Is Afghanistan A Country?

The countryside of Afghanistan.

By definition, a country refers to a political region that has its own autonomous government. Afghanistan is a landlocked nation that is located in South Asia. The nation is bordered to the south and east by Pakistan, by Iran to the west, China to the far northeast, while Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan form Afghanistan's northern border. The nation covers an area of about 252,000 square miles and had a population of roughly 29.2 million people in 2017. The capital city, which is also the country's largest city, is Kabul. The first republic of Afghanistan was formed in 1973 after the deposition of Mohammed Khan by his cousin. Afghanistan's current constitution was passed on January 26, 2004.

Government of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic composed of three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The president is the head of state, and is assisted by two vice presidents. The National Assembly is bicameral, meaning it is made up of two chambers. These chambers are the House of Elders, which is the upper house, and the House of the People, which is the lower house. Unfortunately, according to Transparency International, the government is considered highly corrupt. Bribery in the nation amounted to about 23% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010.

Demographics of Afghanistan

Of the estimated 29.2 million people in Afghanistan, the populatiomn is roughly split between 15 million men and 14.2 million women. Given the country's current population growth rate of 2.34%, Afghanistan's population will reach approximately 82 million by 2050.  About 78% of the population lives in urban areas, while the remaining 22% live in rural areas. The population is composed of several ethnic groups such as Pashtun (42%), Tajik (33%), Hazara (9%), and Uzbek (9%).

The official languages of Afghanistan are Pashto and Dari. The latter is more popular in Kabul, as well as most of the north and northwestern regions of the nation. Data shows that about 80% of Afghanistan’s population speaks Dari, while Pashto is spoken by approximately 47% of the population. Minor languages spoken in the country include English, Urdu, Arabic, and Turkmen. In some places, certain languages have been declared as a third official languages due to a majority of speakers. Examples of such languages include Uzbek and Balochi.

Religion in Afghanistan

Islam is the predominant religion in Afghanistan, as 99.7% of the population identify as Muslim. However, since there has never been an official census, this figure is an estimate. According to the Pew Research Center, Sunni Muslims make up the largest group of Muslims (90%), Shia Muslims make up 7%, while 3% do not identify with a particular denomination of Islam. Other small religious populations include Sikhism, Hindism, Judaism, and Christianity.

Economy of Afghanistan

Despite possessing more than $1 trillion worth in mineral deposits, the nation is among the least developed in the worldm, with a GDP per capita of about $2,000 and a GDP of about $64 billion. The low level of development means that exports are worth $658 million, while imports total $6 billion. The major economic sector is agriculture, which is popular for the production of fine pomegranates, melons, and other produce.


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