Shrine of Hazrat Ali, also known as the Blue Mosque, is a mosque in Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan


Muhammad Ali Toru

Afghan school children in Kabul, Afghanistan


Flag of Afghanistan: The center of the emblem features
a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the
mosque are numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the
Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence
from the UK); this central image is circled by a border
consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in
the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada
(Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun
over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is
great"), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name
Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood
shed for independence, and green can represent either
hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam


The Afghani – Afghanistan’s Currency


1.28 billion (FY10/11)


The Origin: Archaeological
exploration began in Afghanistan in
earnest after World War II and
proceeded promisingly until the Soviet
invasion disrupted it in December of
1979. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic,
Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron
ages were found. It is not yet clear,
however, to what extent these periods
were contemporaneous with similar
stages of development in other
geographic regions. The area that is now
Afghanistan seems in prehistory--as well
as ancient and modern times--to have
been closely connected by culture and
trade with the neighboring regions to the
east, west, and north. Urban civilization
in the Iranian plateau, which includes
most of Iran and Afghanistan, may have
begun as early as 3000 to 2000 B.C.
About the middle of the second
millennium B.C. people speaking an
Indo-European language may have
entered the eastern part of the Iranian
Plateau, but little is known about the area
until the middle of the first millennium
B.C., when its history began to be
recorded during the Achaemenid


Ahmad Shah Durrani (1722-1772):
Born in Multān, Punjab or Herāt he is
considered the founder of the state of
A member of the noble Sadōzai clan and
the second son of Moḥammad Zamān
Khan, a hereditary chief of the Abdālī
tribe of Afghans, Aḥmad rose to
command an Abdālī cavalry group under
Nādir Shah of Persia, and, on Nādir
Shah’s assassination, the Afghan chiefs
elected Aḥmad as shah. He was crowned
in 1747 near Kandahar, where coins
were struck in his name and where he set
up his capital. Embarking on the
conquest of regions held by ineffectual
rulers, he invaded India nine times
between 1747 and 1769, supposedly with
no intention of founding an empire there.
After an unopposed march to Delhi in
1757, he plundered that city, Agra,
Mathura, and Vrindabad.
Ahmad married Ḥazrat Baygam,
daughter of the Indian Mughal emperor
Muḥammad Shah. His son Tīmūr
remained behind as viceroy of the
Punjab and married the daughter of
India’s puppet emperor Ālamgīr II.
Tīmūr was driven out in 1758 by a force
of Sikhs, Mughals, and Marathas, but in
1759–61 Aḥmad Shah swept the
Marathas from the Punjab and destroyed
their large army at Panipat, north of
Delhi. In the 1760s he attempted four
times to crush the Sikhs, but his empire
was restive with serious revolts nearer
home, and he lost control of the Punjab
to them. He is buried in a mausoleum in


Hamid Karzai
Karzai was the son of the chief of the
Popalzai Pashtuns, and both his father and
grandfather served in the government of
Mohammad Zahir Shah. Under the
Soviet-imposed regime in the 1980s, the
Karzai family left Afghanistan and settled
in Pakistan. During the Afghan War, he
worked with the Mujahideen, who sought
to overthrow the Soviet-backed
government, and often traveled to the
United States to seek support for the
cause. After Communist rule ended the
Mujahideen established a coalition
government, with Karzai serving as
deputy foreign minister.
In July 1999 his father was assassinated,
an act that he blamed on the Taliban, and
leadership of the Popalzai passed to
Karzai. Following the 9/11 attacks, the
U.S. toppled the Taliban. Subsequently,
representatives from various Afghan
groups, aided by the international
community, named Karzai chair of an
interim administration. In January 2004, a
new constitution was approved that called
for a directly elected president. Later that
year Karzai won the presidential election
and was sworn into office.





Qabuli Pulao
(Picture courtesy of Jost Wagner at

Naan bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan
(Picture courtesy of USAID)


Rubab (or "rabab")








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