The Nastaliq Region

The Country Similarity Index groups the neighboring countries of Iran and Afghanistan into the Nastaliq Region. Pakistan is also grouped into this region, even though it also has many characteristics of South Asia as well. Here are some of the traits most of these countries share:

GEOGRAPHY
Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan are located in Asia between the Arabian plate and the Indian plate. These countries generally have a dry climate. Since the region is very mountainous, they also have a significant amount of area with an alpine climate too. Most of land is barren or desert scrub. In the agricultural lands of the region, wheat is overwhelming the crop of choice. Their cities tend to be densely populated but do not have many skyscrapers. A low percentage of people live near the coast.

Photo by Sohrab Alizadeh

DEMOGRAPHICS
Most people in this region have Caucasian ancestry. Their populations are relatively young and there are few elderly people. All three countries in this region have more men than women. Male employment rates are high, but female employment rates are low there. These countries have a diverse mix of agricultural workers, industrial workers, and service sector workers. However, there is a variety of incomes and education in the region. Iran is the wealthiest and most educated, while Afghanistan is the poorest and least educated.

Photo by Yormahmad Kholov 

CULTURE
The majority of people in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan speak Indo-European languages, unlike Arab countries. However they all use the Nastaliq script, a variety of the Arabic script. Most of the people in these countries are Muslim and religious. All three countries celebrate Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Ashura, and Mawlid. The vast majority of males are circumcised there. Their people also consume little alcohol. Another trait they share is that their suicide rates are quite low. Bread is by far the biggest part of the diet in the region. However, Iranians prefer soccer, while Afghanis and Pakistanis are more interested in cricket.

photo by Syed Bilal Javaid

GOVERNMENT
There is little rule of law in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Censorship of journalists is common. The legal systems in these countries primarily follow Islamic Law, so their laws are quite conservative. Same sex relations are criminalized, while polygamy is legal. Furthermore, prostitution and the possession of pornography are illegal. Abortion is heavily restricted. Gambling is illegal as well. Alcohol is prohibited for Muslims. These countries all still have the death penalty. Healthcare is neither universal nor provided for free there. Taxes are especially low in this region as well.

Photo by Blondinrikard Froberg

Infrastructure
These countries are not the most prosperous in the world, so their infrastructure is not well developed. Iran is the most advanced, while Afghanistan is the least. Still, most people in the region have access to electricity and drinking water. Natural gas and hydropower are two important sources of energy there. The electrical voltage is between 220 and 240 volts and the frequency is 50 hertz. The region has few doctors per capita and its medical infrastructure is not advanced. However, these countries do have a relatively high number of firearms per capita and a higher than usual amount of their people are in the military.

Photo by USAID

The Nastaliq Region‘s Most Representative Country: Afghanistan (68.9 regional average)

Most Similar Region to the Nastaliq Region: Arab Region (3-A)

(Statistics as of 2020)

photo by Shahbaz Aslam

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