Estimated 29 million; country is about the size of Texas.
Dari (Persian) and Pashto are the official languages of Afghanistan, making bilingualism very common.
Over 99% of the Afghan population is Muslim.
  • Over half of all Afghans do not have clean water and lack effective sanitation
  • One third of Afghanis survive on less than a $1 a day. Another third of the population is ranked just above this extreme poverty marker
  • Every 27 minutes, an Afghani woman dies from a pregnancy-related condition

Conflict and Crisis History

After the 1978 Marxist revolution and 1979 Soviet invasion, a 10-year war took place between the Soviet-backed Afghan government and the US-backed mujahedeen rebel forces in which over a million Afghans lost their lives.  This was followed by the Afghan civil war (1992–1996), the rise and fall of the extremist Taliban government and the 2001-present war.  The Taliban is an Islamist militant and political group that ruled large parts of Afghanistan and its capital, Kabul, from September 1996 until October 2001. While in power, they enforced one of the strictest interpretations of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world.  Afghanistan also suffered its worst drought in 30 years during 1998-2000, forcing many to abandon their homes beginning in June 2000.

Refugee History

  • More Afghani refugees are in the world than any other country, there have been 5.7 million Afghani refugees since 2002.
  • About 400 individuals were displaced each day in 2006-2010 (730,000 total). As of 2011, there remained 1.8 million Afghani refugees in Pakistan. There are an estimated 415,000 IDPs in Afghanistan.
  • Over a third of these IDPs were displaced between June 2009 and September 2010 as a result of armed conflict