Afghanistan is completely landlocked and because of both its isolation and its volatile political history, it remains one of the most poorly surveyed areas of the world.
Afghanistan’s shape has been compared to a leaf, of which the Vākhān strip, nestled high in the Pamirs, forms the stem. The outstanding geographic feature of Afghanistan is its mountain range, the Hindu Kush. The central highlands – actually a part of the Himalayan chain – include the main Hindu Kush range.
The people of Afghanistan form a complex mosaic of ethnic and linguistic groups. Pashto and Persian (Dari), both Indo-European languages, are the official languages of the country. Virtually all the people of Afghanistan are Muslims, of whom some three-fourths are Sunnites of the Ḥanafī branch.
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