The Nangarhar province (2005 estimated population 1,237,800) of Afghanistan is located in the northwestern section of the country. The population is largely Pashtun of the Khugiani, Mohmand, Shinwari, and Tirahi tribes. A mild climate permits three crops a year, primarily wheat, corn, and rice; olives and citrus fruit are also cultivated; as well as some timber. The Darunta Dam on the Kabul River provides for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Its capital city, Jalalabad (1979 population 53,915), is also one of the larger cities of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, located in Southern Asia, has an estimated population of 29,835,392 (July 2011), within an area of 652,230 sq km (slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas). A country of mostly rugged mountains with plains in north and southwest, its climate ranges from arid to semiarid with cold winters and hot summers. Afghanistan's natural resources include: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones. Natural hazards facing Afghanistan include: damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains, flooding and droughts. Afghanistan is landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor in the province of Badakhshan).
Afghanistan's ethnically and linguistically mixed population reflects its location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading from Central Asia into South and Southwest Asia. Afghanistan is an Islamic country (an estimated 80% of the population is Sunni). Afghanistan, often called the crossroads of Central Asia, has had a turbulent history. From the mid-1990s the Taliban provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden, a Saudi national who had fought with the mujahideen resistance against the Soviets, and provided a base for his and other terrorist organizations.
North−West Frontier Province (1985 estimated population 12,287,000) of Pakistan is located in the northwestern region of the country. The province is an area of high, barren mountains dissected by fertile valleys. Predominantly agricultural, wheat is the chief crop; barley, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, and fruit trees are also cultivated, and livestock is raised. The region has been historically and strategically important due to secondary passes leading into India.
Pakistan, located in Southern Asia, has an estimated population of 167,762,040 (July 2008), within an area of 310,527 sq km (almost twice the size of the U.S. state of California). The country is comprised of the flat Indus plain in east, mountains in north and northwest, and the Balochistan plateau in west. Its climate is mostly hot, dry desert, temperate in northwest, and arctic in north. Pakistan's natural resources include: extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, and limestone. The natural hazards facing Pakistan are: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west, and flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August). The majority of Pakistan's population lives in the Indus River valley and in an arc formed by the cities of Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Peshawar.
The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. Pakistani government and military leaders are struggling to control domestic insurgents, many of whom are located in the tribal areas adjacent to the border with Afghanistan.
In May 2011, the United States conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda.
CIA World Factbook; The White House; The Columbia Gazetteer, 4/2011; 5/2011; 5/2011