Kandahar

 

Introduction

Kandahar Province is one of the southernmost provinces in Afghanistan. The province borders several provinces along its borders, as well as sharing its eastern border with the state of Pakistan. On its western border is Helmand Province, Uruzgan in the north, and Zabul in the northeast. The capital of the Province is Kandahar City, with a population of around 1.5 million citizens.

Demographics

The most recent official statistics on the demographics of Kandahar Province that could be found were from 2005 and came from the Central Statistics Office of Kandahar with assistance from the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). In those statistics, the demographics present in Kandahar are similar to those found in the rest of Afghanistan. A large percentage of the population is comprised of people 18 and older. The largest group for the males was the 5-9 age group at 88, 788 citizens, constituting 19.08% of the male population. For the females, the 0-4 age group was the largest at 101, 853 citizens, or 22.81% of the female population.

In this census taken, although official language statistics were not taken, they were able to verify that out of the villages that they went to, Pashtu was spoken in 98% of these villages. Some of the other spoken languages include Dari, Balochi, and other unspecified languages.

What isn’t specified in detail are the ethnic groups that comprise Kandahar Province. It can be expected though that Kandahar is similar to the rest of Afghanistan in its ethnic make-up. This means that the majority ethnic group would be the Pashtuns, with the other ethnicities being Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, and Turkmens, among others.

The same also goes for major religions in Afghanistan. When going off of the statistics from the CIA World Factbook for the whole of Afghanistan, the overwhelming majority is Muslim at 99.7%, with about 86% being Sunni and 13% being Shia.

Economy

The economy of Kandahar Province is based mostly off of agricultural products and industrial parks. Specifically, the farmers and landworkers grow apricots, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, and almonds, among numerous other products. They also raise livestock such as sheep, cows, and goats. In regards to the industrial parks, they tend to focus more on utensils, aluminum, oil, and soap, among other products.

Due to the conflict in Afghanistan that has been going on for the past several decades, poppy production, which is used for heroin, is common in the province. Even more common is drug trafficking. In fact, many of the tribes in Kandahar engage in some form of drug trafficking, making the province a popular transit route.

In regards to economics of the province, the average Afghan family makes around $90-$100 in US dollars, which is the equivalent of 4,500 - 5,000 Afghanis (the currency of Afghanistan).

Political Parties

Kandahar’s modern political system and history can said to have started with the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-1989). During the war, Kandahar City was under the control and maintenance of the Afghan government. The situation changed radically however after the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban organization began to rise in power and by 1996, had attained almost full control of all of Afghanistan, including Kandahar Province. What is not known, however, is exactly when the Taliban took control of the province, despite the Taliban having supporters in Kandahar.

Following the US Invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 as a response to the 9/11 attacks, Kandahar adopted a tribal political system. In fact, it had had this system before the Soviet invasion, in which jirgas, or tribal village elders, would essentially rule and control law and order in their respective village and territory. However, with the Taliban’s rise to power, many of those elders were killed or captured and replaced with Taliban commanders, meaning that the province has a political system that is significantly weaker than those also in the Afghan Pashtun community.

Suggested Readings

IDS International. Kandahar Provincial Handbook: A Guide to the People and the Province. (IDS International).

Abdullah Sharif. Kandahar Provincial Handbook. (IDS International).