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Afghanistan Flag

Afghanistan Flag
Flag of Afghanistan
Afghanistan flags for displaying indoors or out.
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Afghanistan

Afghanistan Background

Afghanistan's recent history is characterized by war and civil unrest. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, but was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahidin forces supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. Fighting subsequently continued among the various mujahidin factions, giving rise to a state of warlordism that eventually spawned the Taliban. Backed by foreign sponsors, the Taliban developed as a political force and eventually seized power. The Taliban were able to capture most of the country, aside from Northern Alliance strongholds primarily in the northeast, until US and allied military action in support of the opposition following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks forced the group's downfall. In late 2001, major leaders from the Afghan opposition groups and diaspora met in Bonn, Germany, and agreed on a plan for the formulation of a new government structure that resulted in the inauguration of Hamid KARZAI as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) on 22 December 2001. The AIA held a nationwide Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in June 2002, and KARZAI was elected President by secret ballot of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA). The Transitional Authority has an 18-month mandate to hold a nationwide Loya Jirga to adopt a constitution and a 24-month mandate to hold nationwide elections. In December 2002, the TISA marked the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Taliban. In addition to occasionally violent political jockeying and ongoing military action to root out remaining terrorists and Taliban elements, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread land mines.

Afghanistan Economy

Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country, highly dependent on foreign aid, farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats), and trade with neighboring countries. Economic considerations have played second fiddle to political and military upheavals during more than two decades of war, including the nearly 10-year Soviet military occupation (which ended 15 February 1989). During that conflict, one-third of the population fled the country, with Pakistan and Iran sheltering a combined peak of 4 to 6 million refugees. Gross domestic product has fallen substantially over the past 20 years because of the loss of labor and capital and the disruption of trade and transport; severe drought added to the nation's difficulties in 1998-2002. The majority of the population continues to suffer from insufficient food, clothing, housing, and medical care, and a dearth of jobs, problems exacerbated by political uncertainties and the general level of lawlessness. International efforts to rebuild Afghanistan were addressed at the Tokyo Donors Conference for Afghan Reconstruction in January 2002, when $4.5 billion was pledged, $1.7 billion for 2002. Of that approximately $900 million was directed to humanitarian aid - food, clothing, and shelter - and another $90 million for the Afghan Transitional Authority. Further World Bank and other aid came in 2003. Priority areas for reconstruction include upgrading education, health, and sanitation facilities; providing income generating opportunities; enhancing administrative and security arrangements, especially in regional areas; developing the agricultural sector; rebuilding transportation, energy, and telecommunication infrastructure; and reabsorbing 2 million returning refugees. The replacement of the opium trade - which may account for one-third of GDP - and the search for oil and gas resources in the northern region are two major long-term issues.

Afghanistan Location

Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran

Afghanistan Flag

three equal vertical bands of black (hoist), red, and green, with a gold emblem centered on the red band; the emblem features a temple-like structure encircled by a wreath on the left and right and by a bold Islamic inscription above


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