Geography in Afghanistan

Geography exists throughout our everyday lives, where we live, where we work, what we eat, and what we believe in. It plays an essential role in understanding why, where, or how something exists. For example, an introduction to geography gives the knowledge of understanding how certain landforms were formed, or why certain bodies of water exist. This further leads to how certain weather patterns form, thus creating different types of biomes and substantial agricultural productions. Geographers ask the basic questions that answer much more complex questions.

This leads to the “My Country Profile Assignment,” for which I have been assigned the country of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s radically different seasons, political geography, and its involvement in recent world affairs makes it a great country to geographically analyze. I will spend the next segments of this country profile report describing the basic concepts of Afghanistan’s geography. Plate Tectonics and Diastrophism Plate Tectonics is describes as a large-scale change, especially if you consider the landscape of the earth during its Pangaea phase.

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The shifting of plates over millions of years has sculpted the geography of the earth, as we know it to be today. Plates are forever (slowly) moving and grinding however and it is important to understand how they will affect the future. The vast majority of Afghanistan sits on the Eurasian Plate. The Indian Plate is pushing towards the southeast border of Afghanistan creating a convergent boundary. This phenomenon created the Hindu Kush Mountain range, where Noshak, the highest point of elevation in Afghanistan is.

Because it is a continental convergent boundary it created what is known as the Chaman Fault and many earthquakes are created in this part of Afghanistan because of the fault. This act of nature also created two main volcanoes; the Vakak Volcano and the Dacht-i-Navar Volcano. The Vakak Volcano is a hot spot that is said to have effusive eruption. The last know eruption is unknown but is estimated to have been less than 10,000 years ago. Erosion Certain erosional features have affected Afghanistan’s landscapes. One of which are rock glaciers on the northern side of the Hindu Kush mountains.

These glaciers come in handy when they drained into the basins at the bottom of the mountain because Afghanistan has a problem with its limited fresh water supply. Also, wind erosion affects the Registan Desert. The wind blows and piles up sand in crescent shape piles known as the Registan Dunes. Atmosphere Like all countries and nations, atmosphere and weather patterns have a serious natural influence on agriculture, culture, and many other geographical concepts. Dominant pressure belts and wind belts all affect the geography of Afghanistan.

Siberian High pressure belt and low pressure belt in the south create severe winters with heavy precipitation. Subtropical high pressure belt creates hot dry summers. These atmospheric characteristic creates an atmospheric phenomena drought, which has a big affect on Afghanistan’s limited fresh water supply. I believe that Afghanistan is affected by the Easterly winds, possibly the cause of the Registan Dunes. These winds create the atmospheric phenomena dust storms. Weather The influence of weather on a country is very important. It determines what biomes, agriculture, and wildlife exists in a country.

I believe that convectional rainfall occurs for most of the country. Towards the southeast I believe the Hindu Kush Mountains cause an orographic rainfall. These mountains also protect Afghanistan from the monsoons that come from India. All of these factor and more make Afghanistan a Desert biome. This is because of its hot and dry summers and cold winters. Animal and Plant Life The weather and physical geography have a great deal of influence on which animals and plants live in the country. Plant life in Afghanistan is sparse but diverse.

Common trees in the mountains are evergreens, oaks, poplars, wild hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios. The plains of the north are largely dry, treeless steppes, and those of the southwestern corner are nearly uninhabitable deserts. Common plants in the arid regions include camel thorn, locoweed, spiny restharrow, mimosa, and wormwood, a variety of sagebrush. The wild animals of Afghanistan include more than 100 mammal species, some of which are nearing extinction. The most seriously endangered are the goitered gazelle, leopard, snow leopard, markor goat, and Bactrian deer.

Other wild animals of Afghanistan include Marco Polo sheep, urials, ibex, bears, wolves, foxes, hyenas, jackals, and mongooses. Wild boar, hedgehogs, shrews, hares, mouse hares, bats, and various rodents also occur. Flamingo and other aquatic fowl breed in the lake areas south and east of Ghazni. Ducks and partridges are also common, but all birds are hunted widely and many are becoming uncommon, including the endangered Siberian crane. Population and Independence The atmosphere, weather, plate tectonic features, and diastrophism all attribute to life in Afghanistan; its plants and animals, and its people.

After looking at the basic geographical elements of Afghanistan, you can make assumptions about its population, and its culture. Afghanistan spent some time ruled by the imperialistic nations such as United Kingdom. They gained their independence in 1919. Led by Amanullah they fought their third Anglo-Afghan war with Great Britain and won. Currently Afghanistan has a population of 31,108,077 people. The total surface area of Afghanistan is 251827. 41 square miles, in which the vast majority of is land and not water. This gives Afghanistan an arithmetic density of 123. 53 people per square mile.

