AFGHANISTAN Afghanistan is a mosaic of ethnic groups, and a crossroads between the East and the West. It has been an ancient focal point of trade and migration. Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 Communist counter-coup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan Communist regime, but withdrew 10 years later under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A civil war between mujahedin factions erupted following the 1992 fall of the Communist regime.
Afghanistan's ethnically and linguistically mixed population reflects its location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading from Central Asia into South and SW Asia. Pashtuns make up the largest ethnic group at 38-44% of the population, followed by Tajiks (25%), Hazaras (10%), Uzbek (6-8%), Aimaq, Turkmen, Baluch, and other small groups. Dari (Afghan Farsi) and Pashto are official languages. Dari is spoken by more than 1/3 of the pop a first language and serves as a lingua franca for most Afghans, though Pashto is spoken throughout the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan. Tajik and Turkic languages are spoken widely in the north. Smaller groups throughout the country also speak more than 70 other languages and numerous dialects. AFGHANISTAN PROFILE
Religion: An estimated 80% of the population is Sunni, following the Hanafi school of jurisprudence; the remainder of the population--and primarily the Hazara ethnic group-- predominantly Shi'a. Despite attempts during the years of communist rule to secularize Afghan society, Islamic practices pervade all aspects of life. Islam served as a principal basis for expressing opposition to communism and the Soviet invasion. Islamic religious tradition and codes, together with traditional tribal and ethnic practices, have an important role in personal conduct and dispute settlement. Afghan society is largely based on kinship groups, which follow traditional customs and religious practices, though somewhat less so in urban areas. AFGHANISTAN PROFILE
Afghanistan is an Islamic republic consisting of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The nation is currently led by Hamid Karzai as the President and leader since late 2001. The National Assembly has two chambers, the House of the People and the House of Elders. The Supreme Court is led by Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi, a former university professor / legal advisor to the president. AFGHANISTAN GOVERNANCE The current court is seen as more moderate and led by more technocrats than the previous one, which was dominated by fundamentalist religious figures such as Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari who issued several controversial rulings, including seeking to place a limit on the rights of women.
AFGHAN Minister of Health Minister of Health : H.E Dr. Suraya Dalil Suraya Dalil was born in Kabul in 1970. She studied medicine at Kabul Medical University (1986-1991) graduating with highest honors and first in her class. In 1994, Dr. Dalil began work on a large- scale measles and polio immunization program managed by UNICEF which vaccinated thousands of children in nine northern and NE provinces. In 1995, she led the establishment of an immunization program within the local government structure. Ministry of Public Health AFG- http://moph.gov.af/en