Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
February 7-8

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Challenges for Prayer

1 The largely Pashtun Taliban swept to power with Pakistani military support, U.S. arms and Saudi money

2 Two decades of unremitting war have brought most of the population to ruin and destitution

3 Afghanistan has become an open, festering wound that is poisoning the world

4 Afghanistan is one of the least reached countries in the world

a) Pashtun

b) Uzbek and Turkmen of the north have shown some responsiveness as refugees in other lands

c) Tajik in the north-east

d) The Hazara, Shi'a Muslims of Mongol descent, have been severely persecuted and even massacred by the Sunni Taliban

e) The Kuchi nomads in central and western regions who numbered 2.5m before the war destroyed their lifestyle

f) The Aimaq of the west and the Baluch and Brahui of the south

g) The Nuristani tribes in the mountains north and east of Kabul

h) The Sikh, Hindu and Parsee minorities who are mainly traders

5 Though there is no visible church in Afghanistan, the number of Afghan believers is increasing in urban and some remote rural areas

February 7 next >


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Area 652,225 Dry and mountainous, but with fertile valleys.

Population (2000) 22,720,000 +2.93%AGR

Capital Kabul 2,700,000.


Indo-Iranian 86.8%.

Turkic-speaking 10.7%.

Other 2.5%.

Literacy 10-31% (much lower for women). Official languages Pashto (used by 50% of population), Dari (Afghan Persian, 35%). All languages 50. Languages with Scriptures 2NT 3por.


Shattered by 22 years of war. HDI n.a. Public debt 95% of GNP. Income/person $250 (0.8% of USA).


The monarchy was overthrown in 1973.


The Taliban take-over of the country has imposed the strictest interpretation of Islam in the world today.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 97.89 22,241,015 +2.9
Parsee 1.50 340,806 +2.9
Hindu 0.35 79,521 +0.2
Traditional ethnic 0.10 22,720 +2.9
Baha’i 0.10 22,720 n.a.
Christian 0.02 3,000 n.a.
Sikh 0.02 4,544 +2.9
non-Religious 0.01 2,272 +2.9

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