The land of Afghanistan can also be broken down into what percentage is arable and farmable. In Afghanistan there is 30093 square miles of arable land, that’s roughly 11. 95%. There is 15,110 square miles of farmable land, that’s around 6% of the total land area. In order to find the physiologic density, one must understand the formula, total population divided by total arable land. This leads us to find out that the physiologic density to be 1033. 73. The same formula is applied to find the agricultural density, except you substitute total arable land for total farmed land.

This equation lets us find out that the agricultural density is 2058. 77. This brings us to the realization that 78. 6% of the people in Afghanistan are engaged in agriculture, a common theme of a stage two country. After understanding the population concepts, one can start to understand the birth rates, death rates, and fertility rates. These rates are important because it can further help us understand the stage a country is in, and how it will continue to develop.

Here provided are the birth, death and fertility rates: * Births per 1,000 population: 39. 3 births/1,000 population (2012 est. * Deaths per 1,000 population: 14. 59 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est. ) * Total fertility rate: 5. 54 children born/woman (2013 est. ) With this provided information, one can determine the rate of natural increase, which is 2. 8%. This growth rate is common in stage two countries. Other countries that are more developed do not have this high rate of natural increase. The more developed countries do however have a high immigration rate, unlike Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a negative immigration rate of -2. 51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est. ).

Some issues that face Afghanistan’s immigration are its recent activities in war have left it battered and beat and it is slowly recovering. Another element that affects its population is its refugee’s unwillingness to return. The refugees’ own meager assets, lack of education and skills, compounded by Afghanistan’s lack of infrastructure to accommodate returnees, have made returning an unattractive option. Culture and Religion There are arrays of ethnic groups in Afghanistan, Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%.

There are two official languages of Afghanistan and they are Dari and Pashto. Although, there are several ethnic groups in Afghanistan there is only one major religion, Islam. There are two main groups of Islamic religion in Afghanistan, Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%. There are many religious conflicts that happen in Afghanistan. The majority of the conflicts involve the radical Sunni Islamist known as Al Qaeda. Founded by Osama Bin Laden, it is a Islamic group whose goal is to carry out global Jihad and strict interpretation of the sharia law.

Known as a terrorist organization by NATO, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Al Qaeda has carried out several attacks on non-Muslims. Nationally, it is a conflict between the Pashtun Taliban and other ethnic groups and warlords, with shifting alliances. Politics As mentioned earlier, Afghanistan was under imperial rule by Great Britain until they gained their independence in 1919. Afghanistan’s government is an Islamic Republic. The country elects a president every five years. The current President of Afghanistan is Hamid Karzai, who was the first democratically elected president in 2004.

Afghanistan was involved in the cold war when the Soviet Union tried to influence Communism on the country which led to the nine year Soviet War in Afghanistan. The United States, United Kingdom, and other countries contributed billions of dollars towards the war. The war resulted in millions of Afghans leaving the country. Eventually the Soviet Union was forced to withdraw from the war. Recently Afghanistan has been at war with the U. S. and other nations. Recently the chaos has calmed down. Diplomats and political leaders are trying to come to a peace agreement with Afghanistan and its Taliban foes.

Although, the effort to moving toward a more peaceful relationship has grown immensely, the Taliban are still committing acts of terror nationwide and threaten to kidnap any foreign visitors. Agriculture Wheat is the most important crop in Afghanistan, followed by barley, corn, and rice. Cotton is another important and widely cultivated crop. Fruit and nuts are among Afghanistan’s most important exports. Afghanistan is noted for its unusually sweet grapes and melons, grown mostly in the southwest, north of the Hindu Kush, and in the fertile regions around Herat.

Raisins are also an important export. Other important fruits are apricots, cherries, figs, mulberries, and pomegranates. Livestock is nearly as important as crops to Afghanistan’s economy. Karakul sheep are raised in large numbers in the north. The tight curly fleece of Karakul lambs is used to make Persian lamb coats. Afghanistan is also a major supplier in the international drug trade. It is the second-largest opium, a plant that is processed chemically to make heroine, producer after Myanmar. Conclusion

The geographical influence on Afghanistan is very obvious whether you are looking at its exterior features, plate features, or population or agricultural features. These geographical concepts over time have interestingly enough influenced each other over time and created agriculture, environment, wildlife, and society. Afghanistan is a prime example of how weather, erosion, and plate boundaries can influence an atmosphere, and thus influence its biomes. Afghanistan is in stage two, and will probably have trouble growing until it solves its political and national issues.