Which Countries are Most Similar to Afghanistan?

Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based objective way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/

Similar to Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Iran

Afghanistan has a mix of characteristics of three countries that border it: Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Beyond those countries, it is also similar to other war-torn Muslim countries like Yemen and Sudan, due to their low standard of living.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Afghanistan

  1. Tajikistan is another landlocked and extremely mountainous country bordering Afghanistan. Both countries mostly use hydropower to create electricity. Tajik and Dari are mutually intelligible languages. One big difference is that Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union, so it uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Still, the railroads of both countries use Russian broad gauge tracks.
  2. Pakistan is located just to the south of Afghanistan. Both countries are mostly desert and have high mountains. In addition, both are Muslim and their governments practice Sharia law. However, unlike Afghanistan, Pakistan was a full colony of Britain, so it has more of a British influence. It drives on the left side of the road and has a parliamentary system of government. 
  3. Iran is most similar country linguistically to Afghanistan. Persian and Dari (the lingua franca of Afghanistan) are essentially the same language. They both use the same writing system as well. Its landscape is also quite similar since it is also a mountainous desert country in the same region. However, Afghanistan is much poorer than Iran. In addition, it has more of a Russian influence.
  4. Yemen does not border Afghanistan, unlike the top 3 countries. Like Afghanistan, its infrastructure is not well developed in part due to war. The laws in both these countries are extremely conservative. In addition, both have unstable governments and lots of corruption.
  5. Mauritania is quite far away from Afghanistan, since it is in West Africa. Although both countries have mostly desert climate, Mauritania is less mountainous. Still, Mauritania’s government has very conservative Muslim laws. The countries have a similar standard of living, although Afghanistan is poorer.
  6. Sudan, 7. Iraq, 8. Somalia, 9. Syria, 10. Egypt

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Afghanistan

  1. Canada is much wealthier and its infrastructure is more developed than Afghanistan. In addition, it has a lot of freshwater lakes, in contrast to Afghanistan’s dry landscape. While Canada does have some large mountains in its western portion, Afghanistan is still much more mountainous.
  2. New Zealand is a wet archipelago in the Pacific Ocean far away from Afghanistan. Its infrastructure is very different as well since New Zealand uses Type I plugs, drives on the left, and uses a different rail gauge. In addition, New Zealand’s government is far more liberal. However, both countries are quite mountainous.
  3. Netherlands is a highly developed, densely populated country unlike Afghanistan. Its average elevation is quite low in comparison. Furthermore, its government’s policies are extremely liberal, in contrast to conservative Afghanistan.
  4. Singapore‘s geography is extremely different from Afghanistan, since it is essentially a densely populated city on a tropical island. While there are some Muslims in Singapore, they are less than 20%. Its government is more liberal and has a higher degree of rule of law. Furthermore, Singapore’s population is mostly East Asians, not Caucasians like in Afghanistan.
  5. Iceland is a well developed island in the Atlantic Ocean. Their people and culture are quite different from Afghanistan as well. However, both countries are mountainous and have low population densities.
  6. Norway, 7. Japan, 8. Denmark, 9. Belgium, 10. United Kingdom

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Afghanistan

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.


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