How do war, heroin and religion affect Afghanistan’s population? N To discover the impact of war, heroin and religion on population structure To compare the population structure of the UK with Afghanistan Key terms: Population structure, population pyramid, opium, Shariah Law
Locating Afghanistan Afghanistan is located in the centre of Asia. Population of 29 million It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and the east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in thefar northeast. TASK: Draw a sketch map to locate Afghanistan. Include its capital city, the major rivers and the countries it borders. Include a title, a north arrow.
Heroin for Starters Questions to consider: Why do nearly all of Afghanistan’s farmers grow poppies for heroin? What benefits does this bring to Afghans?
The Opium Poppy The opium poppy is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds come from. Opium is the source of many pain relieving drugs like morphine and codeine, as well as heroin. Raw opium is the ‘latex’ harvested by making small incisions on the poppy seed heads.
Afghanistan: Addicted to Heroin The sad truth is that Afghanistan is a country dependent on heroin. Without it many of the country’s poor village communities would suffer even further poverty, hunger and starvation. But this dependence on farming and the growing of heroin has major impacts on the population of the country. 15% of Afghanistan’s GDP (gross domestic product) comes from heroin. GDP is how much income a country gets every year.
Afghanistan’s Birth Rate Afghanistan’s birth rate is the highest in Asia at 38 births per 1000 people per year. This equates to 6 to 7 babies per woman! But how is this connected to the growing of heroin? Much of the farming in Afghanistan is done without machines (non-mechanised) and requires manual labour. A large family is beneficial! A young Afghan boy incising poppy heads by hand. This is labour-intensive work. Imagine having to make incisions in every one of those poppy heads!
Afghanistan’s Birth Rate On top of the heroin trade, Afghanistan is also a very strict Islamic country. Shariah Law is a form of Islamic law, which has very strict guidelines around how to live. Contraception is forbidden and women are not allowed to work or have careers. Both these factors help to raise birth rate within the country. The controversial Shariah Law does not allow women to show any of their body in public. Many Human Rights groups oppose the law, but the backers of the law say a true reading of it respects the rights of all.
Population Structure Population structure looks at the age and sex of a population and how it is arranged. These are population pyramids. They show the population structure of a country. Population pyramids show how many people are in each age group of the population. You can see that Afghanistan have more young people between the ages of 0-4 and 5-9 than the UK. But the UK has more people aged over 70. Can you think why?
Afghanistan: War, heroin and religion Afghanistan has a high death rate and a low life expectancy. There are very few people over the age of 70. Why? This is because the people in Afghanistan live in poverty. Many do not have access to medical care. Food is scarce and sanitation is poor. The country is also at war. Afghanistan has a very high birth rate. Shown by a wide pyramid base (over 2.4 million males and females aged between 0-4). Why? This is because many Afghans are farmers. They need children to help then work the fields. Also, the chances of a baby dying in childbirth is also very high due to lack of medical care, so couples tend to have more babies. Also law forbids female careers and couples using contraception.
Afghanistan TV report You have a 30 second report to present to rest of the class about the situation in Afghanistan. Include the key points, facts and issues raised in class today.