Contemporary conflicts & challenges part 1

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Conflict is defined as "a state of disagreement or discord between two or more groups of people caused by their actual or perceived opposition of needs, values or interests."

Examples of conflict:

  • Tidal power in River Estuary (R.Severn)
  • Wind farms
  • Three Gorges Dam (China)
  • One Child Policy (China)
  • ANWR
  • Antarctica (French runway, tourism, scientists)
  • Hyde Park conflict between locals
  • Shell affected Ogoni people (Nigeria)
  • Gazprom (Russia & Ukraine)
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Causes/origins, impacts & resolutions

Cause => Impact => Resolution

CAUSES/ORIGINS of conflict: 

a) Identity: This is a set of characteristics which make you who you are – they might include your nationality, language, religion and your culture. Identity conflicts can be caused by nationalism (having a strong identity related to the country you’re from), regionalism (have a strong regional identity) and localism (having a strong local identity)

b) Ethnicity: This is a part of your identity. It can include things you’re born with (nationality, race) as well as characteristics that are passed down from one generation to the next (e.g.language, culture, religion). Your ethnicity does not have to be the same as your nationality. For example people born in the UK have a British nationality but belong to many different ethnic groups (Black Caribbean, Asian etc) Ethnic conflict is a conflict between different ethnic groups.

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c) Culture: Culture relate to how you live your life e.g. food, customs, clothing, traditions, language, art, attitudes, beliefs etc. Culture can be linked to ethnicity (e.g. African culture), religion  (e.g. Jewish culture), where you live (urban and rural culture) etc. Cultural differences can result in conflicts.These three (culture, ethnicity and identity) overlap to create grey areas in the definitions. The key is to recognise how they can lead to conflict. Such conflict is usually related to subsequent differences in opinion based upon:

d) Resources: Conflict can occur when people are competing for the same resources e.g. territory, water, oil etc.

e) Ideology: An ideology is a set of ideas about how society should be. For example, an ideology might include ideas about the form of government, economic system, education system, social welfare system, health care system, justice system and environment. Groups of people with different ideologies can have different ideas which results in conflict.

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IMPACT of conflict

Classification of impacts:

Social (Malnutrition, deaths, disease, child labour, post traumatic stress disorder)

Politicial (Farming doesn't develop, education, health, war-money spent on it)

Economic (Weapons defence)

Environmental (Water shortages, damaged buildings due to war, infrastructure destroyed) 

Demographic (Less children)

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Social impacts

  • Extreme poverty & hunger
  • Harder to get to school, to get to work or to visit family & friends as a result of landmines/ bombing/checkpoints
  • Long lasting impact on the country's population e.g. loss of males killed by fighting
  • People leave or are forced out of their homes and become either an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) or a refugee in a neighbouring country
  • Refugees may be at risk of starvation & death
  • Troops from other countries may be handicapped from fighting or suffer the psychological effects of combat making it difficult for them to carry on with their lives afterwards
  • Inadequate diet & poor health
  • Long term psychological/emotional problems creased by war on the local population
  • Death of peace keeping troops and impact on families
  • Local population may be dependant on emergency aid
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Economic impacts (consequences of conflict)

  • The economy may collapse resulting in unemployment & underemployment
  • The black economy thrives
  • 'Brain Drain' as skilled workers flee the country
  • There may be an International boycott of the country - trade hampered 
  • Financial strain of refugees on neighbouring countries
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Environmental impacts

  • Wildlife habitats such as forests and grasslands destroyed
  • Pollution of rivers and groundwater supplies caused by lack of sanitation in reugee camps
  • Desertification of land caused by overgrazing by a displaced population
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Politicial impacts

  • Unstable goverment
  • Money spent on buying weapons rather than on developing the country
  • Financial costs to countries providing peace-keeping troops 
  • There may be corruption in the goverment
  • Lack of democracy 
  • Lack of tax revenues to spend n the country

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RESOLUTION of conflict

Conflict resolution is the means by which a conflict can be brought to an end. 

Conflict is: incompatibility between peoples ideas, principles and needs.

