Location: Afghanistan is a land-locked republic in Central Asia known originally as Ariana or Bactria, then as Khorasan (the land of the rising sun). Monarchy was overthrown in 1973, and a marxist 'people's republic' was created by Noor Taraki's coup of 1978.In 1986 Lt.Gen.Najibullah became President. Soviet troops, which had occupied the country in 1979, faced resistance from Afghan tribesmen 'Mujahideen' (holy worriors). Soviet troops were withdrawn in 1989. In Feb. a military council headed by Najibullah was announced. Afghan rebels elected Sigbhatullah Mojaddidi as President of an interim government in exile. He handed over power to a Mujahideen leadership council.
History: The Mujahideen factions that captured Kabul in Apr.'92 began internecine fighting. Half the population of Kabul fled the city. In January 1994 President Burhanuddin Rabbani and PM Gulbuddin Hekmatyar parted ways. A few months later a newly formed Islamic movement 'Taliban'(i.e. 'students of religion') emerged as a new force. In 1995, they were in control of around a third of the country. In June 1996, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar again joined Rabbani and was sworn in PM but Rabbani was overthrown in Sept.by Taliban which imposed harsh Islamic laws and executed former President Najibullah. A Taliban offensive on 27 December,1996 gave Taliban control of 90% of the country. In November Taliban was overthrown by the Northen Alliance with US support. On April 18,2002, former king of Afghanistan , Mohammed Zahir Shah, returned to Kabul after 29 years in exile in Italy. In June, Hamid Karzai, leader of the interim administration, was elected in a landslide vote to be the next President. NATO took command of the 5000-strong international peacekeeping force in Kabul in August.
Economy: Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The principal crop is wheat. Animal husbandry is important for meat, milk and wool. Chief mineral resource: natural gas. The industrial activity is the manufacture of the woolen and cotton textiles; traditional handicrafts and woven carpets are important exports. Afghanistan produces 3400 tonne of opium worth ($1.2b.) a year.