Afghanistan Population and Economy 2000

By | December 16, 2021


The demographic picture is strongly influenced by the political-military events as a result of which, during the 1980s, large displacements of residents took place, both within the country and towards neighboring states (about 3 million people took refuge in Pakistan and a million in Iran), not counting a few hundred thousand casualties in war operations. Nonetheless, the overall population has continued to rapidly grow as a result of a very high birth rate, by far one of the largest in the world (50, 2 annual ‰ in the period 1990 – 95 according to a UN estimate) and only partly balanced by the considerable mortality (21, 8 ‰), and the substantial fall of emigrants (about 200. 000 from Iran and 1. 800. 000 from Pakistan in 1993). According to official estimates of international organizations, the Afghanistan, in 1998, had a population of over 21.3 million residents: this evaluation included refugees and excluding nomads, whose number ranges between 2, 7 and 3 millions of individuals.

As regards the territorial distribution, the average density of 33 residents / km ² results from vast regions completely or almost uninhabited, where it falls to values ​​of 3 residents / km ², and from others, much smaller, densely populated (basins and valleys with water resources and with a favorable climate), where the density varies between 100 and 300 residents / km ².

The war and the devastation suffered by the countryside led to a tendency for people to move to cities and the urban population rate rose to 20 %, compared to the years doubled value Seventies: the capital, Kabul, in 1988 reached almost 1, 5 million of the people living there. However, between 1995 and 1996 the uncertain political situation and the Islamic fundamentalists’ offensive against the major cities of the country pushed many residents to abandon urban centers and move to villages considered to be safer, so it is currently very difficult to assess the real population size of the capital (which in 1993, according to an estimate, it would have been halved compared to 1988) and the other major centers of the country (Qandahār, Herāt, Mazār-i Sherīf, Gialālābād and Qundūz).

Economic conditions

The economy of the Afghanistan, already among the most backward in the world, has suffered further damage due to the recent dramatic political-military events; despite the data published by the official Afghan sources are optimistic and reassuring, it remains in very critical conditions and, pending the completion of the restructuring work, it remains based on forms of subsistence and therefore anchored to the primary sector. For Afghanistan business, please check

The aridity of the climate, the poverty of the soils and the tormented morphology heavily affect agricultural activities, limited to about 12 % of the territorial surface. A notable improvement would have come from the great damming and canalization works carried out on the main rivers of the country, if their functioning had not been compromised by the destruction that took place during the period of the Soviet occupation. To this situation is added to the archaic structures of land and cultivation techniques, so since the eighties the production of the main crops of cereals is progressively decreased, as well as their yield per hectare: the grain is dropped from 2, 8 ÷ 3million tonnes per year to about 2 million tonnes, while much smaller quantities occur for maize, rice, barley, millet. The production of vegetables and fruit is abundant, destined both for internal trade and for export, and the cultivation of cotton and linen is widespread, which feeds a textile sector, whose structures have been partially rebuilt. The zootechnical heritage remains a fundamental resource, which has also been decimated: sheep prevail, which in 1996 reached 14.3 million heads, including Karakul sheep, whose skins are widely exported.

The country has good mineral resources (iron, lead, copper, chromium, uranium, gold, silver, salt, lapis lazuli), not yet exploited, and has rich reserves of oil, natural gas and coal. The production of natural gas (3 billion m³ in 1987), exported entirely to the Soviet Union until 1988, has now greatly decreased (294 million m³ in 1995) and is destined only for internal consumption.

A moderate, if not quantifiable, contribution to the Afghan economy comes from drug trafficking, which, hindered during the Soviet invasion, has today re-established its marketing channels; However, according to UN estimates, opium cultivation has declined in recent years by about 1 / 3, following the forced eradication, the convenience of some alternative crops and, finally, the fear of reprisals by the fundamentalists. The profound changes that have taken place in the European socialist countries and in those that made up the Soviet Union, already main trading partners, have led to a radical change in the framework of international trade of the Afghanistan, in which they are taking part, with a role of growing importance, some countries of the European Union.

Afghanistan Economy