Afghanistan Demographics and History 2006

By | December 16, 2021


State of Inner Anterior Asia. For the population, the massive exodus of Afghans (which began during the Soviet invasion, and continued first due to the intense guerrilla warfare, then due to the armed conflict with the United States in the autumn of 2001) in 2005 had not yet ended, because – despite the proclamation in 2004 of an Islamic Republic with democratic institutions – the situation in the area was still confused and difficult, dramatically aggravated by the drought that had hit the country since 2002. According to estimates by international organizations, the Afghanistan in 2005 it counted 29.8million residents: this evaluation includes refugees (mostly displaced in Pakistan and Irān, but also in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and, for some hundreds of thousands of them, also in Western European countries, in Australia and North America).

There is still a lack of reliable and up-to-date statistical data on the real demographic consistency of the cities, and the estimates, if for the capital Kābul speak of a population of 2,956,000 residents in 2003, for the other cities they stopped twenty years earlier. In October 2002 a new national currency was adopted, called afghani like the previous one, equal to approximately 0.02 euro. Also the economic situation of the country, conditioned by the war and political events after 2001, remains in a critical situation and the very survival of the population is entrusted to international aid. The backbone is made up almost exclusively of the primary sector: agriculture occupies 69 % of the active population, but over 85 % of the total population depends directly on it. Moreover, the arable land, which represents only 12 % of the surface of the territory, tends inexorably to decrease, also due to the presence of millions of anti-personnel mines not yet removed (which is why serious famines have occurred in many provinces). Cereals, fruit and cotton are grown, but the most profitable is the opium poppy, whose production dropped to 3400 t in 2002 following a massive plant eradication campaign promoted by the United Nations as part of a drug control program, it rose to 3600 tonnes in 2003, and contributes significantly to the formation of GDP. Despite the fact that the industry can count on the availability of good mineral resources, in 2005 it appeared almost non-existent, as the conditions of communications were precarious, which in addition to being affected by an unfavorable natural environment were seriously damaged by the war events. For the Afghanistan the changes that took place after 1989 in the countries of Eastern Europe and in those that made up the Soviet Union, already its main trading partners, have led to a radical change in the framework of international trade, in which some countries of the European Union. For Afghanistan society, please check


The state of violence and uncertainty that had marked the country in the last decades of the twentieth century, marred by bloody infighting, in the early years of the new century was still far from being overcome. The ṭā lib ā n government, which at the end of the nineties had militarily imposed itself on 90 % of the territory, after a long civil war waged against the opposition forces united in the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UIFSA) and also known as the Northern Alliance, had failed to revive the fortunes of the country and guarantee its effective stability. Although limited to the northern area, the conflicts continued, and it was difficult to reconstitute an economic and social fabric capable of creating the conditions for an effective recovery.

New difficulties were generated by the growing international isolation, only partially balanced by the renewed relations with Irān. To the sanctions imposed by the United States and the UN for the non-extradition of the Saudi billionaire U. Ibn Lādin, believed to be the financier and organizer of numerous terrorist attacks, and for the lack of respect for human rights, the regime had responded with a tightening of the attitude anti-Western, which culminated in March 2001 with the destruction of the giant statues of Buddha in Bāmiyān (dating back to the 7th century and already proclaimed cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO), because they were considered idolatrous and contrary to š ar ī ̔ a. The situation worsened in September 2001. The renewed rejection of Tá lib ā n to hand over bin Laden to the United States after the attacks of ‘ 11 September against the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon, attributed to followers of the Saudi billionaire, provoked the strong reaction of the US government, who, supported by a very wide anti-terrorist front, started a tough military campaign (called Operation Enduring Freedom) to destroy the training camps and military installations of al-Qā̔ida and capture Ibn Lādin. Starting from 7 October the Afghanistan, completely isolated on the diplomatic level (even the only countries that recognized the ṭā lib ā government n, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, had condemned the attacks of 11 September and had sided with the United States), was thus subjected to heavy bombing by the US and British aviation, while on the domestic front it resumed UIFSA’s offensive is vigorous, coordinated and supported by the international armed forces.

