Welcome to the first episode of Geography Now!
We’re going to the list of
all the internationally recognized sovereign nations of the world,
and we are going to do it alphabetically,
which means our first episode is gonna be on
♫ It’s time to learn geography! ♫
That’s the intro song. I hope you liked it.
I worked really hard recording it with my friend Bill.
So today is gonna be Afghanistan.
I’m actually really glad we’re getting this country covered,
because it’s a very complex and deep country,
and we can’t cover all of it in 10 minutes,
so I’m going to try to do my best.
Before we get into anything though, let’s dissect the flag.
阿富汗国旗是一面由红 黑 绿组成的三色旗
The Afghani flag is a tricolor band of three different colors: red, black and green.
The red representing the blood of those who fought for Afghanistan,
the black representing the obscure and difficult past that they’ve had,
绿色代表希望 未来 以及其国教伊斯兰教
and the green representing hope and a future and Islam as it is the state religion.
In the middle of the flag is the Afghani emblem.
Now this is where things get a little difficult, so bear with me.
On the emblem is a mosque
with two little miniature Afghani flags on the side,
which by the way makes Afghanistan one of the only two countries in the world
that has a flag with miniature versions of its own flag, on its own flag.
On the side are sheaves of wheat,
on the top is the Shahada, or the Muslim Creed,
on the bottom is the name of Afghanistan written in Arabic,
and on top of that is the Arabic year of 1298 written in Arabic numerals,
which also, in the standard Gregorian calendar is 1919,
which was the year that
Afghanistan was relinquished fromits British protectorate status.
and became an internationally recognized sovereign nation
known as Afghanistan.
In terms of its political geography,
Afghanistan is located in the central Asian region,
surrounded by six other countries,technically seven.
If you consider the Jammu Kashmir region part of India,
but Pakistan will tell you it totally is NOT,
but we’ll discuss that in another video.
Now when you look at the shape of Afghanistan,
it just kind of looks like a big amorphous blob,
in the middle of nowhere.
but then when you look at the northeast you start to see
this long narrow stretch of land
that kind of reaches out into the Hindu Kush mountain range.
You might ask yourself: Why doesAfghanistan have that long panhandle?
And the reason why is kind of technically because, England and Russia.
See back in the 1800s,
the British and the Russians were competing against each other,
to see who could amass the largest global empire.
in terms of colonization and influence.
Russia took over what are now known as many of the Central Asian countries
像哈萨克斯坦 塔吉克斯坦 乌兹别克斯坦
as Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
While the British took over many of the South Asian regions,
像印度 孟加拉 巴基斯坦
such as India,Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Now，when it came to Afghanistan,
things were a little difficult because
the Afghani people really did not want to be taken over,
It was also really crucial point on the map,
because essentially it was the area where
the British and the Russian empires got really close to each other.
Eventually the British kind of took over at the end of 19’s century,
much to the reluctance of the Afghans.
However, they still have to distinguish
the borders between Afghanistan and the rest of the other nations in the empire.
When it came to Pakistan, or back then British India.
the British decided to use the Durand Line,
and when it came to the Russian empire,
they decided to use the Panj and Palmir rivers.
Now the thing is when both the empires drew these lines,
they technically didn’t touch each other in the northeast,
and left a huge long narrow buffer zone,
which is now today known as the Wakhan Corridor.
By default, it was given to Afghanistan.
and to this day the Wakhan Corridor plays a very crucial role in Afghanistan’s geography,
because for a very, very small twenty or so mile
border at the very end of the Wakhan Corridor
is a border with China.
Now, I know twenty miles doesn’t really sound like much,
but in the world of geopolitical analytics
that can be a very important thing!
When it comes to physical geography,
Afghanistan has a large vast array of different kinds of landscapes.
However, the large portion of the country is actually mountainous,
with the Hindu Kush mountain range dominating the
northeast regions and the central regions of the country.
In fact, the snow from these mountains
accounts for the vast majority of the complex, immense river systems that flow throughout Afghanistan.
allowing their country to have lush, green valleys
where most of their agricultural sector can be found.
Now, despite all the rivers and water reservoirs.
Afghanistan still remains a relatively dry nation.
实际上 你越靠近南方 接近坎大哈地区
In fact, the further south you go, closer to the Kandahar region,
almost immediately after you pass the Dori river,
you hit the Sistan basin.
Which is basically what geologists speculate
may have actually been a large body of water at some point.
but is now a dry, desolate desert wasteland.
Nonetheless, with the arable land that it does have,
Afghanistan is still able to produce some of the world’s best produce,
包括石榴 杏仁 杏子 以及罂粟
including pomegranates, almonds, apricots …and poppy.
That’s right, for the past few hundred years,
Afghanistan has been a leading nation in opium production.
In terms of its demographics, Afghanistan has just about 31 million people,
or roughly a little bit smaller than the size of Canada.
A slight majority of these people identify as ethnically Pashtun
or people from the Pashtun tribe.
They speak the Pashtun language, known as Pashto.
这里还有一些其它少数民族人口像乌兹别克人 塔吉克人 哈扎拉人
Now, there are some other ethnic minorities like: Uzbeks and Tajiks and Hazaras.
However, the interesting thing is that the majority of the people
about 85% including the Pashtuns speak Dari.
Dari is actually a dialect of the Persian language, Farsi.
So that means someone who speaks Dari
can actually interchangeably travel between Afghanistan and Iran.
without really having any trouble being understood.
Interesting side note, there is one last living Jew
living in all of Afghanistan.
我可以很负责任的说真的有 他叫做Zablon Simintov
I’m not even joking his name is Zablon Simintov.
he lives in Kabul.
He used to own a restaurant,
and he maintains the last synagogue in all of Afghanistan.
The locals there know him just as”that one Jew guy”
and they’re cool with him. They’re just like”Hey Zablone”
Which brings us to our final segment, the friend zone.
The Friend Zone
Afghanistan has a very interesting way in how it interacts with other countries.
Now, because of the whole language thing, Afghans and Iranians have
typically kind of had somewhat of a cultural similarity and resonance with each other.
However, they also have had some controversy.
Now, Pakistan and India are the biggest business partners of Afghanistan.
However again, there’s some drama there as well.
Now when it comes to their best friend
Afghanistan considers Turkey their best friend.
They’ve cooperated with each other peacefully for over a hundred years,
and there’s an old Afghani saying:
“No Afghani was ever killed by a Turkish bullet
and no Afghani trained by a Turk ever betrayed his country.”
So in conclusion, I guess this is the last segment, never mind.
Putting aside all the modern day controversies,
Afghanistan is actually a very beautiful country.
with a very rich and vibrant yet often hidden
cultural and historical past that very often goes overlooked.
And that’s our objective here at Geography Now.
We want to shine light on the obscure,
and put on display the often neglected
yet fascinating attributes of every region of the world,
We hope we did you justice.
Stay tuned, Albania is coming next!