Turkmenistan vs. Afghanistan


Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. The area was ruled in antiquity by various Persian empires, and was conquered by Alexander the Great, Muslim armies, the Mongols, Turkic warriors, and eventually the Russians. In medieval times, Merv (located in present-day Mary province) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia in the late 1800s, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic; it achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President for Life Saparmyrat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a deputy chairman under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president. BERDIMUHAMEDOW won Turkmenistan's first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007, and again in 2012 and in 2017 with over 97% of the vote in both instances, in elections widely regarded as undemocratic.

Turkmenistan has sought new export markets for its extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves, which have yet to be fully exploited. As of late 2019, Turkmenistan exported the majority of its gas to China and small levels of gas were also being sent to Russia. Turkmenistan's reliance on gas exports has made the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in the global energy market, and economic hardships since the drop in energy prices in 2014 have led many Turkmenistanis to emigrate, mostly to Turkey.

Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747. The country served as a buffer between the British and Russian Empires until it won independence from notional British control in 1919. A brief experiment in increased democracy ended in a 1973 coup and a 1978 communist countercoup. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 to support the tottering Afghan communist regime, touching off a long and destructive war. The USSR withdrew in 1989 under relentless pressure by internationally supported anti-communist mujahidin rebels. A series of subsequent civil wars saw Kabul finally fall in 1996 to the Taliban, a hardline Pakistani-sponsored movement that emerged in 1994 to end the country's civil war and anarchy. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Usama BIN LADIN.

A UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan, and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was reelected in August 2009 for a second term. The 2014 presidential election was the country's first to include a runoff, which featured the top two vote-getters from the first round, Abdullah ABDULLAH and Ashraf GHANI. Throughout the summer of 2014, their campaigns disputed the results and traded accusations of fraud, leading to a US-led diplomatic intervention that included a full vote audit as well as political negotiations between the two camps. In September 2014, GHANI and ABDULLAH agreed to form the Government of National Unity, with GHANI inaugurated as president and ABDULLAH elevated to the newly-created position of chief executive officer. The day after the inauguration, the GHANI administration signed the US-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement, which provide the legal basis for the post-2014 international military presence in Afghanistan. After two postponements, the next presidential election was held in September 2019.

The Taliban remains a serious challenge for the Afghan Government in almost every province. The Taliban still considers itself the rightful government of Afghanistan, and it remains a capable and confident insurgent force fighting for the withdrawal of foreign military forces from Afghanistan, establishment of sharia law, and rewriting of the Afghan constitution. In 2019, negotiations between the US and the Taliban in Doha entered their highest level yet, building on momentum that began in late 2018. Underlying the negotiations is the unsettled state of Afghan politics, and prospects for a sustainable political settlement remain unclear.


Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran
Geographic coordinates
40 00 N, 60 00 E
33 00 N, 65 00 E
Map references
total: 488,100 sq km
land: 469,930 sq km
water: 18,170 sq km
total: 652,230 sq km
land: 652,230 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than three times the size of Georgia; slightly larger than California
almost six times the size of Virginia; slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries
total: 4,158 km
border countries (4): Afghanistan 804 km, Iran 1148 km, Kazakhstan 413 km, Uzbekistan 1793 km
total: 5,987 km
border countries (6): China 91 km, Iran 921 km, Pakistan 2670 km, Tajikistan 1357 km, Turkmenistan 804 km, Uzbekistan 144 km
0 km (landlocked); note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
none (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
subtropical desert
arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 230 m
lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya (Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya, the lake has dropped as low as -110 m) -81 m
highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m
mean elevation: 1,884 m
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Noshak 7,492 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt
natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones, arable land
Land use
agricultural land: 72% (2011 est.)
arable land: 4.1% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 67.8% (2011 est.)
forest: 8.8% (2011 est.)
other: 19.2% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 58.1% (2016 est.)
arable land: 11.8% (2016) / permanent crops: 0.3% (2016) / permanent pasture: 46% (2016)
forest: 2.07% (2016 est.)
other: 39% (2016)
Irrigated land
19,950 sq km (2012)
32,080 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards
earthquakes; mudslides; droughts; dust storms; floods
damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Environment - current issues
contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; soil erosion; desertification
limited natural freshwater resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution in overcrowded urban areas
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau
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)
Population distribution
the most densely populated areas are the southern, eastern, and northeastern oases; approximately 50% of the population lives in and around the capital of Ashgabat
populations tend to cluster in the foothills and periphery of the rugged Hindu Kush range; smaller groups are found in many of the country's interior valleys; in general, the east is more densely settled, while the south is sparsely populated


