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Passport: Afghanistan

Afghanistan has a long, complex history, and what’s happening there now can be confusing too.

Learn more about its history, culture, and people below.

Afghan History

Learn more about whats made Afghanistan the country it is today.

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Khadija Hashemi, 21, an Afghan female artist, stands next to her painting during the first ever woman's art exhibition at Amani school in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2008.

Twenty-three young women artists have displayed 93 of their paintings in the country's first ever women's art exhibit - a landmark event because just seven years ago, these women would have been beaten or jailed for daring such to organize such a show, and their art would have been torn to pieces by the Taliban.

Under the hardline Taliban regime, women were forbidden from leaving home without a male relative as an escort, while figurative art was banned and even destroyed.

(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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An Afghan music instructor, center, teaches Afghan boys and girls at Afghanistan's Children and New Approach (ASCHIANA) center in Kabul, Afghanistan.

An Afghan aid organization called ASCHIANA, which means "nest" in the Afghan language of Dari, also offers street children classes in subjects like carpentry, computers, music and theater.

Almost 10,000 children have attended classes in three provinces, and hundreds have since found jobs, Mohammad Yasouf, the director of ASCHIANA, said.

(AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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Afghans fly their kites during a kite flying competition to mark the Afghan New Year in Kabul.

According to the solar calendar that Afghanistan honors, the year is now 1387.

(AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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Two Afghan women clad in burqas, whisper in a burqa shop in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, May. 02 2007.

Despite advances in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban regime over five years ago, most Afghan women, especially outside the capital, still opt to don the all-enveloping cloak.

(AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)

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In this undated photograph released by the National Gallery of Art, a folding gold crown from one of the six graves of Bactrian nomads discovered at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan in 1978 is seen. The crown, dating from the first century A.D. and wrought of solid gold, was collapsible for easy transport by the ancient nomads.

This item will be on display as part of the exhibition "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" organized by the National Geographic Society and National Gallery of Art, in cooperation with the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul.

The exhibit is currently on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

(AP Photo/Guimet Museum, Thierry Ollivier)

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A Muslim child learns to read the Koran in Arabic at Khalqa Sharif, or the Prophet cloak, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Kandahar is considered the most religious area in Afghanistan where the former ruling Taliban was formed.

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

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Muslims pray inside the Blue Mosque, Afghanistan's biggest mosque and the supposed location of the Tomb of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed and the fourth Caliph of Islam, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Mazar is a city of pilgrimage where thousands of people come every day to pray at this holy site.

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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Samira, 13, left an afghan girl practices juggling with bowling pins along with her classmates at Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children in Kabul.

In a fantastical little school in Kabul, girls and boys leave behind their impoverished, war-torn world and enter a utopia where they laugh and sing, and learn how to juggle and ride unicycles.

Hundreds of Afghan children mix regular schooling with art and acrobatics at the school, set up by a Danish performance artist to bring fun and color to the lives of youngsters more accustomed to poverty and violence.

(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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An Afghan man works on a piece of long stone at his workshop in Kabul.

Afghanistan's art activities heads back to normal, as making status was banned during the fundamentalist regime of the Taliban, who were kicked out of the power by U.S forces in late 2001.

(AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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Villagers gather to watch a theater play in front of the empty seat of the Buddha that was destroyed by the Taliban in Bamyan, central Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2005. The mobile educative theater presents the play "New Hope" created to strengthen election awareness.

Having traveled to 26 provinces in Afghanistan since the beginning of their campaign, they focus mostly on rural areas where people have little access to information about the parliamentary elections, scheduled September 18.

(AP Photo/Tomas Munita)

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A novel for mature audiences about a boy and his friend who fall into much different lives because of one of the boy's choices.

The narrative follows the life of Amir, a young boy who feels unloved by his father while growing up in Kabul.

Hosseini, the author, tells the story through descriptive scenes with flashbacks about his past, along with snippets of his life as an adult.

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The novel, The Kite Runner was also adapted into a feature length film in 2007 with the same name. The film, directed by Marc Foster, was nominated for an Academy Award.

This undated handout photo provided by Paramount shows Zekiria Ebrahimi, center left, and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, center right, in a scene from The Kite Runner (PG-13).

AP Photo/Paramount, Phil Bray)

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Students in California and Afghanistan are learning from each other.

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An American University teaches freedom of the press in Herat University.

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Find out about the current state of troops on the ground.

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Find out more about the new plan.

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