Geography • Landlocked • Mostly rugged mountains; plains in the north and southwest • Extreme temperatures (120° F in the summer /-15° F in the winter.) • Prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods & droughts
Afghanistan Statistics • Capital: Kabul • Area: 251,825 sq mi; slightly smaller than Texas • Population: 30,419,928 80% Sunni Muslim, 19% Shia Muslim (*Taliban & Al Qaeda are Sunni Muslims) • 20 ethnic groups (Mostly Pashtun) • 0.21 physicians per 1,000 people • School Life Expectancy: total: 9 years male: 11 years female: 7 years • Literacy: total population: 28.1% male: 43.1% female: 12.6% • GDP per capita: $1,000 (US GDP-$48,300) • 78% work in agriculture • 35% are unemployed
Brief Timeline • 1979, Afghanistan was invaded and controlled by the Soviet Union. • In 1989, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union signed a peace agreement. • In 1995, the Taliban, promising traditional, Islamic values came into power, imposing strict Islamic law, including revoking many women’s rights. • After 9/11, US invades Afghanistan and force the Taliban from power. • In 2004, Hamid Karzai became the first elected Afghan president.
US War in Afghanistan The militant Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden & his followers, known as al-Qaida, were based in Afghanistan for many years. The organization continues to grow, but bin Laden was killed in May 2011. US troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001, but President Obama and Congress have set a timetable for total removal of all US troops over the next few years.
Only 23% of the population has access to safe water • Only 12% have access to adequate sanitation, thereby increasing the incidence of diseases. • At least 15,000 Afghans die of tuberculosis every year, of which 64% are women. • The poor health situation has been aggravated by the lack of basic health services and resources, particularly in rural areas; the strict segregation of medical staff and the small number of trained women doctors, nurses and midwives that remained in the country after the rise of the Taliban. • 23 years of war have destroyed the infrastructure of the educational system and further increased the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan. • 54% of girls under the age of 18 are married.
Taliban Talib: “student”/soldiers of the Taliban The Taliban continues to recruit young boys in Afghanistan & Pakistan, using the desperate economic situation of most Afghanis & Pakistanis to their advantage. Though Afghanistan is technically a democracy, the Taliban still controls some areas of the country and continues to carry out violent acts.