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Afghanistan
Capital:
Kabul
Population:
28,513,677 (July 2004 est.)
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Background:
Afghanistan's recent history is a story of war and civil unrest. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, but was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-Communist mujahidin forces. The Communist regime in Kabul collapsed in 1992. Fighting that subsequently erupted among the various mujahidin factions eventually helped to spawn the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that fought to end the warlordism and civil war which gripped the country. The Taliban seized Kabul in 1996 and were able to capture most of the country outside of Northern Alliance srongholds primarily in the northeast. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. In late 2001, a conference in Bonn, Germany, established a process for political reconstruction that ultimately resulted in the adoption of a new constitution and presidential elections in 2004. On 9 October 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan. National Assembly elections are tentatively scheduled for spring 2005.
Government type:
transitional
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $20 billion (2003 est.)
Internet users:
1,000 (2002)
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