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Afghanistan and Globalization

Our key facts on how Afghans are living now that the Taliban no longer rules.

March 31, 2003

Our key facts on how Afghans are living now that the Taliban no longer rules.

The Afghani people are free. That is at least what one hears in the media. Yet, free from what? They are not free from want, nor free from fear. Poverty is still widespread — and a peaceful existence has yet to be fully attained. With a lot at stake in the country, the international community has much more to do to ensure Afghanistan does not slip back into tyrannical rule. Our Globalist Factsheet looks at life in Afghanistan after the Taliban.

What is the size of Afghanistan's GDP?

In 2002, Afghanistan's GDP amounted to $4.4 billion — which translates into $170 on a per capita basis.

(Asian Development Bank)

How much of that is due to poppy cultivation?

In 2002, opium production in Afghanistan generated up to $1.2 billion — or almost 27% of GDP.

(The Economist)

What legacy from Russia's occupation still haunts Afghanistan's people?

As of 2002, Afghanistan ranks as one of the world’s most heavily mined countries. An estimated five to seven million land mines — in about 50 different varieties — are believed to be deployed there.

(Center for International Rehabilitation)

In what way was Afghanistan's civil war different from others?

Unlike in the Balkans, rival Afghan groups are not trying to annihilate each other. There is no history of ethnic cleansing.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Why will it be difficult to unite the country?

Afghans have no common language.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Does politics run in Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai's veins?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s father, Abdul, served as speaker of the lower house of the Afghan parliament under the rule of King Mohammed Zahir Shah, who went into exile in 1973. The Taliban assassinated Abdul Karzai in Quetta, Pakistan in 1999.

(The Washington Post)

Where do most Afghani people live?

As of 2002, more than 85% of the Afghani population lives in and around 37,000 small villages.

(The New York Times)

How evolved is the Afghanistan healthcare system?

Nearly 99% of births in Afghanistan take place at home — and only 9% are attended by trained personnel.

(World Bank)

Do Afghanis have many children?

As of 2002, Afghan women give birth to an average of 6.8 children — one of the highest rates on earth.

(Atlantic Monthly)

How tough is life in Afghanistan?

Life expectancy in Afghanistan is estimated to be around 41 years of age. Only 30% of children under one year old are fully immunized.

(World Bank)

Do people make enough money to live?

As of 2002, an Afghani civil servant's monthly salary is about $40. The average cost of renting a house in Kabul is close to $400 a month.

(The Washington Post)

Given this salary, what could be an attractive career alternative?

As of 2003, an ordinary soldier in the Afghan National Army earns $50 a month.


And finally, why is poppy cultivation still rampant?

By the end of 2002, Afghani farmers could get $540 for a kilo of poppies — or over $16,000 a hectare — which no other crop can rival.

(The Economist)

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