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Afghanistan: Before and After Taliban

This landlocked country has witnessed many wars from Muslims Invasion to Mongol’s attack. Then comes the 3 Anglo-Afghan Wars, as soon as these were over, the Soviet Union invaded the territory and then Taliban took the charge. Thousands were killed and billions of dollars have been spent for the peaceful future of the country and its inhabitants.

Taliban regime was ended in 2001 after which Hamid Karzi became the first elected president of Afghanistan; the nation witnessed first domestic transfer of power in September 2014 when Ashraf Ghani took the oath as president.

Population

As per estimates the approx. population of the country is 31.3 million and it’s growing with a fast pace. Traditionally Afghan women get married at young age and each woman on average gives birth to five children’s in her life.

The majority of the population lives in rural areas, as per UN estimates its 76% of the population. Kabul serves as the administrative capital of the country and has population of approx. 3.3 million, it is the only country with larger urban then rural population.

It’s a multiethnic country where Pashtuns dominates as they comprise of 42% of the total population, followed by Tajiks who are 27%.

Education

Since the fall of Taliban, the education sector has shown a significant improvement by achieving various milestones and had become a success story. In 2001 there were one million boys and no girls who were enrolled and attending formal school. By 2012 there were 7.8 million kids attending schools out of them 2.9 million were girls. There are 180,000 teachers to cater these students.

Although the majority of the schools are still operating through tents and houses and the girls dropout rate in secondary high school is still high but government is starting projects for fixing this issue.

Health

The health sector of the country had also shown big improvements, life expectancy has increased from 56 to 60 years. Progressive steps have been taken for reducing the under-five mortality rates and maternal mortality rates.

According to UN, the percentage of population using clean drinking water has increased by 56% and reached to 60.6% of the population. Afghanistan is one of the last remaining countries where the polio epidemic still remains. In 2013, 14 polio cases were reported while in 2012 there were 37 cases that were reported.

Vaccination campaigns are still running in the country for the elimination of the polio. Although the facts are quite overwhelming but it has been observed that major part of these improvements have been done in urban areas while a little improvement has been done in rural areas ,which holds the major part of the population.

Economy

Afghanistan is an agricultural country and produces some fine quality of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Farmers have been encourages to diversify but still they are more interested in the production of opium due to high sale price. In 2013, the country alone produced 90% of worlds opium.

This makes the opium the biggest export item of Afghanistan followed by fruits and nuts, hand-woven carpets and wool.

It has been seen that the country is rich with natural mineral reserves including natural gas, petroleum and gems but it has not been exploited due to political and law and order situation in the country.

Afghanistan’s major imports are machinery, food and textile products.

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