Common causes/origins:

  • Religion (main cause)
  • Racial/Ethnicity/Culture (E.g. South Sudan)
  • Nationalism,Regionalism (forms of identity) 
  • Resources (E.g. Scottish oil)

Conflicts are likely to increase in the future because oil, fossil fuelds are running out as the population grows. Deforrestation is also leading to indigenous tribes trying to protect it (causes conflict) 

Conflict occurs in poor countries and they also suffer more.

Conflict leads to economic costs when preparing for possible war as they spend money on army, weapons etc. instead of developing the country.

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The Cefn Croes Case Study

In July 2000, The Renewable Development Company submitted a planning proposal to build the UK’s the most powerful onshore wind farm (at 58.5 Megawatt capacity). It would involve building 100m high turbines (39 in total), which would supply enough power to meet the needs of over 40,000 homes. Note: A nearby wind farm has triple the number of turbines but can only produces half the power output in megawatt (MGW) capacity to Cefn Croes!

The wind farm would be located on a moorland plateau (called Plynlimon) in the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales.

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Cefn Croes case study

Suggest why each of the following features of the site would make it an ideal location for a wind farm:

  • Wind farm will be located 600m above sea level on a plateau: more wind (7-8 m/s) average wind speed. Plateau and more wind so exposed site = high wind speed. Flat so easy to build on.
  • The nearest property is 2 miles away, and the nearest village of Devils Bridge is over 6km away: minimum disturbance to residents. Less opposition from NIMBYism. Very few people live near this site (low population density). 
  • The area was unsuccessful in gaining National Park Status in 1970s: No planning restrictions so no scienic area to be protected.
  • Only 9 mile pylons will be needed to connect the wind farm into the National Grid: Short distance so quick to build and is also cheaper to connect to the National Grid.
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Positives and negatives with Cefn Croes

  • 89% of UK's energy mix is from fossil fuels.
  • Wind energy seen as best option to provide bulk of our renewable energy needs as we are the windiest country in Europe so turbines would generate a lot of energy.
  • Wind power is most reliable.
  • Reliance on fossil fuelds is unsustainable as they are non-renewable and resources are depleating. It takes millions of years for fossil fuels to form. Also environmentally unsustainable as they produce co2 - global warming.
  • 2% gas comes from Russia currently, as North Sea gas is said to run out in 30 years we do not want to be reliant on countries such as Russia for gas as they are not trusted (Russia Ukraine crisis - Gazprom 2009) If UK becomes dependent on fossil fuel import our energy security is at risk as countries may cause conflict. 
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Environmentalist perspective on wind farm (+&-)

  • 9 miles of pylons needed, 100 pylons in total. Each pylon will be the height of a 15 storey tower block.
  • Relatively small windfarm so will have less of an impact.
  • Wind farm will result in loss of peat bogs which are a carbon store. Also 10,000 tonnes of co2 will be released during manufacture of concrete.
  • 1,450,000 total co2 savings.
  • 40,000 homes powered.
  • Cefn Croes will be the most powerful wind farm to be built in the UK.
  • The power generated will be nearly double the output of the largest wind farm in Wales, a 103 turbine site.
  • Nearby there's sites of special scientific interest due to need to protect plants.
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Locals perspective (farmers,residents etc) (+&-)

  • Will be a substantial community benefit package of £58,500 every year (a share of the profits from the wind farm) to invest in local regional projects e.g. improving projects, youth clubs etc.
  • Only 4 full time jobs created.
  • Wind generates a continuous whooshing sound as the bladers arwe pushed around by the wind which may have a harmful effect on health with stress and insomnia (difficulty sleeping).
  • Wooden floorboards vibrate and penetrate through blinds.
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National - FOR windfarm

Tony Blair/UK govt:

  • In order to meet target of reducing carbon emissions to increase renewables by 10% by 2010.


  • Clean, renewable technology so there is no co2 emissions.
  • Renewables target can be met.
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Regional level -

Alun Michael (the Welsh assembly): FOR

  • For the windfarm to meet targets.
  • Just unhappy about the fact that Tony Blai got to make the final decision.

Wales Green Party: AGAINST

  • Wales is the capital for wind farms in the UK.
  • There's 272 wind turbines in Wales so mo more should be built.
  • Have to support the locals in order to maintain their position and get support/votes.

