Imposed fear and horror by Afghan Local Police (ALP) Arbaki don’t allow people to speak about their problems in Northern Province of Konduz.
Most of the province’s residents who want to talk about their problems to medias prefer not be named and they speak in condition of anonymity.

Residents in Konduz province are worried about existence of Local tribal Militias, called Arbaki and ask the afghan government to disarm such militias as soon as possible.
A dweller in Arabha Village of Chardara district in condition of anoynitmity said:” Arbaki have doubled our problems”
“Afghan Local Police or Arbaki sometimes force people of the province to pay them, their harvests’ Zakat/tenth and Arbaki get involved in people’s transaction including selling and buying of houses, Land, commodities and animals” he added.

In addition, a woman who declined to be named said:” we will not tolerate oppressions anymore, Arbaki damage our secure life, everyday they enter our houses asking money and food and they threaten us if we refuse to provide them with food and money.

“These people” Arbaki” are not here to help us, instead they loot us. Why the president doesn’t give an ear to the people of Chardara” said the women nervously.

Nearly 5000 students including girls and boys go to 40 schools located in Chardara district, but the students’ families are deeply worried about being of Local Police (Arbaki) in the district saying existence and operating of armed individuals apart from afghan national police and afghan national army were worrying them.

However, Habibullah a local police commander in northern Konduz rejected all assertions as baseless.
“All these assertions are made as propaganda by those who have private enmity with commanders of Local police” he told Suboot News Agency.

“People who make these kinds of claims want to defame Arbaki” he added
“Every day armed clashes take place in the valley, usually the armed clashes occur among the Arbaki so that people suffer damages from such clashes” said one of Aqtaash valley.
Most of the valley’s dwellers who neither want their sounds nor their pictures to be provided by Suboot News Agency’s correspondent said that the areas where afghan national police and afghan national army forces are stationed can be more secure in comparison to the areas where Arbaki are operating.

Suboot News Agency’s correspondent conducted a Survey saying Arbaki have presence in Aliabad, Qala-e Zaal, Imamsahib, Dasht-e Archi, Chardara and Khanabad districts of Northern Province of Konduz. According to the Agency’s survey, people in these districts are dissatisfied with activities of Arbaki; however residents of Khanabad and Chardara districts were wronged more than other residents in the districts where Arbaki exist.

Chardara district Chief Hajji Abdul Momin Omar Khil confirmed that Arbaki have been involved in disorders in the district saying:” we knew about the issue and that is why we have sent a report indicating that no Arbaki are needed in Chardara district. in addition people complain about them”.

Meantime, Chardara police Chief Col.Gholam Moheeudin stated:” based on people’s complains, we have launched operations to disarm illegal armed individuals”
“During the operations we have arrested a commander along with his associates who were in charge of Arabha village of Chardara district”.

Prior to this, in a press conference, Konduz provincial police chief called Arbaki as effect associates who played a good role in ensuring security along with afghan security forces in the province.
Also Head of provincial council, Mahboobullah Mahboob appreciated activities of Arbaki in the province calling them as


Unawareness about Arbaki

Nearly three months ago, afghan president Hamid Karzai expressed his unawareness about activities of armed individuals under title of Arbaki, he added that they did know Arbaki and they are not formed in the framework of afghan government.
Interior minister, Bismillah Mohammadi also rejected an existence of Arbaki, adding they would create Local Police in framework of interior ministry and as many as 3000 Local police forces would be considered for northern Konduz province.
“ to implement a new security program, we will have Local Police force” interior minister Mr. Mohammadi emphasized, in a gathering with tribal elders, provincial officials and commanders of international troops in northern province of Konduz, he said:” according to the accepted structure, we will have only 1300 Local police force in Konduz province”
According to him the rest of armed individuals are illegal in the province.

While attending a condolence ceremony of late Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, 1st vice president Marshal Mohammad Qaseem Faheem warned of all illegal armed individuals to quite people’s torment and persecution otherwise they would be treated based on law even faced with a military treatment.
1st vice president met the governors and tribal elders of northern Konduz, north eastern provinces. He would take firm actions for betterment of security in north of the country, he promised.


