This landlocked country, a little larger than France, is bordered by Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan on the north, Pakistan on the east and south, and Iran on the west. In the extreme east it has a very short boundary with China in the high Pamir Mountains. Much of the country is mountainous; the highest peaks in the Pamirs and Hindu Kush rise to over 6,600 m/21,600 ft. The lowest parts of the country are in the southwest along the Iranian border and in the north along the border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan has a harsh climate of the continental type and the severity of winter is accentuated by the altitude of much of the country. Summers are everywhere warm, except in the highest areas, and at lower levels temperatures sometimes rise very high indeed. Winter and spring are the seasons of most changeable weather and most of the annual precipitation occurs at this time. Afghanistan is the most easterly country to experience the influence of the Mediterranean Sea, which is the source of most of the depressions that bring the winter precipitation. The high mountains to the south shield Afghanistan from the summer rains brought to India and parts of Pakistan by the southwest monsoon. Almost no rain falls from June to October. The lower parts of the country have a semi-arid or desert climate. In the Sistan Basin region along the Iranian border hot, dry, dusty winds are among the most unpleasant features of the summer weather.
The table for Kabul represents the climatic conditions over most of the country, particularly those in the mountainous centre and east. The table for Kandahar is representative of the lower and drier parts of the country. Here winters are milder but there may be spells of very cold weather for a few days at a time. Summers are sunny and generally hot, except in the higher mountains. Sunshine amounts range from six to seven hours a day in winter to as much as twelve to thirteen in summer. Because of the large range of temperature conditions found in Afghanistan, there is both a danger of heat exhaustion or even heatstroke in the lower regions in summer and of exposure, wind chill, and frostbite in the mountains in winter.
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