Councillor for Ceridigion: FOR

  • Money from wind turbines will benefit the local community (money spent on youth clubs, schools etc.)
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Local level: AGAINST

Local resident:

  • Against wind turbines as will destroy natural scenary also roads have to be built.
  • Lowers price of properties.
  • Tourism will reduce due to Cefn Croes being seen as an industrial area.
  • Red Kite cafe may go out of business.
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The developers-FOR

Renewables Development Company (RDC):

  • 4 million tonnes of co2 emissions could be released by the wind farm and also minimimal visual impact and noise poulltion.
  • Most powerful to be built in UK.
  • 600m above sea level so more wind.
  • Enough energy produced to provide for 40,000 homes.

RDC is an energy company who built the windfarm. Once built, they sold Cefn Croes to Falck Renewables (Italian Subsidiary) who now run the wind farm business selling the electricity to different energy providers.

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Resolving the conflict:market process vs planning

Conflict resolution means by which conflict at a variety of scales can be brought to an end. To resolve conflicts over developments like Cefn Croes wind farm, a planning process is used.

(Look in SG for planning process flow chart)

Therefore, the panning process involves submitting a planning application to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) at the Local Council. The process provides a means by which the Local Council can:

  • listen to any objections from locals/ regional groups/ national groups
  • listen to the organisation responsible for the proposal
  • Consider (economic, social and environmental) arguments for and against the planning application.
  • Make a decision on whether the development can proceed (accept or refuse planning permission)
  • There is a right to appeal or public enquiry
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The Market process

The Market process is a contrasting approach to conflict resolution, but it is not suitable for developments like Cefn Croes. Usually, the market process operates where there is land/ property for sale.It means that: Only the buyer and seller are involved The Highest bidder wins and this takes precedence over any local/ regional or national concerns There is no right of appeal

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+&- of using planning proccess

advantages of planning process:

  • everyone has an opportunity to say if they're for or against this - Demogratic process (regional,national,local)
  • You can appeal - so can be looked at by someone else
  • Less impact on local area
  • Unbiased - decision made by councillors who represent a neutral body
  • Looks at each application case by case
  • Considers economic, social and environmental factors

disadvantages of planning process:

  • lengthy process
  • costly process - involves time of council and developers
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Cefn croes planning process

Look in SG for flowchart (page 20)

The Renewable Development Company was required to make amendments to the planning application in order to placate local people. For example, the height of the most visible turbines were reduced in height from 100m to 80m.

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cefn croes

2. the Cefn Croes planning process differed to the typical planning process in 2 main ways.

Difference 1: RDC had to submit a planning application to the LPA at Ceridigion Country Council AND also the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI): wind farm of National Importance. Only wind farm over 50mW means the govt. is involved. Cefn Croes was 58.5 mW.

Difference 2: Govt. refused to hold a public enquiry (right to appeal) because: believe they spent a lot of time looking at arguments for and against and they think argument for outweighs against, it took 2 years so the decision was well informed.

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outcomes of conflict

As we have already seen various stakeholders are for or against the development of Cefn Croes wind farm. Consequently their view of the outcome (the building of Cefn Croes wind farm) will be influenced according to their own self interest or by how they have been affected by the wind farm now that it has been built. Equally attitudes may change over time, space or even within interest groups.

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outcomes of conflict

a) a WINNER from the wind farm being built:

  • First ministers for Wales (Alun Michael) - can see lots of benefits to local area and also meet targets (10% by 2010)
  • RDC - happy windfarm built as going to get lots of money - providing energy to 40,000 homes
  • Ceridigion councillors - £58,500 to invest in facilities in local area - schools, youth clubs etc.
  • Green party - clean, renewable energy and good for environment
  • BWA - British Wind Energy Association - represent a company thats main purpose is to promote wind energy. 8/10 people for wind farms.
  • Brian Wilson (Energy minister) and Tony Blair (Prime Minister) - can meet national target of 10% renewables by 2010 and 60% cut of co2 by 2050.
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outcomes of conflict

b) a LOSER from the wind farm being built:

