Afghanistan – 10 interesting facts about this nation

When it comes to Afghanistan, for almost all of you it will definitely come to Taliban and terrorism, burkas and beards. But Afghanistan is much more. Beyond the headlines of war, there is another country where ancient traditions endure and a new country is emerging. Let’s get a deeper look into the nation through 10 interesting facts below.

Afghanistan - 10 interesting facts about this nation
Afghanistan’s national flag
  1. Afghans celebrate their new year, Nawroz, on 21 March, the first day of spring. Thousands travel to the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif to welcome in Nawroz, a pre-Islamic festival. Local strong men raise a great Janda, an Islamic banner, to herald the beginning of spring and the start of the new year.
  2. The term ‘Afghanistan’ means the ‘Land of Afghans’. Afghans is an alternative name for Pashtuns, the founders of the country, who also from its largest ethnic group.
  3. For a long period of time, the foreign affairs of Afghanistan were under the control of the United Kingdom. It was only on August 19, 1919, after the third Anglo-Afghan war, that the country regained sovereignty over its foreign affairs.
  4. The country has been divided into 34 administrative provinces (welayats), each of them having a capital of its own. Each province is sub-divided into many provincial districts, with each covering a city or several townships.

    Afghanistan - 10 interesting facts about this nation
    Kabul – The capital and biggest city in Afghanistan
  5. If you are interested to visit Afghanistan for some reasons, you need to come to Kabul. It is the capital city in Afghanistan and is considered as the largest one in the country.
  6. Afghanistan’s national game is called Buzkashi, or in other words, goat-grabbing. It’s a sport where the players in two teams try to catch a goat while riding on a horse, and gallop clear of the others to drop it in a chalked circle. It has been played for centuries and it even got sponsors for it nowadays.

    A man just wins Buzkashi by grabbing his goat
    A man just wins Buzkashi by grabbing his goat
  7. Poetry is a cherished part of Afghan culture. Afghans have told their stories in verse for more than 1,000 years. Thursday night is “poetry night” in the western city of Herat – men, women and children gather to share ancient and modern verse, listen to traditional Herati music, and enjoy sweet tea and pastries long into the night.
  8. Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan is said to be the busiest single runway airstrip in the world. No wonder it is also the place Nato has its first complete air traffic capability in a non-Nato country. Last year’s arrival of more than 30,000 extra US troops, along with more civilian personnel, added to constant landings on a base also used by non-US militaries. Of course, lots of journalists and dignitaries also fly in to one of Afghanistan’s most volatile cities, the most decisive battle in this war. Afghans have long said whoever controls Kandahar, controls Afghanistan.
  9. How do you call the people in Afghanistan? Don’t call them Afghanis because it is the currency in the country. You can call the local people as Afghans. Many people make mistake to differentiate the currency and people living in the country.
  10. Did you know that the world’s two largest standing Buddhas once stood in Bamiyan, Afghanistan  until the Taliban destroyed them in 2001.

    Afghanistan - 10 interesting facts about this nation
    The standing Budha in Bamiyan before being destroyed in 2001

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