Red Telescope




     



Women



Itinerary

Badakhshan
 
Badakhshan
is an historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan.
The name is retained in Badakhshan Province which is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the far northeast of Afghanistan, and contains the Wakhan Corridor. Much of historic Badakhshan lies within Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province located in the in south-eastern part of the country.The music of Badakhshan is an important part of the region's cultural heritage.
People
Badakhshan has a diverse ethno-linguistic and religious  community. Tajiks are the majority while a minority of Uzbeks and Kyrgyzs also live there. There are also groups of speakers of several Pamir languages of the Eastern Iranian language group During the 20th century within Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan the speakers of Pamir languages formed their own separate ethnic identity as Pamiris. The Pamiri people were not officially recognized as a separate ethnic group in Tajikistan, but in Tajikistan Pamiri movements and associations have been formed. The main religions of Badakhshan are Ismaili Islam and Sunni Islam. The people of this province have a rich cultural heritage and they have preserved unique ancient forms of music, poetry and dance.
Vocal music
Badakhshani music has a characteristic throaty, nasal sound which is a distinguishing characteristic of the area's vocal style. The madah is a kind of sung religious poetry, accompanied by rubabs and/or tanbyr with at least one daf.
 
Early history
Badakhshan was an important trading center during antiquity. Lapis lazuli was traded exclusively from there as early  as the second half of the 4th millennium BC. Badakhshan was an important region when the Silk Road passed through. Its significance is its geo-economic role in trades of silk and ancient commodities transactions between the East and West.
According to Marco Polo, Badashan/ Badakshan was a province where Balas rubies could be found under the mountain "Syghinan" (Shighnan).
Medieval history
Sultan Muhammad of Badakhshan was the last of a series of kings who traced their descent to Alexander the Great. He was killed by Abu Sa'id Mirza the ruler of Timurid Empire and took possession of Badakhshan, which after his death fell to his son, Sultan Mahmud, who had three sons, Baysinghar Mirza, Ali Mirza and Khan Mirza. When Mahmud died, Amir Khusroe Khan, one of his nobles, blinded Baysinghar Mirza, killed the second prince, and ruled as usurper. He submitted to Mughal Emperor Babur in 1504 CE. When Babur took Kandahar in 1506 CE, from Shah Beg Arghun, he sent Khan Mirza as governor to Badakhshan. A son was born to Khan Mirza by the name of Mirza Sulaiman in 1514 CE.
After the death of Khan Mirza, Badakhshan was governed for Babur by Prince Humayun, Sultan Awais Gabari (Mirza Sulaiman's father-in-law), Prince Hindal, and lastly, by Mirza Sulaiman, who held Badakhshan till October 8, 1541, when he had to surrender himself and his son, Mirza Ibrahim, to Prince Kamran Mirza. They were released by Emperor Humayun in 1545, and took again possession of Badakhshan. When Humayun had taken Kabul, he made war upon and defeated Mirza Sulaiman who once in possession of his country, had refused to submit; but when the return of Prince Kamran Mirza from Sindh obliged Emperor Humayun to go to Kabul, he reinstated Mirza Sulaiman, who held Badakhshan till 1575. Bent on making conquests, he invaded Balkh in 1560, but had to return. His son, Mirza Ibrahim, was killed in battle.
When Akbar became Mughal Emperor, his stepbrother Mirza Muhammad Hakim's mother had been killed by Shah Abul Ma'ali. Mirza Sulaiman went to Kabul, and had Abul Ma'ali hanged; he then had his own daughter married to Mirza Muhammad Hakim, and appointed Umed Ali, a Badakhshan noble, as Mirza Muhammad Hakim's agent in 1563. But Mirza Muhammad Hakim did not go on well with Mirza Sulaiman, who returned next year to Kabul with hostile intentions; but Mirza Muhammad Hakim fled and asked Akbar for assistance, so that Mirza Sulaiman, though he had taken Jalalabad, had to return to Badakhshan. He returned to Kabul in 1566, when Akbar's troops had left that country, but retreated on being promised tribute.
