Population of Afghanistan: size, ethnic composition and interesting facts
In the past few decades, Afghanistan has been riveting world attention as one of the hot spots of the planet. Almost half a century here lasts a crisis situation. The country has many problems from overpopulation and extremely low living standards.
Afghanistan - a mixture of peoples and tribes
The country is relatively small in size - just over 650 thousand square meters. km It is very populous and multinational. The latest data on how many people in Afghanistan, the statistics leads at the end of 2017 - 35098174 people. The bulk of the three ethnic groups.
They are Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras.
- Pashtuns - the number ranges from 40% of the total population. This is the largest nation in the country.
- Tajiks make up about 30% of the total population.
- Hazaras - the number of the ethnic group barely falls to 9%.
But these are not all nationalities that live permanently on the territory of the state and have the status of “Afghan” in the passport. Among other very small diasporas, there are Uzbeks, Pashai, Charaymaks, Turkmen, Nuristanis, Pamir peoples, Baluchis, Braguis, Kudjars, Kirghiz and Kyzylbashi. The population of Afghanistan in each of them is limited to a few percent of the total population. The largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, is a branch of the Iranian people. Its representatives speak in the Pashto language, which along with Dari is the official state language. To this day, the basis of the traditional Pashtun way of life is a tribal hierarchy, with leaders and elders at the head of each clan. Pashtuns are Sunni Muslims.
Number of inhabitants
The situation in the camp with migration and demography is generally characteristic of the Arab countries of the Middle East, but it has its own characteristics. In the past ten years, the population of Afghanistan has increased by about one million people every year. In percentage terms, this indicator is 3 ± 0.2%.
Thus, from 2007 to 2018, the number of residents of the republic increased from 25.5 to 35 million, that is, by almost a third. For comparison, during the same period of time from 1951 to 1961, the natural increase in the population of Afghanistan amounted to an average of 200 thousand people annually. The percentage rate then ranged from 1.1 to 1.9%. The peak indicators of the demographic chart were: in 1984, a negative maximum of -3.05%; in 1992 - a positive +7.67%. During the civil war of the late seventies - eighties, there was a natural loss of population due to increased mortality and a huge flow of refugees from the country.
Features of the demographic situation
What contributed to such a rapid increase in population in recent years? A long period of time, almost since the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the religious elite in the country carried out a total Islamization of all spheres of life, based on the norms of Sharia.
The Taliban’s ultraradical regime has completely changed the face of a once steadily developing state:
- life under Sharia law: polygamy and large families;
- a significant decrease in the literacy of the population of Afghanistan;
- infringement of women's rights;
- opium poppy cultivation and drug export has become the main economic area;
- incessant for many years civil war.
All this together led to a sharp increase in the demographic index.
Not surprisingly, the country more and more resembles a human anthill. According to the latest data, by the end of the past year, the population density of Afghanistan was 54 people per km2.
This is especially noticeable in the capital - Kabul, where 3.5 million people live, which is 10% of the total number of inhabitants. In addition to traditionally high birth rates, compaction continues due to the flight to the city of the population from areas with an unstable military situation. However, the streets of Kabul are also not calm, he heads the list of the most dangerous cities in the world.
An analysis of the average age of Afghans makes it possible to attribute its current position to the poorest developing countries:
- The largest age groups are children under 15 years old - about 43% of them - and people from 15 to 65 years old - 55.5%.Old people over 65 are only about 2.5%.
- The average life expectancy in the country is about 45 years. These figures suggest that due to the low standard of living and the lack of a healthcare system, there is a high birth rate in the camp, and at the same time, high mortality among middle-aged people.
- Only every third person can read and write in the country.
At the same time, there is unevenness between people of different sexes: among adult men, about 52% are literate, while among women of the same age category, only 24% are. However, in recent years there has been an increase in this indicator of the age population of Afghanistan. Thus, among the young residents of the country from 15 to 24 years old, the figures are already 70% and 46%, respectively.