5,528,627 (July 2020 est.)
some sources suggest Turkmenistan's population could be as much as 1 to 2 million people lower than available estimates because of large-scale emigration during the last 10 years
36,643,815 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 25.44% (male 713,441/female 693,042)
15-24 years: 16.48% (male 458,566/female 452,469)
25-54 years: 44.14% (male 1,214,581/female 1,226,027)
55-64 years: 8.56% (male 221,935/female 251,238)
65 years and over: 5.38% (male 129,332/female 167,996) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 40.62% (male 7,562,703/female 7,321,646)
15-24 years: 21.26% (male 3,960,044/female 3,828,670)
25-54 years: 31.44% (male 5,858,675/female 5,661,887)
55-64 years: 4.01% (male 724,597/female 744,910)
65 years and over: 2.68% (male 451,852/female 528,831) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 29.2 years
male: 28.7 years
female: 29.7 years (2020 est.)
total: 19.5 years
male: 19.4 years
female: 19.5 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
1.06% (2020 est.)
2.38% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
18.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
36.7 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
12.7 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 98.1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 102.6 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 30.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 37.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 104.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 111.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 96.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 71.3 years
male: 68.2 years
female: 74.5 years (2020 est.)
total population: 52.8 years
male: 51.4 years
female: 54.4 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
2.04 children born/woman (2020 est.)
4.82 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2019 est.)
noun: Turkmenistani(s)
adjective: Turkmenistani
noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan
Ethnic groups
Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)
Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, other (includes smaller numbers of Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, Pashai, and Kyrghyz) (2015)

note: current statistical data on the sensitive subject of ethnicity in Afghanistan are not available, and ethnicity data from small samples of respondents to opinion polls are not a reliable alternative; Afghanistan's 2004 constitution recognizes 14 ethnic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, and Pashai

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
11,000 (2019 est.)
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Muslim 99.7% (Sunni 84.7 - 89.7%, Shia 10 - 15%), other 0.3% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<500 (2019 est.)
Turkmen (official) 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 77% (Dari functions as the lingua franca), Pashto (official) 48%, Uzbek 11%, English 6%, Turkmen 3%, Urdu 3%, Pashayi 1%, Nuristani 1%, Arabic 1%, Balochi 1% (2017 est.)

note: data represent most widely spoken languages; shares sum to more than 100% because there is much bilingualism in the country and because respondents were allowed to select more than one language

note: the Turkic languages Uzbek and Turkmen, as well as Balochi, Pashayi, Nuristani, and Pamiri are the third official languages in areas where the majority speaks them

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.6% (2015)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 43%
male: 55.5%
female: 29.8% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2019)
total: 10 years
male: 13 years
female: 8 years (2018)
Education expenditures
3.1% of GDP (2012)
4.1% of GDP (2017)
urban population: 52.5% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 2.46% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 26% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 3.37% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 95.9% of population
rural: 61.4% of population
total: 70.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 3.2% of population
rural: 38.6% of population
total: 38.6% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 83.6% of population
rural: 43% of population
total: 53.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 16.4% of population
rural: 57% of population
total: 46.8% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
846,000 ASHGABAT (capital) (2020)
4.222 million KABUL (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
638 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
3.2% (2015)
19.1% (2018)
Health expenditures
6.9% (2017)
11.8% (2017)
Physicians density
2.22 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
0.28 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
4 beds/1,000 population (2014)
0.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
18.6% (2016)
5.5% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
50.2% (2015/16)
18.9% (2018)
note:  percent of women aged 12-49
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 55.2
youth dependency ratio: 47.8
elderly dependency ratio: 7.4
potential support ratio: 13.5 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 88.8
youth dependency ratio: 75.3
elderly dependency ratio: 4.8
potential support ratio: 21 (2020 est.)