Mirza Sulaiman's wife was Khurram Begum, of the Kipchak tribe. She was clever and had her husband so much in her power, that he did nothing without her advice. Her enemy was Muhtarim Khanum, the widow of Prince Kamran Mirza. Mirza Sulaiman wanted to marry her; but Khurram Begum got her married, against her will, to Mirza Ibrahim, by whom she had a son, Mirza Shahrukh. When Mirza Ibrahim fell in the war with Balkh, Khurram Begum wanted to send the Khanum to her father, Shah Muhammad of Kashgar; but she refused to go. As soon as Shahrukh had grown up, his mother and some Badakhshi nobles excited him to rebel against his grandfather Mirza Sulaiman. This he did, alternately rebelling and again making peace. Khurram Begum then died. Shahrukh took away those parts of Badakhshan which his father had held, and found so many adherents, that Mirza Sulaiman, pretending to go on a pilgrimage to Makkah, left Badakhshan for Kabul, and crossing the Indus went to India in 1575 CE. Khan Jahan, governor of the Punjab, received orders from Emperor Akbar to invade Badakhshan, but was suddenly ordered to go to Bengal instead, as Mun'im Khan had died and Mirza Sulaiman did not care for the governorship of Bengal, which Akbar had offered him.
Mirza Sulaiman then went to Ismail II of Safavid Iran. When the death of that monarch deprived him of the assistance which he had just received, he went to Muzaffar Husain Mirza at Kandahar, and then to Mirza Muhammad Hakim at Kabul. Not succeeding in raising disturbances in Kabul, he made for the frontier of Badakhshan, and luckily finding some adherents, he managed to get from his grandson the territory between Taiqan and the Hindu Kush. Soon after Muhtarim Khanum died. Being again pressed by Shahrukh, Mirza Sulaiman applied for help to Abdullah Khan Uzbek, king of Turan, who had long wished to annex Badakhshan. He invaded and took the country in 1584; Shahrukh fled to the Mughal Empire, and Mirza Sulaiman to Kabul. As he could not recover Badakhshan for himself, and rendered destitute by the death of Mirza Muhammad Hakim, he followed the example of his grandson, and repaired to the court of Akbar who made him a Commander of six thousand. He lived out his life at Akbar's court in Lahore where he died in 1589 CE.
Modern history
The old capital of Badakhshan was located in Kishim District. In the 18th century the capital of Badakhshan was the town of Khamchan, located three miles west of Faizabad and situated on both sides of the Kokcha River. After the conquest of Badakhshan by Ahmad Shah Durrani in the later half of the 18th century, the capital was relocated to Faizabad, then known as Jauzun. In the 19th century the capital was moved to Jurm, until if finally was relocated back to Fayzabad, Badakhshan.
In 1750, Mir Sultan Shah ruler of Badakhshan rebelled against Khizri Beg, Governor of Balkh. After consulting Ahmad Shah Durrani, Khizri Beg marched against Sultan Shah and the Wazir Shah Wali aided the invading column. The pickets of Badakhshan, Chief of Talakan, fled from their postal approach of enemy and men of Badakhshan disgusted with their Chief because of his partiality to Kalmak and Kashghar foreigners waited on Wazir Shah Wali and hailed him as deliverer. Sultan Shah finding resistance hopeless fled to Ailu Basit in hills between Chiab and Pasakoh. The Wazir Shah Wali returned with force to Kabul leaving his country in charge of Afghan Governor. Sultan Shah returned slew the Governor and regained his country He was attacked by another rival Turrah Baz Khan who supported by Khizri Beg advanced on Faizabad and besieged it. Sultan Shah was taken prisoner. Kunduz Chief was unwilling to lose opportunity seized Turrah Baz Khan and sent both captives to Kunduz and annexed Badakhshan.
In 1751 Sultan Shah was restored to liberty and his country. He punished marauders of Saki tribe who had desolated Chiab, Takhta Band, Khalpan in Badakhshan. He slew a large portion and 700 horses were taken Place was marked by 200 heads of raiders on Kotal of Khoja Jarghatu and Saki gave no more trouble during Sultan Shah's lifetime This Chief built a fortress at Mashad in which he settled 600 families He made a rest house for travelers at Daryun. In 1756 he made the Chinese recognize Akskal of Badakhshan at Alti in East Turkistan and levied taxes from Badakhshan families in city.
In 1759 another enemy appeared led by Kabad Khan the Kataghans attacked Fayzabad; Badakhshan took and put to death Sultan Shah and Turrah Baz Khan. Mir Muhammad Shah son of Sultan Shah escaped and retired to Tang i Nau from whence later he attacked Faizabad, put to death his youngest brother Nasarullah Khan Chief of that place under Government of Kabul, and took the Kingdom. His father's old enemy Kabad Khan whom patronage of Timur Shah Durrani (successor of Ahmad Shah Durrani) had elevated to Chiefship of Kunduz sent a force against Muhammad Shah under Kubadcha they wintered at Sangi Mohr and were joined by Kabad Khan in person. Muhammad Shah submitted and was at Kunduz detained 2 years. After that fortune turned against Kabad Khan. Throwing off his allegiance to Kabul when Timur Shah Durrani was marching against Sindh and Kashmir, Mizrab Bi grandson of Muhammad Bi (old Chief of Kunduz) uniting with Chief of Kubab attacked Kabad Khan, seized him and gave him to Mir Muhammad Shah who put him to death to avenge his father Mir Muhammad Shah