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Geo Briefing: How has Afghanistan changed since 2001?

Iran-Afghanistan border post Iran-Afghanistan border post Pal Teravagimov/Shutterstock
08 Dec
It has been thirteen years since US and allied intervention in Afghanistan began. Geographical takes a look at what has changed, and what has stayed the same

 The US has spent around $753.3billion (£480billion) in Afghanistan since 2001 with $89.1billion (£56.6bn) set to be spent this year alone. By 2011,  the international community had provided Afghanistan with $70billion (£44.6billion) in aid. The extent to which this spending has actually helped Afghanistan is a topic for considerable debate. One definite change in Afghan society since 2001 is the number of internet users. There were only 100 in 2001. Today there are 2.4 million, which makes it somewhat more likely for this Geo Briefing to be read in Afghanistan.

1) Healthcare shows a modest improvement
Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 09.28.33
Image: Afghan immunisation rates (percentage of children aged 12–23 months vaccinated) for diphtheria, tetanus and whopping cough. World Bank and Quandle
Expenditure: $3 per capita (2001) $55.93 per capita (2011)
Antenatal care (percentage of mother receiving a visit from a midwife one month post-birth): 16 per cent (2003) 47 per cent (2011)
Infant mortality (deaths per 1000 before reaching one year old): 89.6 (2002) 71 (2012)
Life expectancy: 56.42 Female/54.15 Male (2003) 61.35 Female/ 58.84 Male (2011)


2) The country’s economy has grown, but unemployment is still a vast problemafghanistan econ 1982
Image: Afghanistan’s resources and industries two years after the Soviet occupation. University of Texas

GDP: $3.6billion (2001) $20.72billion (2014)
Sectors: Agriculture 38 per cent (2005) 20 per cent (2012) / Industry 24 per cent (2005) 25 per cent (2012) / Services 38 per cent (2005) 54.4 per cent (2012)
Unemployment: 50 per cent (2001) 35 per cent (2013)
Budget revenue: $715million (2005) $2.25billion (2013)

3) We still count on Afghanistan for our opium. 90 per cent of the world’s supply originates in the country
Opium thru 2013
Image: Zerohedge
Opium was worth $8billion or 1/5 of the entire Afghan national economy in 2014, according to the UN.
Land devoted to production: 8,000 hectares (2001) 224,000 hectares (2014)
Annual tonnage: 185 (2001) 6,400 (2014)


4) Education is improving, although women lag behind men
Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.13.26
Image: Changing profile of education in Afghanistan. Saif Samaday, former chairman Independent High Commission for Education Afghanistan
Students per teacher (primary): 32.1 (1998) 43.52 (2011)
Pupils in primary education: 773,623 (2001) 5.29 million (2011)
Pupils in secondary education: 651,453 (2005) 2.21 million (2011)
Literacy rates: 5 per cent female/18 per cent male (2001) 18 per cent female/42 per cent male (2010)


5) Whatever else is happening, the lights are coming back on
shutterstock 62359432-2
Image: Oil trucks wait to enter Afghanistan from Pakistan. Credit Shutterstock/Asianet Pakistan
Electricity consumption: 511.4 million kilowatts (2001) 2.49 billion kilowatts (2010)
Electricity production: 334.8 million kilowatts (2001) 986.1 million kilowatts (2010)
Oil consumption: 3,500 barrels per day (2001) 5,000 barrels per day (2009)


Sources: IMF, UN, Afghanistan Central Statistics Organization, World Bank, Red Cross, OECD

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