  • Local planning officer - ignored and destroyed peat land and destroyed SSS land nearby (which was of scientific interest)
  • Welsh Green Party - was wanting the turbines to be built offshore but it was built onshore. Did support wind turbines just not the location. Want to keep locals happy for their vote.
  • Farmer - impact on scenary
  • Local resident - eyesore and also NIMBY's. Concerned on negative impacts on the local area. Reduced property prices also also flickering effect on landscape and noise, also Red Kite Cafe thought to go out of business.
  • CCCG - upset about decision, local planning officer ignored and no public appeal.
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outcomes of conflict

c) an attitude that has CHANGED OVER TIME i.e. they have changed their mind about the wind farm since it was built:

  • CPRW - Felt eyesore would be greater but now its built and now they don't think that anymore.
  • Locals - eyesore wasn't as bad as they thought.
  • Red Kite Cafe - Tourists still came because can't see wind farm so it's not lost business or had to close down.
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outcomes of conflict

d) the attitudes towards the wind farm CHANGES OVER SPACE? i.e. compared how attitudes vary with distance from the wind farm - national/regional/local:

  • wind being renewable source of energy is good for UK. local groups were against it but some for the wind farm.
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outcomes of conflict

e) the attitudes are different WITHIN interest groups:

  • Ceridigion council - councillors ignored local planning officer - conflict
  • Amongst locals - majority against but farmers aren't as they got compensation for pylons being built on their land.
  • Welsh and UK green party in conflict - UK gp wanted wind farms everyone (off&onshore) but Welsh only wanted them offshore. Welsh took locals opinion into account because different are regional level.
  • Tony Blair who had final decision and not Alun Michael (Welsh Assembly) so not happy - Tony got to decide as biggest decision and energy matters dealt with by West Ministers.
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the geographical impact of international conflict


  • 80% of labour force are agriculture
  • Taliban ruled between 1996-2001. 89% of women had no schooling in 2001 due to Sharia law
  • Mullah Omah was Taliban leader
  • Leader of Al Qaedah was Osama Bin Laden. = Terrorist leader
  • Opium from poppies to make heroin, illegally grown (banned since 2001)
  • Islam is the main religion
  • Al Qaeda responsible for 9/11
  • 90% of worlds opium coming from Afghanistan-illegally imported
  • US led invasion in 2001 removed Taliban from being in charge/power
  • 450 British troops died
  • Stage 2 in DTM. LEDC. BR High, DR high but falling = natural INCREASE
  • Taliban allowed Bin Lader o have terrorist training camps
  • 6.8 FR = high population growth
  • Hamid Karza was president until 2004. It' s now Ashraf Ghani since September 2014
  • Kabul is the capital city
  • Sharia law- inequality for women
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Afghanistan is in Asia continent

Kabul is the capital city

Hindu Kush Mountains covers approx. 60% (2/3) of proportion of the country

6000m Hindu Kush Mountains

Population = 31million (half pop. of UK=63million)

 3 facts which shows Afghanistan is an LEDC in stage 2 of DTM:

42% are 0-14 years old (HIGH BR)

HIGH dependency ratio - YOUTHFUL population (88.4%)

50 years life expectancy - not many elderly. Poor healthcare

28% literacy rate. LOW - Only 28% of 15 year olds can read and write. Less money to spend on education

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Origins of conflict in Afghanistan - Territory

  • Fighting for control of trade or opium smuggling routes through their territory
  • Different factions form within the Mujahedeen and they start fighting against each other for conrol of diferent parts of the country ('warlord' infighting). The country descends into civil war throuhout the 1990s.
  • In 2006, NATO take over the command of the US led coalition forces.
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Identity (incl. ethnicity & culture)

  • Pashtun is the largest ethnic group
  • Religion is largely Muslim
  • 30 different languages spoken in the country
  • Commanders (usually former Mujahedeen fighters) from different ethnic or political groups are fighting for control of trade or opium smuggling routes through their territory
  • Strict Sharia law in the country
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Ideology -these created turbulence/conflict

The King of Afghanistan is overthrown and Afghan communists seize power. They want to try and modernise the country and to allow greater opportunities for women. However, the communist ideology contrast with the traditional Islamic beliefs held by the majority of Afghans

