Afghanistan; Heart of Asia
Afghanistan is a landlocked country located with South Asia and Central Asia and considers as a bridge connecting these two important geographic areas in Asia. Afghanistan has geographical connectivity with the Middle East. Having centralized Presidential system which consists of three branches of powers (executive, legislative and judiciary) and the president is the head of all three branches.
Afghanistan is famous for its cultural; languages, climate, people, traditions, ethnics, tribes and religious diversities. To the north, its neighbors are Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Iran is to the west; the People's Republic of China is to the northeast, and the Pakistan to east and south. Number of people estimated living within this land is 36,000,000 and covering 652,000 square kilometers of the Asian lands, which is divided into 34 provinces, the largest in area are Herat; Helmand, Kandahar, and Farah. The largest in terms of population are Kabul, Herat, Balkh and Ghazni.
Traditional Islamic state of Afghanistan as of December 2002 (Formerly called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by the Taliban in 1997) even though is a landlocked country; it has been on the crossroads history. The country and people have been at the mercy of numerous empires and conquering states. Afghanistan was a prize worth possessing for its river basins and fertile valley and for its location on the east-west trade routes, especially the Silk-way rout to China. These geographical factors has affected and changed the people of Afghanistan, severally.
People of Afghanistan appreciate the important contribution of the United Nations to international peace, stability and development since its inception. We believe the UN should play a more active role in global affairs, in particular in the fields of development, environment and international justice. In order to assume such a role, the member states should help the UN to address some of its structural deficiencies, including under-presentation of developing nations in the influential bodies of the UN, and the UN bureaucracy.
Afghans also fully support the mission and objectives of the United Nations Assistance in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has a history of more than six thousand years, with many historical sights and attractions, among these are the more than two thousand year old famous Buddha Statues, the tomb of Hazrate Ali (the son in law of Prophet Mohammed p.b.u.h and the fourth caliph of Islam) in Mazar-e Sharif, the beautiful city of Balkh (also known as the Mother City of all Cities), the lakes of Band-e Amir, the deep lapis lazuli blue of the waters are a shocking contrast to the plain colors of the surrounding mountains.
Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan since 1776, is a fast growing city where tall modern buildings nuzzle against bustling bazaars; wide avenues are filled with colorful flowing turbans, gaily striped chapans (cloak) and a multitude of handsome faces. The city is ringed with mountains gleaming emerald green in spring and glistening white in winter. In summer, they have an ever changing beauty turning from deep purple to brilliant pink under the rising and setting sun. Two craggy ranges crowned with ancient bastions divide the city and the Kabul River flows through a narrow pass between them to meander through the heart of the city. Travelers have written glowingly of Kabul for centuries and modern visitors continue to be captivated by its charm.
The new face of Kabul after the fundamentalist regime of Taliban and major places of interest distinguishes this city from the rest.
Rising above the plain, the citadel (ca. 6th C. A.D.) served for centuries as the seat of the rulers of Afghanistan. It witnessed most of the exciting events of the country's history until 1880, when it was destroyed during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
The tomb of Timur Shah, son of Ahmad Shah Durrani, who moved the capital from Kandahar to Kabul, was built in 1817.
A charming landmark of the city is the mausoleum of Amir Abdur Rahman, one of Afghanistan's most dynamic rulers. It stands in Zarnegar Park, in the center of the city as a fine example of 19th Century architecture remaining in Kabul.
The imposing white-marbled, blue domed mausoleum of Nadir Shah stands on the hill known as Tapa Maranjan overlooking Kabul.
A graceful, many domed palace glimmers on a hill to the north of the city. Built as a summer residence with a huge swimming pool and surrounded by pine trees.
Laid out by Babur, the founder of the Moghul Dynasty, in the middle of the 16th Century, the gardens include a summer pavilion added by Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, a commemorative mosque built by Emperor Shah Jahan and the tomb of Babur himself. Babur died in Agra in 1530 but he so loved these gardens that he asked to be buried here, a wish which was fulfilled by his Afghan wife Bibi Mobaraka.
