We have prepared some general information about Afghanistan, from general and GLBT perspective as well. There are also some links and resouces listed for additional research... Travelers and natives are invited to share their experiences!
Local name: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan
Capital city: Kabul
Language: Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Pashtu 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%
International codes: AF, AFG
Time zone: GMT+3
Area: 647.500 sq km
Population: 27,756,000 (2002 estimate)
Government type: in transition
Independence: from 1919
National holiday: August 19 (1919)
Ethnic groups: Pashtun 44%, Tajik 25%, Hazara 10%, Uzbek 8%
Currency: afghani (AFA)
GDP: USD 21 billion; USD 800 per capita (2000 estimate)
Religion: Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%
Border countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Afghanistan is about the size of Texas, USA. Afghanistan is a landlocked, mountainous country, with some peaks in the Hindu Kush exceeding 21,000 ft. The southern areas are mostly rolling hills and desert. The country has a turbulent past, invaded and conquered (over the centuries) by the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, Tartars and British. The brutal 1980's war with Russia caused over a million Afghanis to lose their lives, and when the Russians withdrew in 1989 they subsequently left the country in a turmoil of refugees and poverty. Even with a new government, the country's future is still very uncertain, especially with America's war on terrorism, and its on-going battles with the followers of Usama (Osama) Bin Laden.
Sharia - Islamic law doesn’t recognize homosexuality and forbids it; punishments: people being thrown off the highest building in the city, or toppling a wall over them, burying them alive. When the Talibans were in control, the 'law' was much stricter while nowadays homosexuality is still illegal and the punishments remain, but the people have a change to get acquitted in court. Among Kandahar’s Pashtuns, married men with families, there are a lot of men with their ‘ashna’ beloved young boys for sex. Homosexual in Afghanistan doesn't mean who you are but what you do. Generally speaking, even persons having (only) homosexual intercourse don't consider themselves gay.
Links and sources: