South Asia :: Afghanistan
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Afghanistan
Location of Afghanistan
 
Map of Afghanistan
Introduction ::Afghanistan
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, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-Communist mujahedin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability - particularly in the south and the east - remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.
Geography ::Afghanistan
Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
33 00 N, 65 00 E
total: 652,230 sq km
country comparison to the world: 41
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly smaller than Texas
total: 5,529 km
border countries: China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2,430 km, Tajikistan 1,206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km
0 km (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Nowshak 7,485 m
natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones
arable land: 12.13%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 87.66% (2005)
27,200 sq km (2003)
65 cu km (1997)
total: 23.26 cu km/yr (2%/0%/98%)
per capita: 779 cu m/yr (2000)
damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
People ::Afghanistan
28.396 million (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
note: this is a significantly revised figure; the previous estimate of 33,609,937 was extrapolated from the last Afghan census held in 1979, which was never completed because of the Soviet invasion; a new Afghan census is scheduled to take place in 2010
0-14 years: 44.5% (male 7,664,670/female 7,300,446)
15-64 years: 53% (male 9,147,846/female 8,679,800)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 394,572/female 422,603) (2009 est.)
total: 17.6 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 17.6 years (2009 est.)
2.629% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
45.46 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
19.18 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
urban population: 24% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 151.95 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 3
male: 156.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 147.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 44.64 years
country comparison to the world: 214
male: 44.47 years
female: 44.81 years (2009 est.)
6.53 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
0.01% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
NA
NA
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%
Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 28.1%
male: 43.1%
female: 12.6% (2000 est.)
total: 8 years
male: 11 years
female: 4 years (2004)
NA
Government ::Afghanistan
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Afghanestan
local short form: Afghanestan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
Islamic republic
name: Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul
19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
new constitution drafted 14 December 2003-4 January 2004; signed 16 January 2004; ratified 26 January 2004
based on mixed civil and Sharia law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Ahmad Zia MASOOD; Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; former King ZAHIR Shah held the honorific, "Father of the Country," and presided symbolically over certain occasions but lacked any governing authority; the honorific is not hereditary; King ZAHIR Shah died on 23 July 2007
head of government: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Ahmad Zia MASOOD; Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004)
cabinet: 25 ministers; note - under the new constitution, ministers are appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
elections: the president and two vice presidents are elected by direct vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if no candidate receives 50% or more of the vote in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes will participate in a second round; a president can only be elected for two terms; election last held 20 August 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Hamid KARZAI reelected president; percent of vote - Hamid KARZAI 54.6%, Abdullah ABDULLAH 27.8%, Ramazan BASHARDOST 9.2%, Ashraf GHANI 2.7% (as reported by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan on 16 September 2009)
note: On 19 October 2009, the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission declared that the discounted ballots cast for President Hamid KARZAI in the August election placed his total vote below 50%, prompting a 7 November runoff poll with Abdullah ABDULLAH
the bicameral National Assembly consists of the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats, one-third elected from provincial councils for four-year terms, one-third elected from local district councils for three-year terms, and one-third nominated by the president for five-year terms) and the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (no more than 249 seats), directly elected for five-year terms
note: on rare occasions the government may convene a Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it is made up of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils
elections: last held 18 September 2005 (next to be held for the Wolesi Jirga by September 2009; next was to be held for the provincial councils to the Meshrano Jirga by September 2008)
election results: the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system used in the election did not make use of political party slates; most candidates ran as independents
the constitution establishes a nine-member Stera Mahkama or Supreme Court (its nine justices are appointed for 10-year terms by the president with approval of the Wolesi Jirga) and subordinate High Courts and Appeals Courts; there is also a minister of justice; a separate Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission established by the Bonn Agreement is charged with investigating human rights abuses and war crimes
