AfghanistanAfghanistan is officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It’s a landlocked country located within South Asia and Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China in the far northeast. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers, or 252,000 square miles, making it the 41st largest country in the world.

Afghanistan has numerous rivers and reservoirs. However, large portions of the country are dry. In fact, the Sistan Basin is one of the driest regions in the world. Aside from the usual rainfall, Afghanistan receives snow during the winter in the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains, and the melting snow in the spring season enters the rivers, lakes, and streams. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the country’s water flows into neighboring Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.

Photo of Qala-e Sabzi village by Steve McCurry.

Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan for at least 50,000 years, since the Middle Paleolithic Era. Strategically located along the Silk Road, Afghanistan has always been connected to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia. The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviet, and in the modern era by Western powers. It has been called by some as “unconquerable”. The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khaljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, and others have risen to form major empires.

The current and past periods of unrest in Afghanistan are naturally a negative impact on tourism in the country. However, for the adventuresome, it’s always been destination to consider. Plus it is hoped Afghanistan will eventually be free of strife and become the tourist mecca it should be.

Afghanistan has a population of 35 million, making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. The country’s major cities are:
Kabul – is the capital and largest city in Afghanistan.
Herat – the third largest city in Afghanistan, and the capital of Herat Province.
Puli Khumri

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If you have visited Afghanistan, please share your experience with other travelers by adding a review in the comment section below. Thank you!

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Vagabond Travel came into being April 16, 2014 when I departed Canada heading for Mexico City. I have no destination in mind, nor an itinerary to follow. This is a sort of website, journal and travel blog all rolled into one. That's about it.

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