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Most Interesting Facts About Afghanistan!

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Afghanistan is a landlocked country, somewhere in the middle of Central and South Asia. It’s the 40th largest country in the world. It has a violent history, and though they have often been united against invaders, they have been divided among themselves.

facts about afghanistan

I typed ‘Afghanistan’ in the Google search bar and clicked on ‘images’ and all the pictures that came up were of soldiers, armies, war etc. I kept scrolling down, but there was not a single picture of anything besides soldiers. Not that it wasn’t expected, but if all the searches on Google for Afghanistan are just about war and such news, its kind of sad. We hope that this battered, but beautiful and proud country sees peace and calmer times in the years to come. We would also hope that more travellers, more bloggers, more people visit Afghanistan and also see its other side and write about that.

Geography and borders: To its south and east lies Pakistan, to its west lies Iran. China lies to its northeast. And in the west are the countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Top Interesting Facts about Afghanistan:

1) Afghanistan’s national sport is Buzkashi (goat grabbing). It is unofficially known as the wildest sport in the world. It involves riders on horseback trying to grab a headless goat carcass, steer clear of the other riders and place the carcass in a designated area (goal). An extremely physical sport, riders wear heavy clothes and head protection to guard themselves from whips and boots of other riders. As the riders have to often lean low on one side to pick up the carcass from the ground, their boots have high heels and they need to have excellent horsemanship skills.


2) It is believed that there is only one Jew person left in Afghanistan. His name is Zabulon Simentov. At one time, there were over 40,000 jews in the country, but the rise of communism and the atrocities of the Russian Red Army led to many killings and the fleeing of Jews to Israel. Zabulon, however, refused to leave and stubbornly stayed despite being beaten up and imprisoned. His main job he says is to take care of Kabul’s last remaining synagogue.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

3) Arnold Schwarzenegger is the poster boy for thousands of young Afghan men. Photographs of a muscular Arnie in his prime hang from the walls of hundreds of gyms across Afghanistan.

4) Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan is supposed to be the busiest single runway airstrip in the world. Out of all the non NATO countries, it is in Kandahar that NATO developed its first complete air traffic capability.

5) In 2000, Taliban supremo Mohammed Omar officially banned opium production in Afghanistan. This effectively removed 70% of the world’s overall heroin supply.

6) When Canadian reporter Mellissa Fung was kidnapped by bandits in Afghanistan, the Afghan intelligence authorities found out who the kidnapper was, and in an astonishing sequence of events, kidnapped his family, and then demanded Fung’s release with no ransom paid. Tit for tat at the highest level!

7)  The world’s first oil paintings were not made in Europe but in the caves of Bamiyan, in the central highlands of Afghanistan around 650BC. Bamiyan had a flourishing Buddhist civilisation from the 2nd Century up to the Islamic invasion in the 9th Century. The world’s two largest standing Buddhas stood here, until the Taliban destroyed them in 2001.

8) 70% of Afghanistan’s population is under 25 years of age.

9) The Intercontinental hotel in Kabul is Afghanistan’s first international luxury hotel. It’s the most visited hotel by foreigners since its opening in 1969.

10)   TV’s/VCR/Radios were banned when the Taliban came to power. Many people hid these possessions by burying them in their backyards and gardens. After the Taliban were driven out of some parts of Afghanistan, it is reported that one man dug up his TV and VCR and watched Titanic with his neighbors.

11) For six years between 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan had no national anthem because the Taliban had completely banned all music

12) Afghanistan has had a rich history with poetry. In the town of Herat,  a huge number of people meet up one evening a week in a designated place, and there is poetry recitation.

13) Khanzir is Afghanistan’s only pig. And he lives in the Kabul Zoo.

14) In the 1920s King Amanullah Khan once declared during a public speech that, “Islam did not require women to cover their bodies or wear any special kind of veil”. At the end of the speech, Queen Soraya tore off her hejab in public. How times have changed!

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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