Afghanistan is a multicultural nation. As a result, about thirty languages are spoken and two of them are considered official languages. The first official language is called Dari(also known as Afghan Persian) and is spoken by approximately half of Afghans. It is used for all government and business related purposes, is considered the lingua franca of the country, and is typically taught in schools. Until the mid 20th century, Dari was the only official language of Afghanistan.
In the 20th century, Pashto became the second official language of Afghanistan. The Pashtuns were a group who mainly resided in Afghanistan. Many moved to Pakistan after World War II, but they still are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. In 1933, Mohammed Zahir Shah became king of Afghanistan. He decided that because about a third of Afghans speak Pashto, it should also be considered an official language. A larger percentage of Pashto speakers are literate than Dari speakers, so Pashto is often used to record stories and other literature.
This photo shows script in the Dari alphabet, which similar to the Pashto alphabet. As you can see, Afghans do not use an alphabet similar to the English one.
Most Afghans who do not speak one of the official languages speak a Turkish language. Because there are so many languages spoken in the nation, many people are bilingual. It is helpful for all Afghans to know at least one of the official languages, but nomadic groups and some ethnic groups have been able to form their own communities with their own languages.
Afghanistan is involved in global organizations, and is often a recipient of aid from them. One example is the United Nations. Afghanistan became a member of the UN in 1946, just a year after the organization was formed. The United Nations has a program known as United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which was created in 2002 to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. Whether or not this aid is being put to good use or not is up for debate. The following video gives an idea of how foreign money may be used in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is also a member of the International Monetary Fund as of 1955. The IMF has given millions of dollars to support Afghanistan, and is helping returning refugees. Many Afghan refugees were forced out of Pakistan last year, and do not have adequate resources to live a healthy life in Afghanistan. The IMF is lending Afghanistan $45 million with very low interest to aid refugees. The World Trade Organization allowed Afghanistan to join in 2016. Many nations were reluctant to allow this because they believe that Afghanistan cannot offer much, but there has not been adequate time to prove or disprove this.
The Gini coefficient of Afghanistan is 27.8 (on a scale of 0-100), which implies there is not too much inequality. Aside from the wealth possessed by corrupt government officials, there is not much of a gap between the richest and poorest Afghans. Almost no Afghan commoners have the resources to live a comfortable life, but according to the Italian statistician Corrado Gini, this is not necessarily bad news. His theory is that it is not the counties with the least wealth that are prone to social problems, but countries with the most unequally distributed resources. This implies that if a few Afghans were to become very wealthy, rates of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and violence would increase among the poor.
Much work needs to be done in Afghanistan before it can be a truly independent nation. The UN, WTO, and IMF may have to change their approach on providing aid and government corruption needs to end. But if Afghanistan has one thing working in its favor, it is the lack of extreme wealth inequality among commoners.
To learn more about current affairs and politics, check out this Afghan news paper.