Date:  2013-05-28  Author: admin   

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked sovereign state forming part of South AsiaCentral Asia, and to some extent Western Asia. It has a population of around 30 million inhabiting an area of approximately 647,500 km2 (250,001 sq mi), making it the 42nd most populous and 41stlargest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, TurkmenistanUzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.
Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as the Middle Paleolithic. Urbancivilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BCE. Sitting at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East culture with Central Asia and theIndian subcontinent, the land has been home to various peoples through the ages and witnessed many military campaigns, notably by Alexander the GreatGenghis Khan, and in modern era Western forces. The land also served as a source from which the Greco-BactriansKushans,HephthalitesSaffaridsGhaznavidsGhoridsKhiljisTimuridsMughalsDurranis, and others have risen to form major empires.
Afghanistan is an Islamic republic consisting of three branches of power (executivelegislative, and judiciary) overseen by checks and balances. It is currently led by the Karzai administration under President Hamid Karzai, who was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2009. Before the election of 2004, Karzai led the country after being chosen by delegates of the Bonn Conference in December 2001 to head an interim government after the removal of the Taliban Emirate. While supporters have praised Karzai's efforts to promote national reconciliation and agrowing economy, critics charge him with failing to stem corruption and the drug trade, and the slow pace of reconstruction.
The current parliament was elected in 2005 and then in 2010. Among the elected officials are former mujahideen,Islamic fundamentalistsreformists, communists, and several Taliban members. About 28% of the delegates elected were women, 3% more than the 25% minimum guaranteed under the constitution. This made Afghanistan, long known under the Taliban for its oppression of women, one of the leading countries in terms of female representation.]
The Supreme Court of Afghanistan is led by Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi. Dominated by fundamentalist religious figures, it has tried to ban a candidate in the 2004 presidential election for questioning polygamylaws,and limited the rights of women, as well as overstepped its constitutional authority by issuing rulings on subjects not yet brought before the court.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan begins in 1709, when the Hotaki dynastywas established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power in 1747. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the Britishand Russian empires. Following the 1919 Anglo-Afghan WarKing Amanullah began a European style modernization of the country but was stopped by the ultra-conservatives. During the Cold War, after the withdrawal of the British from neighboring India in 1947, the United States and the Soviet Union began spreading influences in Afghanistan, which led to a bloody war between the US-backed mujahideen forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government in which over a million Afghans lost their lives. This was followed by the 1990s civil war, the rise and fall of the extremist Taliban government and the 2001–present war. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration.
Three decades of war made Afghanistan one of the world's most dangerous countries, including the largest producer of refugees and asylum seekers. While the international community is rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan, terrorist groups such as the Haqqani Network and Hezbi Islami are actively involved in a nationwide Taliban-led insurgency, which includes hundreds ofassassinations and suicide attacks. According to the United Nations, the insurgents were responsible for 80% of civilian casualties in 2011 and 2012.

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