Afghanistan Peoples' Treaty Party [Sayyed Amir TAHSEEN]; Afghanistan's Islamic Mission Organization [Abdul Rasoul SAYYAF]; Afghanistan's Islamic Nation Party [Toran Noor Aqa Ahmad ZAI]; Afghanistan's National Islamic Party [Rohullah LOUDIN]; Afghanistan's Welfare Party [Meer Asef ZAEEFI]; Afghan Social Democratic Party [Anwarul Haq AHADI]; Afghan Society for the Call to the Koran and Sunna [Mawlawee Samiullah NAJEEBEE]; Comprehensive Movement of Democracy and Development of Afghanistan Party [Sher Mohammad BAZGAR]; Democratic Party of Afghanistan [Tawos ARAB]; Democratic Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Kabir RANJBAR]; Elites People of Afghanistan Party [Abdul Hamid JAWAD]; Freedom and Democracy Movement of Afghanistan [Abdul Raqib Jawid KOHISTANEE]; Freedom Party of Afghanistan [Ilaj Abdul MALEK]; Freedom Party of Afghanistan [Dr. Ghulam Farooq NEJRABEE]; Hizullah-e-Afghanistan [Qari Ahmad ALI]; Human Rights Protection and Development Party of Afghanistan [Baryalai NASRATI]; Islamic Justice Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Kabir MARZBAN]; Islamic Movement of Afghanistan [Mohammad Ali JAWID]; Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Party [Mohammad Mukhtar MUFLEH]; Islamic Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Khalid FAROOQI, Abdul Hadi ARGHANDIWAL]; Islamic Party of the Afghan Land [Mohammad Hassan FEROZKHEL]; Islamic People's Movement of Afghanistan [Ilhaj Said Hussain ANWARY]; Islamic Society of Afghanistan [Ustad RABBANI]; Islamic Unity of the Nation of Afghanistan Party [Qurban Ali URFANI]; Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Karim KHALILI]; Islamic Unity Party of the People of Afghanistan [Ustad Mohammad MOHAQQEQ]; Labor and Progress of Afghanistan Party [Zulfiqar OMID]; Muslim People of Afghanistan Party [Besmellah JOYAN]; Muslim Unity Movement Party of Afghanistan [Wazir Mohammad WAHDAT]; National and Islamic Sovereignty Movement Party of Afghanistan [Ahmad Shah AHMADZAI]; National Congress Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Latif PEDRAM]; National Country Party [Ghulam MOHAMMAD]; National Development Party of Afghanistan [Dr. Aref BAKTASH]; National Freedom Seekers Party [Abdul Hadi DABEER]; National Independence Party of Afghanistan [Taj Mohammad WARDAK]; National Islamic Fighters Party of Afghanistan [Amanat NINGARHAREE]; National Islamic Front of Afghanistan [Pir Sayed Ahmad GAILANEE]; National Islamic Moderation Party of Afghanistan [Qara Bik Eized YAAR]; National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan [Sayed NOORULLAH]
National Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad AKBAREE]; National Movement of Afghanistan [Ahmad Wali MASOOUD]; National Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Rashid ARYAN]; National Patch of Afghanistan Party [Sayed Kamal SADAT]; National Peace Islamic Party of Afghanistan [Shah Mohammood Popal ZAI]; National Peace & Islamic Party of the Tribes of Afghanistan [Abdul Qaher SHARIATEE]; National Peace & Unity Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Qader IMAMI]; National Prosperity and Islamic Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Osman SALEKZADA]; National Prosperity Party [Mohammad Hassan JAHFAREE]; National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan [Pir Sayed Eshaq GAILANEE]; National Solidarity Party of Afghanistan [Sayed Mansoor NADREEI]; National Sovereignty Party [Sayed Mustafa KAZEMI]; National Stability Party [Mohammad Same KHAROTI]; National Stance Party [Habibullah JANEBDAR]; National Tribal Unity Islamic Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Shah KHOGYANI]; National United Front [Burhanuddin RABBANI] (a coalition); National Unity Movement [Sultan Mohammad GHAZI]; National Unity Movement of Afghanistan [Mohammad Nadir AATASH]; National Unity Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Rashid JALILI]; New Afghanistan Party [Mohammad Yunis QANUNI]; Peace and National Welfare Activists Society [Shamsul Haq Noor SHAMS]; Peace Movement [Shahnawaz TANAI]; People's Aspirations Party of Afghanistan [Ilhaj Saraj-u-din ZAFAREE]; People's Freedom Seekers Party of Afghanistan [Feda Mohammad EHSAS]; People's Liberal Freedom Seekers Party of Afghanistan [Ajmal SUHAIL]; People's Message Party of Afghanistan [Noor Aqa WAINEE]; People's Movement of the National Unity of Afghanistan [Abdul Hakim NOORZAI]; People's Party of Afghanistan [Ahmad Shah ASAR]; People's Prosperity Party of Afghanistan [Ustad Mohammad ZAREEF]; People's Sovereignty Movement of Afghanistan [Hayatullah SUBHANEE]; People's Uprising Party of Afghanistan [Sayed Zahir Qayed Omul BELADI]; People's Welfare Party of Afghanistan [Mia Gul WASIQ]; People's Welfare Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Zubair PAIROZ]; Progressive Democratic Party of Afghanistan [Wali ARYA]; Republican Party [Sebghatullah SANJAR]; Solidarity Party of Afghanistan [Abdul Khaleq NEMAT]; The Afghanistan's Mujahid Nation's Islamic Unity Movement [Saeedullah SAEED]; The People of Afghanistan's Democratic Movement [Sharif NAZARI]; Tribes Solidarity Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Zarif NASERI]; Understanding and Democracy Party of Afghanistan [Ahamad SHAHEEN]
United Afghanistan Party [Mohammad Wasil RAHIMEE]; United Islamic Party of Afghanistan [Wahidullah SABAWOON]; Young Afghanistan's Islamic Organization [Sayed Jawad HUSSINEE]; Youth Solidarity Party of Afghanistan [Mohammad Jamil KARZAI]; note - includes only political parties approved by the Ministry of Justice
other: religious groups; tribal leaders; ethnically based groups
ADB, CP, ECO, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (guest), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
chief of mission: Ambassador Said Tayeb JAWAD
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6410
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Deputy Ambassador Francis J. RICCIARDONE, Jr.