In 1979, The Russians invade Afghanistan in order to support the new communist regime (and so help the spread of communism). The Russian troops meet fierce resistance from The Mujahedeen (Islamic freedom fighters – among them Osama bin Laden). The US is also worried about the spread of communism and so supplies the Mujahedeen with weapons to help them defeat the Russians. One third of the Afghan population flee during the 10 year Russian occupation of the country

35 yrs of conflict in Afghanistan

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Key facts to learn

In 1996 the extreme Taliban regime forcibly takes control of the country. They enforce a strict Islamic (Sharia) law in the country. The Taliban leader also allows terrorist training camps to be run by Osama bin Laden (leader of Al Qaeda)

Al Qaeda carry out the 9/11 twin tower attacks in New York. The Taliban provide refuge to Osama bin Laden and refuse to hand him over to the US. This leads to the US and UK invasion of Afghanistan and their "war on terror". Osama bin Laden escapes but the Taliban regime are removed from power in 2001

^ lead to current conflict. A conflict over ideology.

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current conflict is international scale

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) troops now occupy Afghanistan

Over 40 countries provide these troops, but mainly UK and US

NATO's primary aim in Afghanistan is to provide security and ensure that the country can never again be a safe haven for terrorists

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current conflict violent in nature due to taliban

  • taliban are drawn from the largest ethnic group in afghanistan-the pashtun
  • they are insurgents because since 2001 they have engaged in a guerrilla war order to try and overthrow the govt.
  • they also target violence at ethnic minority groups in afghanistan, as well as the NATO forces
  • the guerrilla war has involved terrorist attacks, suicide bombers ad improvised explosive devices (IEDs)-homemade landmines and roadside bombs.
  • the profits from illegal opium smuggling out of the country has enabled the taliban to arm themselves with weapons.
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Key terms

Insurgency: an organised rebellion aimed at overthrowing the current govt. Currently fighting a guerrilla war against Afghan govt. (Hamid Karzai), Pakistan and NATO.

Taliban: "Students of Islamic knowledge" Viewed by West as traditional Islamist terrorist group. Extreme Islamic group. Formed govt. from 1996-2001(were not elected)

Mujahedeen: Islamic freedom fighters. Caused country to decent into civil war. One who strive or struggles on behalf of Islam.

Warlords: In many aeas of Aghanistan it's warlords (former Mujahedeens) who today rule-not the central govt. or the taliban. 

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The geographical impact of conflict in Afghanistan

A) Impact of the taliban

The taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001 and managed to control over 90% of the country's territory. The Taliban sought to impose Sharia law and population faced massive freedom restrictions and human right violations. 

Position of women today since removal of taliban:

  • Allowed to return to work
  • No longer have to wear all covering burqa 
  • Appointed to prominent positions in the govt.


  • Repression of women is still prevalent in rural areas where families still restrict their own mums, daughters,wives,sisters from participation in public life.
  • Forced marriage still and also denied basic education.
  • Little girls poisoned to death for wanting to go school and girls schools burned down.
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A)impact of taliban-social

  • Killing everyone
  • No singing or dancing
  • Wear islamic clohing, burqa for women & shalwar kameez for men
  • Men have to grow beards
  • Boys have to wear turbans
  • Pets not allowed 
  • Book shops closed down
  • Universities closed down
  • Cinema closed down
  • Not allowed to fly kites

on women:

  • Have to stay home and do nothing-if go out has to be with male relative as an escort
  • Have to wear burqa all the time
  • Girls forbidden from attending school
  • Can't laugh in public or would be beaten
  • Can't work 
  • Can't make eye contact with men and don't speak unless spoken to
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impact of taliban-economic

Book shops closed down 

Uni's closed down

Cinema shut down

Restaurant closed down and turned into interrogation centre

Museum looted by Mujahedeen

Mujahedeen rich off heroin/opium 

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B) impact of the afghan war

Refugee: people seeking a place to stay in another country as a result of natural disaster, persecution, war etc. Often escaping danger or violence because of their religion, ethnicity, nationality or belonging to a particular political or social group. Often women and children.

