Afghanistan is the second country where Central Asia Institute and Pennies for Peace provided educational support.

Afghanistan was unified as a country in 1747 under Ahmad Shah Duranni.

In 1819 the British invaded Afghanistan, and it was under British control until 1919 when Afghanistan won its freedom and was ruled by a monarchy. In 1973 the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Afghanistan was born. In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, but they were met with fierce fighting from the mujahideen that by 1989 they withdrew. From 1989 to the late 1990’s there was much fighting from various political factions, and then the Taliban took over. The Taliban followed a strict interpretation of Islamic law, and those who broke the law were severely punished. In late 2001 the Taliban were driven from power by coalition lead by the USA. In 2002 a transitional government was let by Hamid Karzai until 2004, and in October 2004 he was elected president. In December 2005 the National Assembly was inaugurated.


The nation’s economy is based on agricultural production (opium, wheat, fruit, nuts, wool, mutton & animal skins), small scale production of textiles (soap, furniture, shoes, hand-woven carpets, agricultural and construction materials), and industry (natural gas, coal, copper).

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of children under 5 years are moderately underweight (1996-2004 State of the World’s Children).

There is no data available at this time regarding the percentage of girls enrolled in secondary school (1998-2002 State of the World’s Children).

Formal education in Afghanistan usually starts around age 5 and is divided into six levels, listed here.
General Education: Primary 1-6, Secondary 7-12.
Islamic Education: Grades 1-14.
Rural/Community Education: Grades 1-6.
Teacher Education: Grades 10-14.
Technical / Vocational Education: Grades 10-14.
Higher Education: Offered in selected areas.

A day in the life of an Afghan Girl

Gul Bahar, an 8th-grader in Afghanistan’s remote Wakhan Corridor, is determined to get an education. Although the closest school is miles from her home, she eagerly dons her uniform and only pair of shoes each morning to make the 90-minute trek to school. Join Gul Bahar as she rises before dawn to do her chores, walks to school with her classmates, cooks with her mother, and does her homework. See for yourself how CAI is making a difference for children and their families in one of the Last Best Places.