The capitulation of Kābul (13 November) and the subsequent capture of Qandahār (7 December) marked the defeat of the Ṭā lib ā n and opened a difficult and long phase of transition towards a new institutional order of the country. On 5 December the representatives of the major ethnic groups (mainly Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazara, Ubzeki), gathered under the aegis of the United Nations in Petersburg (near Bonn), reached an agreement on the future of the country: the constitution of a provisional unitary government, made up of thirty members and headed by the Pashtun H. Karzai. It would remain in office for six months, at the end of which the loya jirgah, the tribal assembly, would have nominated a new executive, always ad interim, but this time for two years, in charge of promulgating a new Constitution and calling new elections. A multinational UN force stationed in Kābul, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), was supposed to help ensure national security. In reality, despite the military commitment of the United Nations and international economic aid, particularly from the United States, the resumption of political and social life proved to be quite difficult. The various components of the Northern Alliance, united only by the struggle against the Ṭā lib ā n, they clashed again for the division and control of the territory, causing the Afghanistan in chaos. The ancient contradictions of a geographically and ethnically not very homogeneous country, economically weakened by thirty years of war and subject to strong fundamentalist suggestions, re-emerged in a short time: the resumption of clashes between the various local clans was followed, despite the warnings of the international community, the resumption and extension of drug trafficking, while š ar ī ̔ a, albeit mitigated, continued to permeate many aspects of social life, penalizing especially women.

The permanence of ṭā lib ā n guerrilla groups inside the country, only marginally affected by the incursions of the US and British military forces still present on the territory to hunt down Ibn Lādin, who had escaped capture, however, contributed to further tense the situation and particularly difficult the mediation work of the executive, effectively barricaded in Kābul. Despite the difficulties and the climate of strong internal tension, the government tried to reconnect with the various neighboring countries and to re-establish trade agreements with them. During 2002 negotiations with Turkmenistan resumed for the construction of a gas pipeline, and in the following months diplomatic exchanges with China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan intensified. Even the stages envisaged by the Bonn agreements were nevertheless respected: in June 2002, following the convocation of the loya jirgah, which confirmed Karzai as leader of the country, a new executive was formed, and in January 2004 a new Constitution was enacted. Strongly presidential, as wished by Karzai himself (who escaped a terrorist attack in September 2003), in addition to a president elected every 5years, a bicameral Parliament, with an upper house, directly elected, and a lower one, half eligible and the other half presidential. The text explicitly referred to religious tolerance, but also provided that no laws contrary to Islam were allowed, recognized equal rights for men and women and promoted the rank of official languages, alongside Pashto, Uzbek and Turkmen. The presidential elections, postponed several times, took place on 9 October 2004, in a climate of strong tension in which there was no lack of violence and intimidation. To the threats of the Ṭā lib ā n the pressure of the ethnic clans was added which, with the support of their militias, tried to impose their candidates, demonstrating that they still possess a high degree of territorial control. Despite this, participation in the vote was high (about 84 % of those entitled) and the result, which sanctioned Karzai’s victory with 55.4 % of the votes, was recognized as valid by the international observers who had attended the votes and the an end also accepted by the major antagonists of the elected president, the representative of the National Liberation Front Y. Qanuni, who obtained 16 % of the votes, the hazara M. Mohaqiq and the Uzbek R. Dostam, who presented themselves as independent and attested respectively to the ‘ 11.7% and 10 %. The new government, inaugurated in December 2004 and in which two women had been included, placed internal pacification, the reconstitution of a national identity and the relaunch of the economy among its priorities, but had to continue to face repeated attacks in 2005. terrorists attributed to the Ṭā lib ā n, whose bases continued to operate despite an increased NATO engagement in the north-western regions. The UN report on the socio-economic conditions of the Afghanistan, presented in February 2005, drew a bleak picture of the country’s hygienic-sanitary situation, which was ranked at the lowest rungs of the world ranking in terms of life expectancy (just 44 years) and development, and underlined how the partial economic growth recorded in previous years was almost exclusively linked to drugs, of which the Afghanistan it was once again one of the largest producers on a world scale.

In March 2005, the UN Security Council voted a resolution which decided to extend the peace mission in Afghanistan by one year to support the Karzai government in the difficult work of rebuilding the country, which is still considered highly unstable, and in view of legislative elections. Held in the sept. 2005, the consultations strengthened the internal democratization process even if the results confirmed the strong contradictions still present in the territory and the difficulty of finding a balance between the different centers of power: among the elected deputies, there were in fact women, exponents of Islamic moderates, ex Ṭā lib ā n and men linked to local clans.

Afghanistan Demographics