Afghanistan

It's difficult to find a country that has witnessed more war and political strife within and around its borders – and throughout its entire history - than Afghanistan. The current situation, which sees the country as battleground and its citizens as casualties in an ongoing war between Taliban-led radicals and various Western interests, is only the latest in a long string of problems this nation has seen since the days of antiquity. Sitting at a mountainous and desolate junction, at the meeting place between Central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, Afghanistan has frequently been a popular Silk Road pit-stop that everyone wants to keep but no one seems able to do so for long. The latest series of struggles and strife, which began with the Soviet Invasion of 1979, has most certainly left its mark. Poverty levels here are at all time highs in some regions, and the chances of visitors making it out alive vary from day to day and range from ‘slim to none’ and ‘do you lucky, punk?’ While it may be cool to visit a place most of your friends will never get to see and while opportunities exist for those who wish to work in the country, there is a reason that Afghani people make up the largest group of refugees worldwide, as they continue to flee what they see as a powder keg. Our advice? Just don’t go. At least not yet. ~ WBB Staff Writer


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 Full name: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

 Population: 30.4 million (2011)

 Capital: Kabul

 Largest city: Kabul

 Area: 652,230 sq.km. (251,827 sq.mi.)

 Major languages: Dari, Pashto and Turkic  Languages

 Major religions: Islam (Sunni 80%, Shia  20%)

 Monetary unit: Afghan afghani

 GDP per capita: US $1,000

 Internet domain: .af

 International dialling code: +93

 Source: CIA World Factbook