Saturday, December 13, 2014
The Afghans are conducting a nation-wide census - and that is not a simple process. Many Afghans don't know their age and some just have one name. A census is difficult to conduct in Afghanistan. Some areas are very remote (Hindu Kush Mountains) and much of the countryside is controlled by the Taliban. But culture may be the biggest problem - with the lack of surnames, unknown birth dates, and reluctance of women to talk to census takers. There are hopes that the census will assist the government in the equitable distribution of funds, representation in the parliament, government services, raising of taxes, and reduction of voter fraud. It is believed that the current census will take five years to reach 70% of the population. The current estimate of the Afghan population is somewhere between 35 to 40 million. There are fears that the census will upset the country's delicate ethnic balance. Read more in "For Afghans, Name and Birthdate Census Questions Are Not So Simple", The New York Times, December 10, 2014.