Soviet Union in the civil war of Afghanistan
The current political and economic situation in the country, of course, is a direct result of the protracted civil conflict that began in the seventies of the last century. Afghanistan has always been an important center of communication between Europe and Asia. However, until the middle of the last century was extremely backward in economic terms, industry was absent. It was then, in the late sixties, the country experienced a short-term economic recovery.New manufactures opened, tourists came to the country. Everything ended in the early seventies, when the first coup d'état took place, as a result of which the republic was proclaimed. Up to this point, Afghanistan was a kingdom, the current monarch was overthrown by one of his relatives, Mohammed Daoud.
For several years, the political struggle continued, ending in 1978 with a new revolution. A democratic government came to power. In the same year, a civil war began with supporters of the Islamic opposition. The people's democratic government repeatedly appealed for help to a friendly Soviet state. As we know from history, these requests were ultimately satisfied — in 1979, Soviet troops took direct part in the Afghan civil armed conflict on the side of the government forces. Behind the religious opposition stood the United Kingdom, the United States. For the entire period of confrontation, the troops of the Afghan Mujahideen, recruited from the population of Afghanistan, were trained by American instructors in Pakistan and supplied with weapons, including Stinger missiles.Such, in a nutshell, is a big political game, as a result of which Russian soldiers were embroiled in another's war.
It is also worth mentioning that another Russian government coup was carried out by the forces of the Russian military. He had a goal to put a more friendly leader at the helm in the country. In total, the military contingent of the Soviet Union for nine years was directly involved in this protracted conflict. M. Gorbachev’s words about this military operation are impressive: “In Afghanistan, we have been fighting for six years. If you do not change the approaches, then we will fight another 20-30 years. ” Fully troops were withdrawn only in 1989.
Echo of War
However, stability in Afghanistan has not come, and probably will not come soon. The result of the protracted civil confrontation was the transformation of the country into one of the poorest and most dangerous in the world. More or less civilized life can be seen here, perhaps, only in the capital, but the attacks here are also a constant phenomenon. The main direction of the post-war development of the economy of an already backward agricultural country in which there is no industrial production was the cultivation of opium poppy.
With the total destruction of the economy, political anarchy and terrible poverty, farmers grow it just to survive. Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of drugs, the lion's share of which is supplied to Russia and Europe.
The latest economic history of the country
Only by 2007, the country's economy began to change slightly. From these years, the state has gradually increased funding from the budget of educational and medical institutions.
Afghanistan's GDP per capita
According to various financial studies, during this period, the production of many major agricultural crops and the extraction of minerals began to increase. The main obstacle to the improvement of economic indicators, of course, is the violation of the transport system of the country and the complete lack of security due to the continuing terrorist actions of radical religious groups. In recent years, ISIS has also entered into confrontation with the Taliban grouping here, the militants of which are committing widespread terrorist attacks. This is what pushes away from complicity in the business of foreign investors and the infusion of donor finances into the development of the country.
Minerals - Future Potential
Despite all the existing problems, the state has a tremendous source of economic well-being. The mountain ranges, which to this day serve as refuges for Islamic militants, contain enormous reserves of natural gas, oil and coal. They are practically not developed. In addition, in the depths of the long-suffering Afghan land there are deposits and minerals such as Au, Li, Fe, Cu. In many ways, it is the country's natural resources that are the reason for the superpowers so closely paying attention to these territories and the unstable military situation, as in many neighboring states of the Middle East.
However, it is encouraging that in the news reports there are more and more positive reports about the economic life of our troubled Middle Eastern neighbor. So, at the end of last year, representatives of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan continued preparations for signing an agreement on the TAPI project, which involves laying a gas pipeline to a number of Arab countries from Turkmenistan.
The money for transit through the territory of Afghanistan is expected to be a significant replenishment of the state budget.In general, the end of 2017 brought several major news for the population of the country of Afghanistan.
In mid-December, the Asian Development Bank signed an agreement on the allocation of $ 360 million to restore the transport infrastructure of the republic. In addition, the bank is financing the construction of a solar power plant in the suburb of Kabul. Transport and economic ties are being established with the closest neighbors - Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Georgia, and India.