Furthermore, Afghanistan was at its glorious best for touring in the 1970s. Over 90,000 tourists visited Afghanistan from all over the world to see the unique beauty of the country and experience the treat of one of the most hospitable group of people. Today, despite decades of war, Afghanistan remains a fascinating country that embraces both the old and the new. With the ever increasing presence of the international community and the ongoing redevelopment projects, Kabul and other cities has been given a touch of modern architecture that gives the cities hope of a peaceful and prosperous future. Like these major cities of interest.
Bamiyan, with its archaeological remains, is the most conspicuous tourist site of Afghanistan. The village lies about 2500 m above sea level, 240 km west of Kabul and attracts thousands of visitors annually. The exquisite beauty of this valley is embraced by the snowcapped range of the Kohe Baba Mountains in the south and in the north by the steep cliffs in which massive images of Buddha are carved. The pastel colors of its surroundings give visitors an impression of the magnificence and serenity of nature.
The area of Bamiyan developed under Kanishka the Great to become a major commercial and religious center and the smaller statue of Buddha (38 m high) was built during his reign. Two centuries later the colossal Buddha statue (55 m high) was carved. Thousands of ornamented caves, inhabited by yellow robed monks, extended into Folladi and Kakrak valleys where a smaller statue of Buddha (6.5 m) stands. Pilgrims from the entire Buddhist world pour into Bamiyan to admire its spectacular and sacred sites. Bamiyan fell to the Islamic conquerors in the 9th Century.
Visitors to Afghanistan have marveled at the country's natural beauty. The formidable Hindu Kush, the vast Turkestan plains, and the seclusion of the southern deserts have impressed travelers from Alexander the Great to Marco Polo. It is the unspoiled natural beauty that forms the visitor's first and most enduring impression of the country. But of all the natural wonders of Afghanistan, the lakes of Bande Amir are perhaps the most out-standing. Situated in the mountainous Hazarajat at an altitude of approx.3000 m, 75 km from Bamiyan, these majestic blue lakes are of legendary beauty.
Kandahar, the birthplace and first capital of modern Afghanistan, founded by Ahmad Durrani in 1747, today home to less than a million people, is located on the Asia Highway halfway between Kabul and Herat. The area is rich with ancient history. Here, Alexander the Great founded Alexandria of Arachosia and the region was repeatedly fought over for by the Staffavids and Moghuls. It was the independent minded Afghans of Kandahar, first under the leadership of Mirwais Hotaki, its mayor and then of Ahmad Shah Durrani, who hastened the decline of both empires and annexed much of their territories to the young Afghan Kingdom in the 18th Century.
This history of Herat has been one of repeated destruction and reconstruction. Conqueror after conqueror, from the time of Alexander the Great, has taken it, destroyed it and then rebuilt it. In the 4th Century B.C. Alexander the Great built the fort which is still standing in the center of the City. From 1040 to 1175 the city was ruled by the Seljuks who defeated the Ghaznavids and destroyed the fortress. Herat was then captured by the Ghorids until the city fell under the control of the Khwarazm Empire. In 1221, Herat was taken by the Mongols and Tuli, the son of Genghis Khan, who ruled for a time, but the citizens revolted and killed the Mongol garrison chief. Extremely angered, Genghis Khan rode upon the city with 80, 000 troops and besieged it for six months, leaving only forty people living. In 1245, Herat was given to the Kart Maliks. Tamerlane destroyed Herat in 1381. However, his son, ShahRukh, rebuilt it and started the cultural renaissance which made it the center of learning and culture. During the Timurid rule, the famous poet of Herat, Jami and the miniaturist, Behzad were born, Queen Gawhar Shad's Musalla was built and Gazergah restored. For the second time in its history, the city flourished. In 1718 the Afghan clan Chief Hotaki, struggled for Herat's independence which continued until 1880, when finally the city became an integral part of Afghanistan.