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Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia and South Asia. It has a population of around 31 million people, making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and China in the far northeast.

Pashto and Dari are the official languages of Afghanistan; bilingualism is very common. Both are Indo-European languages from the Iranian languages sub-family. Dari has always been the prestige language and a lingua franca for inter-ethnic communication. It is the native tongue of the Tajiks, Hazaras, Aimaks, and Kizilbash.
Over 99% of the Afghan population is Muslim; approximately 80–85% are from the Sunni branch, 15–19% are Shi'a, and roughly 3% are non-denominational Muslims. Until the 1890s, the region around Nuristan was known as Kafiristan because of its non-Muslim inhabitants, the Nuristanis, an ethnically distinct people whose religious practices included animism, polytheism, and shamanism.

Afghanistan is a multiethnic society, and its historical status as a crossroads has contributed significantly to its diverse ethnic makeup. The population of the country is divided into a wide variety of ethnolinguistic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the nation in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are unavailable.
As of 2012, the population of Afghanistan is around 31,108,077, which includes the roughly 2.7 million Afghan refugees still living in Pakistan and Iran. In 1979, the population was reported to be about 15.5 million. The only city with over a million residents is its capital, Kabul.