Afghanistan surpassed China for about 30 years but eventually became a hotbed of despair | Blog Post

In recent days, Afghanistan, which the Taliban has re-taken over, is like a global darling, constantly appearing in the daily hot news. However, when the world pays attention to this country that is deeply threatened by civil wars, foreign enemies, and even terrorist organizations, will they imagine that Afghanistan was once more prosperous than China, and surpassed China at that time by about 30 years.

“The Last King of Afghanistan” Muhammad Zahirsha came to the throne at the age of 19 in 1933. Under his leadership, Afghanistan vigorously promoted reforms and absorbed Western culture, and even allowed men and women to go to school together. At that time, Afghanistan was very modern and its economic strength was also superior.

“Last King of Afghanistan” Muhammad Zahirsha

As seen in many historical pictures from the 1950s to the 1970s, Afghan women can follow trends, wear skirts, expose their thighs, or even wear a veil. At that time, there was a fashion school in the capital Kabul, which often held fashion shows, which attracted the attention of fashion lovers from all over the world, and made Afghanistan export a lot of sheepskin coats. Afghanistan during this period has the reputation of “Paris of Central Asia.”

In Afghanistan about 50 years ago, women could go to school and could follow trends. Instagram pictures

In Afghanistan about 50 years ago, women could go to school and could follow trends. Instagram pictures

As for economic development, Afghanistan was more prosperous than China for most of the period from 1960 to 1978. In 1978, China’s per capita GDP was about US$180, while that of Afghanistan was about US$260, which was about 1.5 times that of China. It was not until 1987 that China’s per capita GDP reached approximately US$251.

Afghanistan's GDP from 1960 to 1978.Surging news

Afghanistan’s GDP from 1960 to 1981.Surging news

At that time, Afghanistan was at a high level in terms of living index, infrastructure, social welfare facilities, medical care, and even culture; Afghans could listen to Western music, drink, play and enjoy life, but historical pictures did not It is difficult to find the luxury goods on people at that time.

It is worth noting that a considerable part of this kind of life is dependent on the financial assistance of the Soviet Union and the United States, and these two strongest countries during the Cold War have also become Afghanistan’s greatest enemies in the future.

In the 1970s, Zahir Shayu was deposed and declared exile in Italy. In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the Soviet-Afghan War broke out for nine years. After the departure of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan was in a civil war for another 10 years, which gave birth to the period of the Taliban rule. As of 2001, the coalition forces led by the United States launched a war against the Al-Qaeda organization and the Taliban because of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The United States thought it could completely eliminate the Taliban, so it fell into a 20-year war. In the end, it was the same as the Soviet Union. “Imperial Cemetery” tripped.

The Buddha of Bamiyan is only empty.Xinhua News Agency

The Buddha of Bamiyan is only empty.Xinhua News Agency

Because of the war, Afghanistan’s historical sites and places of interest have been destroyed. The two famous giant standing Buddha statues, the Bamiyan Buddha (each 37 meters high and 55 meters high), are the largest standing Buddha statues in the world and are also listed as World Cultural Heritage. Xiakongdong, even Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty has seen it and recorded it in “The Western Regions of the Tang Dynasty”.

In 2018, Afghanistan’s per capita GDP was US$521, while China’s was close to US$10,000, 19 times that of Afghanistan. So how should Afghanistan’s GDP compare? Taking Heilongjiang Province as an example, Afghanistan has a population of 37 million, which is almost the same as Heilongjiang Province; the area is 650,000 square kilometers, which is 1.5 times that of the province. However, Afghanistan’s GDP is only about 20 billion U.S. dollars, which is less than one-tenth of Heilongjiang’s GDP. However, some people believe that the GDP of Afghanistan alone cannot be used to estimate the living standards of the local people, because a considerable part of the GDP is used for security expenses in response to terrorist attacks.

As the saying goes, there is a country where there is a home. Perhaps the tragedy of the century in Afghanistan reflects the importance of the country’s prosperity and the people’s happiness. The Afghan people in the 1960s were really carefree. Both per capita income and urban construction far surpassed China at that time by nearly 30 years. But years of wars have brought almost devastating damage to this country. Today’s Afghan children can only attend classes in open-air classrooms. In just over 50 years, every country has made progress, but Afghanistan has become a hotbed of despair.

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