2009. Many of the people are Pashtun, others are Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek.

Languages
A number of languages are spoken in Afghanistan; many of the people are bilingual.

Religion
Afghanistan is an Islamic country.

Food
Afghan food is quite spicy and meals are often served with yoghurt and pickles. Naan bread accompanies meals. Different types of kebabs are popular. Pilau is a favourite main dish, made with rice, lamb or chicken, carrots and raisins. Dairy products such as cheese and eggs are part of the diet.

Vegetables grown are aubergines, carrots, chickpeas, cucumbers, leeks, onions, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Fruits include apples, apricots, figs, grapes, mulberries, pomegranates and watermelons. Nuts are often used in sweets, such as baklava and halva.

Tea, either black or green, is the most popular drink.

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