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Saturday 21st October
Afghanistan Facts
Mount Nowshak is Afghanistan's highest peak (7,485 m).

The Hindu Kush Mountains run from northeast to southwest of the country.

The Khyber Pass is a narrow passage through the Hindu Kush Mountains joining Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In ancient times, the Amudarya, one of Afghanistan's main rivers, was known as the Oxus.

One of the trade routes along the ancient Silk Road ran through Afghanistan.

Lapis lazuli has been mined in Afghanistan for over 6,000 years. Ground lapis lazuli creates the pigment ultramarine.

The ancient kingdom of Bactria consisted of southern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan.

Balkh, one of the world's oldest cities, was the capital of the kingdom of Bactria.

Kabul is said to be over three and a half thousand years old and the city of Herat dates back over two and half thousand years.

The city of Kandahar was founded by Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC.

The 65-metre Minaret of Jam, dating back to the twelfth century, is numbered among the world's tallest minarets.

In 1504 Babur (from Fergana, Uzbekistan), the founder of the Moghul Empire, made Kabul his capital city.

During the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire in Central Asia and the British Empire in India vied for political supremacy in Asia, meeting in Afghanistan. This rivalry was known as the "Great Game".

During the nineteenth century the British Empire gained influence over Afghanistan's foreign policy. Afghanistan did not achieve independence until 1919.

In 1979 the USSR and other Warsaw Pact countries invaded Afghanistan to support the pro-Soviet government against Muslim uprisings in the country.

The Taliban, a militant Islamic organisation, seized control of Afghanistan in 1996 imposing fundamentalist Islamic law.

An earthquake in February 1998 killed over four thousand people and left thousands homeless.

In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed two giant Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley although many members of the international community tried to prevent their destruction.

Attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 led to the downfall of the Taliban. Taliban leaders refused to extradite Osama Bin Laden, wanted in connection with the terrorist attacks, and the US, Canada, Britain and their Allies invaded Afghanistan.

Over two decades of wars have left a legacy of landmines that kill and maim many people in Afghanistan each month.

Wars in Afghanistan have caused many Afghans to leave their country.

Following the war at the end of 2001, Hamid Karzai headed the provisional administration in Afghanistan.

Mohammed Zahir Shah, the former Afghan King, returned to Afghanistan from exile in March 2001. He died in July 2007.

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