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Background: Afghanistan

Independence: August 19, 1919 (from the United Kingdom); History

Adjacent Countries: Iran (west), Pakistan (east; south), Tajikistan (northeast), Turkmenistan (northwest), Uzbekistan (north);
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Government: Coalition; Capital: Kabul
December 2001 : Temporary Coalition government headed by Minister Hamid Karzai;

Population (July 2001 est.):
26,813,057

Infant mortality rate (2001 est.):
147.02 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth (2001 est.):
Total Population: 46.24 years
Male: 46.97 years
Female: 45.47 years

Ethnic groups:
Pashtun - 38%
Tajik - 25%
Hazara - 19%
minor ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and others) - 12%
Uzbek - 6%

Religions:
Sunni Muslim - 84%
Shi'a Muslim - 15%
Other - 1%

Languages (much bilingualism):
Pashtu - 35%
Afghan Persian (Dari) - 50%
Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) - 11%
30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) - 4%

Literacy: (definition: age 15 and over can read and write)(1999 est.)
Total Population: 31.5%
Male: 47.2%
Female: 15%