Keeping the ‘Stans Straight, part 6: Afghanistan


Location: South Asia, east of Iran and north of Pakistan

Capital: Kabul

In a nutshell: Afghanistan’s government and its strategic location have put it at the center of one international conflict after another. Still reeling from the 1979 Soviet invasion and a subsequent civil war, Afghanistan was bombed by the U.S. and U.K in 2001 after its Taliban leadership refused to hand over Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.

How you know it: You’ve been awake at least part of the last seven years.

Interesting factoid: That heroin you saw at a party once probably came from Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of poppies.

Bonus interesting factoid: There’s most likely an Afghan laying on your couch.

Make sure to check out: The Band-i amir Lakes, called one of the world’s “least visited but most dramatic natural wonders.” Be forewarned, however, that those ninnies at the State Department strongly advise against travel to Afghanistan. Something about “military operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry among political and tribal groups, and the possibility of terrorist attacks, including attacks using vehicular or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”

More from this series: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.