Country name
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
local short form: Turkmenistan
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so Turkmenistan literally means the "Land of the Turkmen [people]"
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan
local short form: Afghanistan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
etymology: the name "Afghan" originally referred to the Pashtun people (today it is understood to include all the country's ethnic groups), while the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country"; so Afghanistan literally means the "Land of the Afghans"
Government type
presidential republic; authoritarian
presidential Islamic republic
name: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
geographic coordinates: 37 57 N, 58 23 E
time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: derived from the Persian words "eshq" meaning "love" and "abad" meaning "inhabited place" or "city," and so loosely translates as "the city of love" 
name: Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: does not observe daylight savings time
etymology: named for the Kabul River, but the river's name is of unknown origin
Administrative divisions
5 provinces (welayatlar, singular - welayat) and 1 independent city*: Ahal Welayaty (Anew), Ashgabat*, Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dasoguz Welayaty, Lebap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul
27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
National holiday
Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
Independence Day, 19 August (1919)
history: several previous; latest adopted 14 September 2016
amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote of the total Assembly membership or absolute majority approval in a referendum; amended 2017
history: several previous; latest drafted 14 December 2003 - 4 January 2004, signed 16 January 2004, ratified 26 January 2004
amendments: proposed by a commission formed by presidential decree followed by the convention of a Grand Council (Loya Jirga) decreed by the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Loya Jirga membership and endorsement by the president
Legal system
18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (since 14 February 2007); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (since 14 February 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 12 February 2017 (next to be held in February 2024)
election results: Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (DPT) 97.7%, other 2.3%
chief of state:

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI (since 29 September 2014); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH, Dr. (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014); First Deputy CEO Khyal Mohammad KHAN; Second Deputy CEO Mohammad MOHAQQEQ; note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government:

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf GHANI (since 29 September 2014); CEO Abdullah ABDULLAH, Dr. (since 29 September 2014); First Vice President Abdul Rashid DOSTAM (since 29 September 2014); Second Vice President Sarwar DANESH (since 29 September 2014); First Deputy CEO Khyal Mohammad KHAN; Second Deputy CEO Mohammad MOHAQQEQ

cabinet: Cabinet consists of 25 ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 September 2019 (next to be held in 2024)
election results: Ashraf GHANI declared winner by the Independent Election Commission on 18 February 2020; Ashraf GHANI 50.6%, Abdullah ABDULLAH, Dr. 39.5%, other 0.9%
Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly or Mejlis (125 seats; members directly elected from single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 March 2018, although interim elections are held on an ad hoc basis to fill vacant sets
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DPT 55, APT 11, PIE 11, independent 48 (individuals nominated by citizen groups); composition - men 94, women 31, percent of women 24.8%
description: bicameral National Assembly consists of:
Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats; 34 members indirectly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed by district councils to serve 3-year terms, 34 indirectly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed by provincial councils to serve 4-year terms, and 34 appointed by the president from nominations by civic groups, political parties, and the public, of which 17 must be women, 2 must represent the disabled, and 2 must be Kuchi nomads; presidential appointees serve 5-year terms)

Wolesi Jirga or House of People (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)

Meshrano Jirga - district councils - within 5 days of installation; provincial councils - within 15 days of installation; presidential appointees - within 2 weeks after the presidential inauguration
Wolesi Jirga - last held on 20 October 2018) (next to be held in 2023)
election results:
Meshrano Jirga - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 84, women 18, percent of women 17.6%
Wolesi Jirga - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party - NA; composition - NA
note: the constitution allows the government to convene a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it consists of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils; a Loya Jirga can amend provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; no constitutional Loya Jirga has ever been held, and district councils have never been elected; the president appointed 34 members of the Meshrano Jirga that the district councils should have indirectly elected
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court of Turkmenistan (consists of the court president and 21 associate judges and organized into civil, criminal, and military chambers)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: High Commercial Court; appellate courts; provincial, district, and city courts; military courts
highest courts: Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the supreme court chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans)
judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Political parties and leaders
Agrarian Party of Turkmenistan or APT [Basim ANNAGURBANOW]
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT [Ata SERDAROW]
Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs or PIE [Saparmyrat OWGANOW]

note: all of these parties support President BERDIMUHAMEDOW; a law authorizing the registration of political parties went into effect in January 2012; unofficial, small opposition movements exist abroad

note - the Ministry of Justice licensed 72 political parties as of April 2019 

International organization participation
ADB, CIS (associate member, has not ratified the 1993 CIS charter although it participates in meetings and held the chairmanship of the CIS in 2012), EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Meret ORAZOW (since 14 February 2001)
chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697
Ambassador Roya RAHMANI (since 24 November 2018)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6410
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew S. KLIMOW (since 26 June 2019)
telephone: [993] (12) 94-00-45
embassy: No. 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat 744000
mailing address: 7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, DC 20521-7070
FAX: [993] (12) 94-26-14
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ross WILSON (since 18 January 2020)
telephone: [00 93] 0700 108 001
embassy: Bibi Mahru, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO AE 09806
FAX: [00 93] 0700 108 564
Flag description
green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five tribal guls (designs used in producing carpets) stacked above two crossed olive branches; five white, five-pointed stars and a white crescent moon appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe; the green color and crescent moon represent Islam; the five stars symbolize the regions or welayats of Turkmenistan; the guls reflect the national identity of Turkmenistan where carpet-making has long been a part of traditional nomadic life

note: the flag of Turkmenistan is the most intricate of all national flags

three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other 2 bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are Eastern Arabic numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great"), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood shed for independence, and green can represent either hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam

note: Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century - 19 by one count - than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them

