Afghanistan Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Afghanistan?

Overview:

Afghanistan is a landlocked country. Because of its geographic location, it has served as a crossroads for traders and conquerors from all points on the compass, and its people reflect the diversity resulting from these major migrations and invasions. Afghanistan's recorded history begins about 2000 B.C. and traces of its history can still be seen in its ancient cities of Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-I-Sharif, and Herat.

Afghanistan's geography consists of irrigated land, small but fertile river valleys, deep gorges, deserts, high plateaus, and snow-covered mountains. The eastern portion of the country is divided by the towering mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush and Pamirs, with peaks rising about 24,000 feet.

The principal rivers drain to the southwest into the Helmand and Arghandab Valleys and then into a desolate, marshy area on the Afghan Iranian border called Seistan. Other rivers, including the Kabul River, flow southeast into the Indut River. The Amu Darya (or Oxus of ancient times) forms a large part of the northern boundary with the Central Asian republics.

Geography - note:

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)

Climate:

Afghanistan's climate compromises a cold, snowy winter and hot, dry summer. Extreme temperature changes occur from night to day, season to season, and from place to place. During summer in Kabul (altitude 5,800 feet) the temperature may be 50°F at sunrise but reach 100°F by noon. In the Jalalabad Plains (1,800 feet and 90 miles from Kabul) and southwestern parts of the country, summer temperatures can reach 115°F.

The chief characteristic of Afghanistan's climate is a blue cloudless sky with over 300 days of sunshine yearly. Even during the winter, skies usually remain clear between snowfalls. Since rainfall is scarce from May to November, this period can be extremely dry and dusty. In recent years, drought has impaired agricultural production in some areas.

Afghanistan Use of Natural Resources

Afghanistan Environment

Climate:

Afghanistan's climate compromises a cold, snowy winter and hot, dry summer. Extreme temperature changes occur from night to day, season to season, and from place to place. During summer in Kabul (altitude 5,800 feet) the temperature may be 50°F at sunrise but reach 100°F by noon. In the Jalalabad Plains (1,800 feet and 90 miles from Kabul) and southwestern parts of the country, summer temperatures can reach 115°F.

The chief characteristic of Afghanistan's climate is a blue cloudless sky with over 300 days of sunshine yearly. Even during the winter, skies usually remain clear between snowfalls. Since rainfall is scarce from May to November, this period can be extremely dry and dusty. In recent years, drought has impaired agricultural production in some areas.

Terrain:

mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest

Natural Resources:

natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones

Natural Hazards:

damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts

Irrigated Land:

7,696 Square Miles
19,933 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

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

Environment - International Agreements:

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

Afghanistan Geography

Geographic Location Asia
Total Area 251,826 Square Miles
652,230 Square Kilometers
Land Area 251,826 Square Miles
652,230 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 3,436 Miles
5,529 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 7,696 Square Miles
19,933 Square Kilometers
Border Countries China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2,430 km, Tajikistan 1,206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km
Geographic Coordinates 33 00 N, 65 00 E
Terrain mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Highest Point 7,485 Meters
Highest Point Location Nowshak 7,485 m
Lowest Point 285 Meters
Lowest Point Location Amu Darya 258 m
Natural Resources natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones
Time Zone UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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