embassy: The Great Masood Road, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806
telephone: [93] 0700 108 001
FAX: [93] 0700 108 564
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other two bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great"), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan
Economy ::Afghanistan
Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Real GDP growth fell from the 10% level in 2006-07 to a little more than 3% in 2008. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, and the Afghan Government's inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. It will probably take the remainder of the decade and continuing donor aid and attention to significantly raise Afghanistan's living standards from its current level, among the lowest in the world. International pledges made by more than 60 countries and international financial institutions at the Berlin Donors Conference for Afghan reconstruction in March 2004 reached $8.9 billion for 2004-09. While the international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $57 billion at three donors' conferences since 2002, Kabul will need to overcome a number of challenges. Expanding poppy cultivation and a growing opium trade generate roughly $3 billion in illicit economic activity and looms as one of Kabul's most serious policy concerns. Other long-term challenges include: budget sustainability, job creation, corruption, government capacity, and rebuilding war torn infrastructure.
$22.27 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
$21.53 billion (2007 est.)
$19.21 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$12.06 billion (2008 est.)
3.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
12.1% (2007 est.)
8.2% (2006 est.)
$700 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219
$700 (2007 est.)
$600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 31%
industry: 26%
services: 43%
note: data exclude opium production (2008 est.)
15 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
agriculture: 80%
industry: 10%
services: 10% (2004 est.)
40% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
40% (2005 est.)
53% (2003)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $890 million
expenditures: $2.7 billion
note: Afghanistan has also received $2.6 billion from the Reconstruction Trust Fund and $63 million from the Law and Order Trust Fund (2007 est.)
13% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
18.14% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 105
$1.426 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 119
$958.6 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 172
$12.04 million (31 December 2007)
$NA
opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins
small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
NA%
839 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
1.01 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
0 kWh (2008 est.)
230 million kWh (2007 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
5,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
4,404 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
30 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
30 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 206
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
$-67 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$327 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 173
$274 million (2006); note - not including illicit exports or reexports
opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems
India 21.1%, Pakistan 20.1%, US 18.8%, Netherlands 7.9%, Tajikistan 6.7% (2008)
$4.85 billion (2007)
country comparison to the world: 117
$3.823 billion (2006)
capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Pakistan 35.8%, US 9.2%, Germany 7.5%, India 4.8% (2008)
$8 billion (2004)
country comparison to the world: 89
afghanis (AFA) per US dollar - 50 (2007), 46 (2006), 47.7 (2005), 48 (2004), 49 (2003)
Communications ::Afghanistan
460,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 100
8.45 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 69
general assessment: limited landline telephone service; an increasing number of Afghans utilize mobile-cellular phone networks in major cities
domestic: aided by the presence of multiple providers, mobile-cellular telephone service is improving rapidly
international: country code - 93; five VSAT's installed in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar, and Jalalabad provide international and domestic voice and data connectivity (2007)
AM 21, FM 5, shortwave 1 (broadcasts in Pashto, Dari (Afghan Persian), Urdu, and English) (2006)
at least 7 (1 government-run central television station in Kabul and regional stations in 6 of the 34 provinces) (2006)
.af
47 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 208
500,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
Internet access is growing through Internet cafes as well as public "telekiosks" in Kabul (2005)
Transportation ::Afghanistan
51 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 90
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
total: 35
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 9 (2009)
11 (2009)
gas 466 km (2008)
total: 42,150 km
country comparison to the world: 87
paved: 12,350 km
unpaved: 29,800 km (2006)
1,200 km (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 59
Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
Military ::Afghanistan
Afghan Armed Forces: Afghan National Army (ANA, includes Afghan National Army Air Corps) (2009)
22 years of age; inductees are contracted into service for a 4-year term (2005)
males age 16-49: 7,431,147
females age 16-49: 7,004,819 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 4,371,193
females age 16-49: 4,072,945 (2009 est.)
male: 382,720
female: 361,733 (2009 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
Transnational Issues ::Afghanistan
Pakistan has built fences in some portions of its border with Afghanistan which remains open in some areas to foreign terrorists and other illegal activities
IDPs: 132,246 (mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis displaced in south and west due to drought and instability) (2007)
world's largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation decreased 22% to 157,000 hectares in 2008 but remains at a historically high level; less favorable growing conditions in 2008 reduced potential opium production to 5,500 metric tons, down 31 percent from 2007; if the entire opium crop were processed, 648 metric tons of pure heroin potentially could be produced; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; regional source of hashish (2008)