National anthem
name: "Garassyz, Bitarap Turkmenistanyn" (Independent, Neutral, Turkmenistan State Anthem)
lyrics/music: collective/Veli MUKHATOV

note: adopted 1997, lyrics revised in 2008, to eliminate references to deceased President Saparmurat NYYAZOW

name: "Milli Surood" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA

note: adopted 2006; the 2004 constitution of the post-Taliban government mandated that a new national anthem should be written containing the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan's ethnic groups

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)
Akhal-Teke horse; national colors: green, white
lion; national colors: red, green, black
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Turkmenistan
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must have been born in - and continuously lived in - Afghanistan
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


Economy - overview

Turkmenistan is largely a desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and significant natural gas and oil resources. The two largest crops are cotton, most of which is produced for export, and wheat, which is domestically consumed. Although agriculture accounts for almost 8% of GDP, it continues to employ nearly half of the country's workforce. Hydrocarbon exports, the bulk of which is natural gas going to China, make up 25% of Turkmenistan’s GDP. Ashgabat has explored two initiatives to bring gas to new markets: a trans-Caspian pipeline that would carry gas to Europe and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. Both face major financing, political, and security hurdles and are unlikely to be completed soon.

Turkmenistan’s autocratic governments under presidents NIYAZOW (1991-2006) and BERDIMUHAMEDOW (since 2007) have made little progress improving the business climate, privatizing state-owned industries, combatting corruption, and limiting economic development outside the energy sector. High energy prices in the mid-2000s allowed the government to undertake extensive development and social spending, including providing heavy utility subsidies.

Low energy prices since mid-2014 are hampering Turkmenistan’s economic growth and reducing government revenues. The government has cut subsidies in several areas, and wage arrears have increased. In January 2014, the Central Bank of Turkmenistan devalued the manat by 19%, and downward pressure on the currency continues. There is a widening spread between the official exchange rate (3.5 TMM per US dollar) and the black market exchange rate (approximately 14 TMM per US dollar). Currency depreciation and conversion restrictions, corruption, isolationist policies, and declining spending on public services have resulted in a stagnate economy that is nearing crisis. Turkmenistan claims substantial foreign currency reserves, but non-transparent data limit international institutions’ ability to verify this information.

Despite improvements in life expectancy, incomes, and literacy since 2001, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Corruption, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government's difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan's living standards are among the lowest in the world. Since 2014, the economy has slowed, in large part because of the withdrawal of nearly 100,000 foreign troops that had artificially inflated the country’s economic growth.

The international community remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $83 billion at ten donors' conferences between 2003 and 2016. In October 2016, the donors at the Brussels conference pledged an additional $3.8 billion in development aid annually from 2017 to 2020. Even with this help, Government of Afghanistan still faces number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.

In 2017 Afghanistan's growth rate was only marginally above that of the 2014-2016 average. The drawdown of international security forces that started in 2012 has negatively affected economic growth, as a substantial portion of commerce, especially in the services sector, has catered to the ongoing international troop presence in the country. Afghan President Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai is dedicated to instituting economic reforms to include improving revenue collection and fighting corruption. The government has implemented reforms to the budget process and in some other areas. However, many other reforms will take time to implement and Afghanistan will remain dependent on international donor support over the next several years.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$103.7 billion (2017 est.)
$97.41 billion (2016 est.)
$91.72 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$69.45 billion (2017 est.)
$67.65 billion (2016 est.)
$66.21 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
6.5% (2017 est.)
6.2% (2016 est.)
6.5% (2015 est.)
2.7% (2017 est.)
2.2% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$18,200 (2017 est.)
$17,300 (2016 est.)
$16,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$2,000 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$2,000 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 7.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 44.9% (2017 est.)
services: 47.7% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 23% (2016 est.)
industry: 21.1% (2016 est.)
services: 55.9% (2016 est.)

