Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia. It has an area of 652,230 square kilometers and a population of approximately 34 million people. The official name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and its abbreviation is AFG. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. It has a long history of conflict and instability due to its strategic location at the crossroads of major trade routes between East and West. The capital city of Afghanistan is Kabul, located in the eastern part of the country near the border with Pakistan. The official language is Pashto but there are also many other languages spoken in Afghanistan including Dari (Persian), Turkic languages (like Uzbek and Turkmen), Balochi and Pashai. The currency used in Afghanistan is the Afghan Afghani (AFN). Afghanistan has a culture that combines elements from both East and West due to its location at the crossroads between two civilizations. Music plays an important role in Afghan culture; traditional instruments include tabla drums, string instruments such as rubab (lute) or sitar (lute-like instrument), flutes like ney or sorna (wooden flutes), and wind instruments like shehnai (double reed oboe). Other popular forms of art include calligraphy, painting, embroidery, pottery-making, wood carving and metalworking. Afghans are also known for their hospitality; visitors are often welcomed with tea served with sweets or dried fruits. The northern boundary of Afghanistan, which is only a continuation of the Persian highlands, is formed by the Hindu Koeh, being a mountain range connecting the Himalayas with the highlands of western Asia; some mountainsof this range have a height of 20,000 feet. To this range joins on the eastern side the Soliman Mountains, which run southwards with the Salt Mountains, from Kala-Bagh, and with the Kheiber Mountains, and bisects the lowlands of the Pimjab and the Lower Indus with several mountain ranges, only leaving open two mountain passes, namely: one in the north in the valley of the Kabul River with the important border point Peshhawur; and to the south, the Bolan Pass, which holds open communion with Sindh. These mountain ramifications form several plateaus, for example those of Kabul, Ghasnah, and Kandahar, and extend, intersecting in various directions with valleys, to the desert of Sedjestan in the southwest. The northeastern catchment area of A., with the Kabul River and the further south Moerghab River, belongs to to the system of the indus (Sindh). The principal river in the southwest is the Flirmend, which rises on the western side in the Soliman Mountains and, after absorbing the Uryhendab from Kandahar, discharges into Lake Zareh. The climate is very different: hot and tropic-like in the south, sultry and mildly healthy in the lowlands along the rivers, sharply cold on the Ghasnah plateau, while the highlands of Kabul are distinguished by great fertility and a wonderful mountainous climate. As a result of this variety of air conditions, the date palms are found in the oases of the desert of Sedjestan, while the southern lower valleys display almost all the products of Indian nature, and the northern mountain regions produce nearly all kinds of European grain and fruit. The fair mountain plains of the plateaux favor cattle-breeding and horse-breeding; in the mountainous regions there are wolves, bears, foxes, and antelopes, and in the lower lowlands there are a multitude of beautiful bird species, as well as lions, tigers, leopards, jackals, and hyenas. Rock salt and sulfur can be mentioned from the mineral kingdom. The Afghans are not the original inhabitants of the country. Consisting of two main tribes, the Giljis and the Duranis, they presumably come from the mountainous regions of the Hindu-Kuh, and when they came from there they probably overthrew the Taji in the east and the Hindki in the west, being two tribes, which at that time had not yet mixed themselves with any other people. The Tajiks are industrious people who engage in servitude or agriculture; the Hindki, who are chiefly engaged in trade, are oppressed and despised. The Afghan is strong and brave; his face bears the mark of frankness, seriousness, and deliberation. He is a passionate zealot for the honor of his country and of his tribe. His language, Pushtuh, is related to Persian. He is Sunni-Mahomedan and thus strikes hostile to the Persians, who are Shiites. The country splits into several separate tribes (Uloess); At the head of each animal tribe is a klian with patriarchal authority. The most powerful princes of A. are the shanty of Kabul and the shanty of Herat. The main cities for commerce and traffic are: Herat, Kabul, Ghasnah and Kandahar. See 800zipcodes for Afghanistan Geography and Population. In Afghanistan, there are several major newspapers that are widely read and respected. The most popular newspaper is the Kabul Times, which has been in publication since 1984 and is printed in both English and Dari. It is known for its comprehensive coverage of national and international news, as well as its political commentary. The daily also features investigative pieces, editorials, opinion columns and interviews with prominent figures in the country. Another popular newspaper is Hasht-e-Subh (Eight O’clock), which was established in 1994 and is printed in both Dari and Pashto languages. It focuses on local politics, economy, culture and sports. Then there’s Payam-e-Mujahid (Message of the Mujahideen), which started publishing in 1992 as a propaganda paper for the Mujahideen forces during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Now it covers news from all over the country as well as international events. Finally, there’s Etilaat Roz (Daily News), a Kabul-based daily printed in Dari language that focuses on social issues such as health care, education, justice system and human rights abuses. These four newspapers are the most widely read publications in Afghanistan today, providing readers with vital information about their country’s current affairs. Check simplyyellowpages for other media in the country of Afghanistan.