IDP (Internally Displaced Persons): forced to flee their homes but remain in their country. They have the right to seek asylum, protection etc.

Some problems refugees face:

  • Restriction from govt.
  • Unable to work
  • Dependant on aid
  • Unable to go back to country
  • Big refugee camps destroy environment
  • Poor living conditions
  • Burden on environment - cut trees down and use resources in the area
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Social issues refugees face in refugee camps

  • Exploded shell debris - danger to people, animals and children. Shells have contaminated the ground with depleated Uranium. Increases IMR. If stand on them could blow up.
  • Clean drinking water- not clean (cholera, diarrhoea  etc) the water is not clean, live close together so the illness spreads quickly.
  • UNHCR (United Nations Host Commisions For Refugees) - UN refugee agency who provide medical care but it's insufficient.
  • Poor sanitation.
  • No toilets, but may have pit larrines (holes in ground) but insufficient. If not enough holes, people poo anywhere so piles of poo = attract mosquitos = malaria.
  • No waste disposal- piles of rotting rubbish-may attract vermin and may pass on disease.
  • Very little protection from cild in winter, just have canvas tents - could lead to hypothermia.
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Environmental issues refugees face in camps

  • Exploded shell debris- depleated uranium through hydrological cycle processes can contaminate ground water, river water and also affect food chains and crops.
  • Contamination of water due to there being no toilets
  • Forests cut down
  • Human waste infiltrates into the soil and percolates into permeable rock - leads to polluted ground water supplies (also social-have to drink this-disease)
  • River water reached via throughflow and groundwater flow -> contaminated, used for cooking, washing and drinking
  • Cut down wood from forests to build houses and use for huts for livestock. Cutting trees leads to DESERTIFICATION and soil erosion-less trees=less interception=more surface runoff which removess the loose soil, it's loose as tree roots hold it together 
  • Start hunting endangered species (like snow leopards)
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problems of returning home (repatriation)

Issues faced when refugees return home after Taliban were ousted in 2002:

  • Since 2002 over 5 million refugees have returned home and this has increased pop. of Afghanistan by 20% -> resources may not be enough (SOCIAL)
  • No job- difficulty feeding family. Govt. unable to support them (SOCIAL/ECONOMIC)
  • No land or house (SOCIAL)
  • Only earn $2-3 a day as a labourer (ECONOMIC)
  • No shelter and no wood for fire (SOCIAL)
  • Live on the edge-border of Pakistan (shanti towns) (SOCIAL)
  • No school, toilets or any running water in squatter settlements (SOCIAL)
  • 50% live in extreme poverty (ECONOMIC)
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Wider impacts for Afghanistan of the refugee crisi

The Refugee crisis in Afghanistan has had many negative consequences on the country. These include:-

Loss of human resources e.g. labour, enterprise, skills. (ECONOMIC/SOCIAL)

  • Brain drain - there has been a large scale emigration of Afghan who are the most educated and skilled due to conflict (ECONOMIC)
  • There is a shortage of skilled professionals in the public sector. (ECONOMIC/SOCIAL)
  • Few are returning home (repatriation) due to:-

o Taliban insurgency

o Lack of jobs & low wages in Afghanistan (ECONOMIC)

o Low quality of life - Kabul lacks a steady supply of electricity and clean water (SOCIAL)

 Corruption (SOCIAL) 

Food shortages are widespread so food prices are very high - hunger and malnourishment is widespread (SOCIAL/ECONOMIC)

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communities+regions drawn into a vicious circle of

the splitting up of communities and families 

Communication between any refugee camps is almost non existant (SOCIAL)

Returning refugees have nothing to return to so the lucky ones end up in refugee camps inside Afghanistan dependent on aid (SOCIAL)

Often IDP's have no links to former friends or relatives (SOCIAL)

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Consequences of afghan refugees on host countries

Throughout the 1990s, Afghans were also the most common asylum seekers in Western Europe. Host countries are those like Pakistan, Iran, the UK etc who have taken in refugees either formally (giving them asylum) or because it was impossible to stop them (especially Pakistan).