note: data exclude opium production

Population below poverty line
0.2% (2012 est.)
54.5% (2017 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 31.7% (1998)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 24% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
8% (2017 est.)
3.6% (2016 est.)
5% (2017 est.)
4.4% (2016 est.)
Labor force
2.305 million (2013 est.)
8.478 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 48.2%
industry: 14%
services: 37.8% (2004 est.)
agriculture: 44.3%
industry: 18.1%
services: 37.6% (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate
11% (2014 est.)
10.6% (2013)
23.9% (2017 est.)
22.6% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
40.8 (1998)
29.4 (2008)
revenues: 5.657 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 6.714 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 2.276 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 5.328 billion (2017 est.)
natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
small-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
Industrial production growth rate
1% (2017 est.)
-1.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products
cotton, grain, melons; livestock
opium, wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins, poppies
$7.458 billion (2017 est.)
$6.987 billion (2016 est.)
$784 million (2017 est.)
$614.2 million (2016 est.)

note: not including illicit exports or reexports

Exports - commodities
gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, textiles, cotton fiber
opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems, and medical herbs
Exports - partners
China 83.7%, Turkey 5.1% (2017)
India 56.5%, Pakistan 29.6% (2017)
$4.571 billion (2017 est.)
$5.215 billion (2016 est.)
$7.616 billion (2017 est.)
$6.16 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products
Imports - partners
Turkey 24.2%, Algeria 14.4%, Germany 9.8%, China 8.9%, Russia 8%, US 6.6% (2017)
China 21%, Iran 20.5%, Pakistan 11.8%, Kazakhstan 11%, Uzbekistan 6.8%, Malaysia 5.3% (2017)
Debt - external
$539.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$425.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$284 million (FY10/11)
Exchange rates
Turkmenistani manat (TMM) per US dollar -
4.125 (2017 est.)
3.5 (2016 est.)
3.5 (2015 est.)
3.5 (2014 est.)
2.85 (2013 est.)
afghanis (AFA) per US dollar -
7.87 (2017 est.)
68.03 (2016 est.)
67.87 (2015)
61.14 (2014 est.)
57.25 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
21 December - 20 December
Public debt
28.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
7% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$24.91 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$25.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.187 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.901 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$4.359 billion (2017 est.)
-$7.207 billion (2016 est.)
$1.014 billion (2017 est.)
$1.409 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$37.93 billion (2017 est.)
$20.24 billion (2017 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares



Commercial bank prime lending rate
19% (31 December 2017 est.)
16% (31 December 2016 est.)
15% (31 December 2016 est.)
15% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$28.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$13.09 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
-$240.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.326 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.255 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.644 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.192 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of broad money
$12.23 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.632 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.945 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.544 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
14.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
11.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-2.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-15.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 50% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 10% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 28.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 26.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -14.3% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 81.6% (2016 est.)
government consumption: 12% (2016 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2016 est.)
investment in inventories: 30% (2016 est.)
exports of goods and services: 6.7% (2016 est.)
imports of goods and services: -47.6% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving
23.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
18.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
22.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
25.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2015 est.)


Electricity - production
21.18 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.211 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
15.09 billion kWh (2016 est.)
5.526 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
3.201 billion kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
4.4 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
244,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
67,790 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
600 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
7.504 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
49.55 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
77.45 billion cu m (2017 est.)
164.2 million cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
39.31 billion cu m (2017 est.)
164.2 million cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
38.14 billion cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
4.001 million kW (2016 est.)
634,100 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
45% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
52% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
4% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
191,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
160,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
35,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
53,780 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
34,210 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
100.5 million Mt (2017 est.)
9.067 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
population without electricity: 18,999,254 (2012)
electrification - total population: 99% (2018)
electrification - urban areas: 98% (2016)
electrification - rural areas: 79% (2016)


Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 648,223
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11.85 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 125,232
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 8,908,821
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 162.86 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 21,239,280
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59.36 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
Internet users
total: 1,149,840
percent of population: 21.25% (July 2018 est.)
total: 4,717,013
percent of population: 13.5% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: telecommunications network is gradually improving from the former Soviet republic; state control over most economic activities has not helped growth; in cooperation with foreign partners, the telecom sector has installed high-speed fiber-optic lines and has upgraded most of the country's telephone exchanges and switching centers with new digital technology; the mobile market will see slow growth; some rural areas are still without telephones; mobile broadband is in the early stages of development; in 2019 Russia-based operator said to be leaving the country and leaving only 1 public operator (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 12 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 163 per 100 persons; first telecommunication satellite was launched in 2015 (2019)
international: country code - 993; linked by fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay to other CIS republics and to other countries by leased connections to the Moscow international gateway switch; an exchange in Ashgabat switches international traffic through Turkey via Intelsat; satellite earth stations - 1 Orbita and 1 Intelsat (2018)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: progress has been made on Afghanistan's first limited fixed-line telephone service and nationwide optical fiber backbone; aided by the presence of multiple providers, mobile-cellular telephone service continues to improve swiftly; the Afghan Ministry of Communications and Information claims that more than 90% of the population live in areas with access to mobile cellular service; moderate growth through 2024, assuming stable governance and improving economic environment (2020)
domestic: less than 1 per 100 for fixed-line teledensity; 59 per 100 for mobile-cellular; an increasing number of Afghans utilize mobile-cellular phone networks (2019)
international: country code - 93; multiple VSAT's provide international and domestic voice and data connectivity (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 4,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2017 est.)
total: 15,999
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
broadcast media is government controlled and censored; 7 state-owned TV and 4 state-owned radio networks; satellite dishes and programming provide an alternative to the state-run media; officials sometimes limit access to satellite TV by removing satellite dishes
state-owned broadcaster, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), operates a series of radio and television stations in Kabul and the provinces; an estimated 174 private radio stations, 83 TV stations, and about a dozen international broadcasters are available (2019)


total: 58,592 km (2002)
paved: 47,577 km (2002)
unpaved: 11,015 km (2002)
total: 34,903 km (2017)
paved: 17,903 km (2017)
unpaved: 17,000 km (2017)
1,300 km (Amu Darya River and Kara Kum Canal are important inland waterways) (2011)
1,200 km (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2011)
7500 km gas, 1501 km oil (2013)
466 km gas (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Caspian Sea - Turkmenbasy
river port(s): Kheyrabad, Shir Khan
total: 26 (2013)
total: 46 (2020)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 21 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
total: 29 (2020)
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 5 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
total: 17 (2020)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5
1 (2013)
1 (2020)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 27
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,457,474 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 16.92 million mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 13
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,722,612 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 29.56 million mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
EZ (2016)
YA (2016)


Military branches
Armed Forces of Turkmenistan: National Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces; Federal Border Guard Service (2019)
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are comprised of military, police, and other security elements:

Ministry of Defense: Afghan National Army ((ANA), Afghan Air Force, Afghan Special Security Forces (includes Special Operations Forces), Afghanistan National Army Territorial Forces (ANA-TF)); Afghan Border Force (ABF); Afghan National Civil Order Force (ANCOF)

Ministry of Interior: Afghan Uniform (National) Police (AUP); Public Security Police (PSP); Afghan Border Police (ABP); Afghan Anti-Crime Police; Afghan Local Police; Afghan Public Protection Force

National Directorate of Security ((NDS), intelligence service) (2020)
Military service age and obligation
18-27 years of age for compulsory male military service; 2-year conscript service obligation; 20 years of age for voluntary service; males may enroll in military schools from age 15 (2013)
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2017)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

cotton monoculture in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates water-sharing difficulties for Amu Darya river states; field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2005; bilateral talks continue with Azerbaijan on dividing the seabed and contested oilfields in the middle of the Caspian

Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps and since 2014 have met to discuss collaboration on the Taliban insurgency and counterterrorism efforts; Afghan and Iranian commissioners have discussed boundary monument densification and resurvey; Iran protests Afghanistan's restricting flow of dammed Helmand River tributaries during drought; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Russia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries

Illicit drugs
transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and Western European markets; transit point for heroin precursor chemicals bound for Afghanistan
world's largest producer of opium; poppy cultivation increased 63 percent, to 328,304 hectares in 2017; while eradication increased slightly, it still remains well below levels achieved in 2015; the 2017 crop yielded an estimated 9,000 mt of raw opium, a 88% increase over 2016; the Taliban and other antigovernment groups participate in and profit from the opiate trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Taliban inside Afghanistan; widespread corruption and instability impede counterdrug efforts; most of the heroin consumed in Europe and Eurasia is derived from Afghan opium; Afghanistan is also struggling to respond to a burgeoning domestic opiate addiction problem; a 2015 national drug use survey found that roughly 11% of the population tested positive for one or more illicit drugs; vulnerable to drug money laundering through informal financial networks; illicit cultivation of cannabis and regional source of hashish (2018)
Refugees and internally displaced persons
stateless persons: 3,688 (2019)
refugees (country of origin): 72,191 (Pakistan) (2019)
IDPs: 2.993 million (mostly Pashtuns and Kuchis displaced in the south and west due to natural disasters and political instability) (2019)

Source: CIA Factbook