Reg. Charity No: 20026660 – (CHY10477)
Home About SAFE Projects Agriculture Literacy & Education Afghan Women Facts On Afghanistan Contact SAFE

Afghanistan has long been one of the very poorest countries in the world, being placed among the bottom three countries in the world on the UNDPs Human Development Index. It thus has among the highest levels of infant and maternal mortality and of illiteracy, and one of the lowest levels of life expectancy. 



·         Afghanistan is located in Central Asia, bordering Iran on the west, China on the northeast, and Pakistan on the east and south.

·         Afghanistan's northern neighbours are Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Northern Afghanistan is linked ethnically to Central Asia.

·         Afghanistan sits uneasily between the Arab world, Iran, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

·         Politically, economically, ethnically and culturally, it has strong links with each of these but retains its own identity as a rugged remote mountainous desert, interspersed by lush river valleys and oases.



·        Contrary to general opinion, female literacy in Afghanistan was never high. Before the 1979 Soviet invasion, only 1% of women graduated from high school. It is thought that everything was perfect before the advent of the Taliban, but education was generally only for the privileged and elite.


·         Modern women, as well as having contended with laws passed by the Taliban, have still to contend with age-old prejudices.

Their lives have shown only marginal improvement and further progress is continually threatened by those same ethnic and principally male dominated age-old prejudices.


·         In the rural countryside, where approx. 90% of Afghan women live, life remains much the same, and these same women are unable to read or write at a functional level!


·        Afghans, particularly in rural areas, suffer from one of the lowest life expectancies in the world due to a continuing lack of adequate healthcare facilities and proper education in domestic hygiene. The educational system almost non-existent (but very slowly recovering since 2002) suffers from an acute shortage of properly trained teachers, particularly women, in rural areas. Many schools are overcrowded and often lack basic facilities and proper sanitation.


·        Due to a prolonged drought, the worst in living memory, many farmers suffered repeated crop failure and the loss of most of their livestock. A partial drought was again experienced in 2011. Unfortunately devastating rainfall producing flash floods and landslides often follows drought. Roads, farmland and even livestock are regularly swept away.


Education, in all its shapes, for the whole society, is a dire need. However, it must be done in a proper way. There must be the necessary consultation, guidance, and support to emerging Educational Departments in the provinces and particularly to those in authority in Kabul. There must also be a necessary respect for Islam and the regional and ethnic cultures and customs within the country.

Sensitivity, understanding, and genuine long-term commitment must be the watchwords for those countries and agencies wishing to help. Above all they must avoid paternalism, patronising attitudes, ignorance and arrogance. 

But, it is important not to rush. Afghans need to digest all inputs. It is their country and it is they who will re-build it, albeit with obligatory assistance from the West. 

The path ahead will not be easy and will be strewn with difficulties.

May Allah hold the Afghan people in the palm of His hand. 


Historically, mining in Afghanistan has focused on the production of precious stones - Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Emeralds, Rubies, & Semi-precious stones. Lapis Lazuli, Afghanistan’s most famous stone, bejewelled the clothing and ornaments of the Egyptian Pharaohs.

More recent explorations have resulted in the discovery of significant deposits of Copper, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Gypsum, Barites, Gold, Halite, Talc, Mica and many varieties of Marble. In addition there are fields of Natural Gas, Oil and Coal (both limited).



·           subsistence agriculture: Wheat (irrigated) and Lal Mai (rain-fed wheat), augmented by Barley, Alfalfa, Rice and Corn and Potato. People living in the more high altitude areas depend heavily on livestock for their survival.

·           dried fruits: Afghanistan produced the finest in the world: - (Now rarely exported abroad) Apricots, Figs, Raisins, Mulberry.

·           Fruit: Melons, Apples, Cherries, Plums, Grapes, Apricots, Mulberries.

·           Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Chelgoza (Pine nuts) – (Now rarely exported abroad)

·           Vegetables: A wide range of vegetables, including potatoes.

·           Cotton - (Northern areas).

·           Hides/Skins, Wool (sheep, goat, camel, karakul), Carpets. 

Provinces of Afghanistan: 34

·         Badakshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daikondi, Farah, Faryab Ghazni, Ghor, Herat, Helmand, Jawzian, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapista, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Patika, Pakyta, Panshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sari Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul.