20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Afghanistan [Explained]

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Afghanistan is a widely misunderstood country. Anytime someone hears Afghanistan, they think about terrorism and the Taliban, but there is much more to the country. Of course, you will only know this once you understand the different facts about Afghanistan.

If you want to learn more about this country, you have come to the right place. Here is some interesting information about Afghanistan that will help you understand the country better.

Historical Facts About Afghanistan

Afghanistan has had a tumultuous history with a lot of political uncertainty. It has shaped the country’s present, which is why it is a vital facet to understand. Here are some lesser-known facts about Afghanistan and its history.

The Oldest Oil Paintings In The World Are In Afghanistan

You will find some of the oldest oil paintings in the world in the country. Bamyan is where the oldest oil paintings reside, and scientists found these paintings on the cave walls a long time ago. These paintings date back to the 7th century AD, but oil was added to them around the 13th century.

The Country Has Had 26 Different Flags In Its History

Yes, the country has had twenty-six different flags over the course of its history. Just during the 20th century, the flag was changed at least nineteen times. The current flag is red, green, and black, with the national emblem at the center of the flag.

It Gained Independence In 1919

Afghanistan did not gain independence till 1919. The country engaged in at least three wars with Britain before it finally gained independence. Keep in mind that the British did not directly rule the country, but the foreign affairs of Afghanistan were controlled by the United Kingdom.

The War From 1980 To 1990 Meant No Records For The Citizens

You will notice that many people from Afghanistan celebrate their birthdays on January 1st. That is because there was a war between 1980 and 1990 where the government did not have any systems to record the birthday of citizens. Because of this, most people didn’t know their birth date, so they chose January 1st since it is easy to remember.

Cultural Facts About Afghanistan

The Afghanistan culture is mostly guided by the dominant religion, which is Islam. Here are some facts about Afghanistan culture you need to know.

New Years Is Celebrated On March 21st

New Year is known as Nauruz, and the people celebrate it on March 21st. It also lasts for two weeks, and people gather in the streets to celebrate this occasion. Besides that, people also host parties for their families and friends as they cook traditional meals to enjoy.

Poetry Night Happens Every Thursday In Herat

Poetry is an important part of the culture in Herat, which is why Thursdays are dedicated to this art. People of all age groups come together to share ancient and modern verses of Afghan poetry. The night also includes drinking some tea and enjoying delicious local dishes.

People Love Eating Kabuli Pulao


You can easily find Kabuli pulao everywhere in Afghanistan, and it’s certainly one of the national dishes to try. It comprises rice with slow-cooked meat, carrots, lentils, raisins, nuts, and more, that reflects the bold flavors in the country. It is a traditional Afghan food that will serve as a good introduction to the local cuisine.

Of course, don’t forget about all the popular Afghan desserts and sweets on offer to conclude that delicious meal.

People Eat With Their Hand, Specifically The Right Hand

Similar to several other countries such as India and Ethiopia, eating with your hand is a common practice in Afghanistan. There is also nothing wrong with using cutlery if they are provided.

However, if you are eating with your hand, take specific note not to use your left hand. Locals use the left hand more for cleaning purposes like after going to the washroom. Therefore, they only eat with their right hand.

Interesting Facts About Afghanistan For Kids

If you are a parent or teacher, here are some facts about Afghanistan for kids that will be great for some trivia.

It Ranks Number 41 In The Largest Countries Worldwide

Afghanistan is the 41st largest country worldwide, with a population of at least forty million people. Because of this, it is also the 37th most populous country in the world. Around 10% of the entire population lives in Kabul.

The Country Is Landlocked


Afghanistan doesn’t have a coastline because it is a landlocked country with six countries around its border. This includes Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, and Tajikistan. Trade also happens by land as the sea is not an option for the people.

The Main Source Of Income Is Agriculture


For most Afghans, the main source of income is agriculture. Between 60 and 80% of the population works in this sector. However, it still accounts for less than a third of the GDP because of various issues such as droughts and structural problems.

Fun Afghanistan Facts For Travelers

Afghanistan is not on the traveling list for many people because of the way it is portrayed in the media. However, you can still enjoy going there and learning more about it. Here are some fun facts about Afghanistan you will want to know as a traveler.

Most Of The Businesses And Shops Are Closed On Fridays


Friday is a sacred day in Islam, which is why most shops and businesses are closed that day. The Friday prayer is the most important prayer of the week, and everyone gathers to pray in various mosques. So, be sure not to leave shopping days for Friday, as most things will be closed.

Gardens Of Babur Is A Historical Site In Kabul

The Gardens of Babur are located at the foot of the mountain of Kuh-e Sher Darwaza. The garden spans more than eleven hectares, and it is where Babur rests peacefully in his grave. The restoration of the garden has taken place, and you can visit this site once it is done.

You Will Find Hand-Woven Rugs Everywhere


The most important export of the country is its hand-woven rugs, and you will find them all around the country. Be sure to get one for yourself and make it a part of your home. Everything from the quality to the pattern is exceptional and makes great home décor items.

Drinking Alcohol Is Illegal


Any tourist that likes to drink to have fun will not enjoy Afghanistan. The country is guided by Islamic principles, which is why the consumption of alcohol is forbidden. If you break this law, you will be punished accordingly.

Common Facts About Afghanistan

Here are some general and interesting Afghanistan facts to know that are not just related to the topics portrayed in the media.

The Country Is Rich In Natural Resources

One of the top things that the country is rich in is its natural resources. That is because Afghanistan has significant reserves of gold, natural gas, marble, coal, and other materials. However, the country doesn’t have sufficient resources to use these natural resources.

Handshakes Between Opposite Genders Are Not Allowed

The men in the country will not touch women while greeting unless they are relatives. Even handshakes between the opposite genders are not allowed. So, be sure to greet the locals in the right way if you plan on visiting.

The National Sport Is Buzkashi

Buzkashi is a game that dates back hundreds of years in Asia. Men sit on horseback and fight over a beheaded goat that doesn’t have any hooves. The primary aim of this game is to get the goat and take it towards a goal, and it is usually played on Fridays.


Other Interesting Facts About Afghanistan

Here are some other fascinating facts about Afghanistan that make this country unique.

There Is Only One Jew Living In The Country

Zablon Simintov is the only Jew living in Afghanistan. He takes care of the Jewish temple in Kabul, and he has stayed back to care for the synagogue. According to him, if he was not there to take care of the temple, it would have been sold off.

People Consider Dogs To Be Impure And Unclean


Unlike the West, Afghans don’t like having dogs around because they are considered to be unclean and impure. For example, you will never see a dog in the area where people go to pray. So it seems dogs are not man’s best friends everywhere.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Afghanistan

These are just some of the interesting facts about Afghanistan to know about. Just like any other country, Afghanistan has had its share of ups and downs, but it is politically stable for now.

Afghanistan is more than just extremist beliefs, and the people are incredibly hospitable and humble. They will be ready to help you if you get lost in the country or can’t find your way. Visit this beautiful country to understand it from a different perspective and uncover more fascinating facts about Afghanistan yourself.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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