A map of Afghanistan, showing highland and lowland areas and vegetationMost of the land in Afghanistan is high mountain or desert. The Hindu Kush mountain range, extending southwestwards from the Himalayas, covers almost three-quarters of the country. These rugged central highlands are inhospitable and snow-covered for much of the year. The south of the country is mainly desert with high plateaus rising in the southwest, while the plains of the north are more fertile. With a semi-arid climate, Afghanistan experiences hot, dry summers and cold winters, especially in the mountains, where temperatures can fall to -25°C (-13°F).
Around three-quarters of Afghans live in rural areas. Most people in the countryside work in agriculture. Traditional rural buildings are made from mud and clay and built around a central courtyard. In cities, people live in Western-style houses and apartments, although some also live in mud-built houses. Afghanistan’s nomadic Kochi people travel from place to place in the mountains and desert, living in tents.
The traditional sport of buzkashi is popular in Afghanistan. Teams of players on horseback score points by dragging the carcass of a calf or goat to the opponent’s goal.
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