From Poppies to Fentanyl Lollipops

In the 21st century, Afghanistan remains a country of astonishing contradictions. It is one of the most undeveloped, technologically backward countries in the world, despite billions of dollars poured into its economy from foreign governments. The majority of Afghans turn on a radio to get information. In a country where 90 percent of women and 60 percent of men in rural areas are illiterate, radio is a necessity. Communication technologies are concentrated in small, urban areas. A study by the Asia Foundation estimates 88 percent of Afghan’s urban households have TVs while only 28 percent of rural residents do. The digital divide in Afghanistan is a chasm—only 9 percent of the population owns a computer and most of those are in the capital of Kabul. It’s no wonder as computers need electricity. The lack of a national power grid ensures that nine out of ten Afghans have no reliable access to electricity. Diesel generators and kerosene lamps are ubiquitous.


Most Afghans live on less than $2 a day, condemning millions to a premature death. The average life expectancy in Afghanis