Afghanistan never charts particularly highly on any lifestyle magazines' annual "Best Countries in the World For Jews" lists. But who knew it's come to this? According to a Report on International Religious Freedom from the U.S. State Department, the number of Jews currently residing in Afghanistan amounts to one (1) Jew.
From the report:
Population estimates ranged from 24 to 33 million...80 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim, 19 percent Shia Muslim, and other religious groups comprise less than 1 percent of the population...approximately 3,000 Sikhs, more than 400 Bahais, and 100 Hindu believers. There is a small Christian community; estimates on its size range from 500 to 8,000. There is one known Jewish citizen.
Let's put some historical perspective on that. (All numbers courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.)
12th Century: 80,000 Jews in Afghanistan
1839: 40,000 Jews
1948: 5,000 Jews
1969: 300 Jews
1996: 10 Jews
2005: 2 Jews
2011: 1 Jew (the other Jew died)
Now, I'm no census statistician, but these numbers strongly suggest to me that Afghanistan has been suffering from a severe Jewish brain drain over the past 900 years. And what of that sole tribesman? Always 9/10ths short of a minyan. His J-Date chatroom perpetually empty. How could your heart not break for him? The Loneliest Jew. It's like a some lost story by Saint-Exupéry, as told to Shalom Aleichem.
Update: As several commenters have pointed out, the last Jew in Afghanistan is Zablon Simintov, a carpet trader and the caretaker of the only synagogue in Kabul, who had an ongoing feud with the other last Jew in Afghanistan, Ishaq Levin, until Levin's death in 2005. Read more about him at his Wikipedia page. [CNSnews.com, Stock Image via Shutterstock]