  • "We need billions of rupees of funds both for the rehabilitation work and maintenance of these refugees” Sajid Hussain Chattha, Pakistan secretary for states and frontier regions (social/economic)
  • “EU countries have been rejecting asylum claims with little consideration for the individual case. Such was the problem that in late-2002 the European Council issued an advisory paper on how EU countries should deal with Afghan applications” (Economic)
  • “In August 2002, the UK Government took matters into their own hands by offering cash payments of £600 to Afghan asylum seekers in the UK, if they returned home. For whole families, the payment was up to £2500.” (economic)
  • Police have warned they will not tolerate "revenge attacks" on Afghans or Muslims living in the UK. “Racist abuse or harassment could potentially lead to disorder which wouldn't help anyone” Sir John Stevens, Metropolitan Police (social)
  • Some universities have stepped up security as well as taking precautions to protect Muslim students after the increase in racial attacks. (social)
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Consequences of afghan refugees for host countries

For 40 Afghan refugees, an incredible journey escaping persecution has brought them to an orchard near the town of Shepparton in northern Victoria, Australia. They have found willing employers: “It is as much about economics as it is about compassion. Parts of regional Australia are suffering a severe shortage of casual labour”. (social)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate there are between 1.5 and 2 million in Iran. Iran has grown increasingly alarmed at the growing number of Afghan refugees, and at the health and security problems they pose. The refugees are dependent on the Iranians for their weekly ration of food (rice, peas, sugar, tea, meat, potatoes), which seems fairly generous. (economic)

“Half the refugees arriving suffer from malaria, and tuberrculosis is common. Dysentery is endemic in summer, and bronchitis, pneumonia and measles in winter. There are skin diseases and syphilis. Some of these diseases had virtually disappeared from Iran. Their reintroduction has cost the Tehran government a good deal: $120 million in combating malaria alone, and $20million to import insecticides. (social/economic)

(Look page 44 in S/G for environmental impacts)

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D)other impacts of conflict(growth of drug trade e

One obvious impact of the last 15 years has been the number of deaths in the country.An estimated 3 million people have died as a direct result of the wars since 1986, many more have died of secondary impacts such as disease, poor health care, poor sanitation etc. These figures are supported by its life expectancy of 44.

The heroin trade and corruption

The Drugs trade has become a major problem for Afghanistan and has spilled into many other countries around the world. It has led to widespread corruption at all levels of society. 90% of world's opium comes from Afghanistan.

impacts trade is having:

  • govt. officials corruption-still poor. police is also involved
  • corruption in kabul
  • status of women improved
  • govt. officials carrying out violence on local people
  • cars take opium to border (black tinted windows)
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the resolutions of the conflict in afghanistan


  • Taliban are still a potent force-they are active in many parts of Afghanistan and even control a few districts in South and East, incl. Helmand province where British troops have been based
  • Civilian casulties from armed conflicts remain high, with united nations reporting that more than 2700 civilians have been killed and nearly 5000 injured
  • The high cost of maintaining the Afghan security forces is another major challenge - 1 estimated to reach about $5 billion dollars
  • A number of western countries incl. UK and US and Germany have signed strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan, commiting themselves to training Afghan forces after 2014
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  • Drug production has increased in many areas since US invasion in 2001
  • Produces 90% of worlds opium
  • Opium growing has reached a record level with more than 200,000 hectares under cultivation
  • Drug economy is funding the insurgency and taliban receive approx. $100million anually from traxing poppy farmers and drug traders


  • The institutions destroyed in 2 decades of war that preceded the US invasion
  • Process of institution building has had success + the country has functional institutions in Kabul

Human rights

  • Women can now work and members of the National Assembly
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  • has recieved tens of billions of $'s in aid over past 12 yrs
  • 1000's of new roads built, and health sector improved with clinics built even in remote places. 
  • new schools built
  • developed country slowly 
  • have mobiles and internet
  • mobile telecommunications sector is a major driver of economy-largest taxpayer and biggest non-govt. employer and from subsidence agriculture.
  • dependent on aid and drug income
  • some areas still have no schools-one of the poorest countries
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Peace process

  • Afghan govt. and international backers started a peace process in 2010
  • Main partners in peace process are the afghan govt. + its high peace council, us and taliban 
  • but they don't agree to T&C of talking to each other
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