The Story of Afghanistan
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in the third world is one of the poorest countries of about only 29,928,987 in population. It consists of Sunni Muslim 80%, Shiite Muslim 19%, and some select others 1%. There are also many different tribes and ethnicity’s in Afghanistan in which the major ethnicities are Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, the Nuristani 2%, and other minor ethnic groups (Chahar Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch). Dari and Pashtun are the official languages of Afghanistan and after the US troops began occupation, English is the next major language in Afghanistan. The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul and the president is Hamid Karzai. ...view middle of the document...
The country is split east to west by the Hindu Kush mountain ranges, rising in the east to heights of 24,000 ft (7,315 m). With the exception of the southwest, most of the country is covered by high snow-capped mountains and is traversed by deep valleys. (US Department of State, 2010)
Afghanistan's economy is recovering from decades of conflicts. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. This is largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector in some minor way, and service sector growth. Real GDP growth exceeded 8% in 2006 which basically depended on the assistance of the donor countries. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is still extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries. (CIA, 2010)
Much of the population still continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, and the Afghan Government's inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. It will probably take the rest of this new decade and continuing donor aid and attention to significantly raise Afghanistan's living standards from its current level, among the lowest in the world. (US Department of State, 2010)
The international community still remains committed to Afghanistan's development, pledging over $24 billion at three donors' conferences since 2002, Kabul will need to overcome a number of challenges. Expanding poppy cultivation and a growing opium trade generate roughly $3 billion in illicit economic activity and looms as one of Kabul's most serious policy concerns. Other long-term challenges include: budget sustainability, job creation, corruption removal, government capacity, and rebuilding war torn infrastructure. (CIA, 2010)
Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, but its cultivation dropped 48% in 2005. Better weather and lack of widespread disease returned opium yields to normal levels, meaning potential opium production declined by only 10% to 4,475 metric tons. If the entire poppy crop were processed, it is estimated that 526 metric tons of heroin could be processed with its many narcotics-processing labs throughout the country. Drug trade is a major source of instability and some anti-government groups profit from the trade of these illicit products. Significant domestic use of opiates is still to this day 80-90% of the heroin consumed in Europe which comes from the Afghanistan opium. (UNDCP, 2010)
Agriculture, Geography and Rural Changes
Afghanistan is a country of rugged mountains and arid plains, which become deserts in the southwest. Agricultural production is constrained by an almost total dependence on erratic winter snows and spring rains for water; to make matters worse...