returned to Badakhshan to find throne occupied by Bahadur Shah son of a former Chief who had taken Faizabad during captivity of Mir Muhammad Shah in Kunduz. Bahadur Shah was deposed and rightful owner recovered the throne Fortune frowned again on Mir Muhammad Shah. Bahadur Shah obtained aid of Chief of Shighnan and took Fayzabad, Badakhshan. Mir Muhammad Shah fled to Chiab. In 2 years, Bahadur Shah was put to death by agent of Shighnan Chief named Bahadur who took throne. Muhammad Shah repeatedly attempted to expel him. But aid was refused him by Shighnan Chief and Kurghan Tappa. He regained throne on assassination of Bahadur by his servant. Late usurper's Ministers were all killed. Immediately Mir Muhammad Shah was engaged in hostilities with Jalal ud din Chief of Shighnan who rebelled and held out in fort till Mir Muhammad Shah invested it and rebel submitted. By clemency of victor he was reinstated Chief of Fayzabad, Badakhshan. In same year Shah Abul Faiz son of Shah Shuja of Ragh rebelled against Mir Muhammad Shah and was vanquished. The territory Mir Muhammad Shah divided as follows Iskashim was given to Mir Khan; Rushan to Shah Wali and Warduj to Mahmud Khan brother of Mir Ahmad Beg Kataghan. Mir Muhammad Shah also built a new fort named Sarai Bahadur.
Khodai Nazar Beg Kataghan brother of Darab Bi expelled his 5 nephews from Kunduz and Aliwardi Beg Chief of Kurghan Tippa on pretence of avenging their wrongs attacked Khodai Nazar Beg and drove him from Kunduz. His avarice caused him to occupy country himself. Darab Bi's sons wandered to Badakhshan and Balkh Aliwardi Beg did not long enjoy fruits of treachery. In 1795, Emir Haidar of Emirate of Bukhara invaded Balkh and Kunduz annexed them and took Aliwardi Beg to Bukhara as prisoner.
Mir Sultan Shah II succeeded as Amir of Badakhshan after his father Mir Muhammad Shah's death in 1810. He remained friendly with his neighbors and country prospered. He recovered arrears of taxes from Chinese settlers and levied payment in advance. In 1814 he invaded Chitral took thousands of prisoners whom he sold in Balkh, Bukhara, Farghana and Khiva. He died in 1815 leaving 5 sons of whom Mir Yar Beg succeeded as ruler.
Meanwhile, Kunduz was still under Emirate of Bukhara and the wandering sons of Darab Bi Kataghan decided to attack and retake the city which they did in 1810. The Amir of Kunduz was now Mir Muhammad Murad Beg, one of the brothers. Mir Yar Beg was now worried about the rising popularity and power of Mir Muhammad Murad Beg in the region. Eventually, in 1820 the two would face off at Darah Aim in which Mir Muhammad Murad Beg would be the victor. In 1822 4 brothers under the service of Mir Muhammad Murad Beg rebelled lead by Kokan Beg. Mir Muhammad Murad Beg and Kokan Beg often fought with each other over territory inconclusively while battling against rebels in their own respective territories for years. Kokan Beg would be assassinated by his ally in Kashkar (lower Chitral) by being pushed down a precipice. Mir Muhammad Murad Beg taking advantage of this situation took Badakhshan by occupying Fayzabad. But despite invading Badakhshan Mir Muhammad Murad Beg had little to no control over it. In fact Badakhshan was now contested by again by Mir Yar Beg, Sikandar Shah, Shahzada Mahmud, Abdul Ghazi Khan and Shah Suliman Beg who were in exile at Tashkurghan under protection of Mir Wali. Fayzabad had a small population under spiritual preceptor Mian Fazal Azim, Sahibzada of Sirhind. Jirm, Zardeo, Mashad, Daraaim and Fayzabad were successively occupied by these chiefs. Fayzabad fell to Mir Yar Beg who rebuilt his fort and lived in city. The old dynasty thus was restored.
In 1839 the occupation of Afghanistan by British drove Amir Dost Muhammad Khan into exile. He visited successively Khulam and Kunduz and was well received. They could not aid him against British and Dost Muhammad proceeded to the Emirate of Bukhara. The Emirate of Bukhara was then governed by Amir Nasrullah Khan who was addicted to the society of boys. Sher Ali Khan The son Dost Muhammad Khan was then a beardless youth and Nasrullah Khan coveted him. The Afghan pride of Sher Ali was however inflamed and he informed his father and brothers of the insulting desire of Nasrullah Khan. Dost Muhammad Khan then determined to leave Emirate of Bukhara but he found himself a prisoner and with difficulty escaped together with his sons to Balkh. Also in 1839, Mir Muhammad Murad Beg again attacked Rustak in Badakhshan and appointed an officer of his own in Farkhar. Two months later he also attacked Mashad. But he failed to obtain a footing in Badakhshan which remained in possession of its hereditary Mirs.
In 1844, Mir Yar Beg while shooting was poisoned by Mir Ahmad Shah at the instigation of Sulaiman Beg and died on his return to Fayzabad. The instigator of the murder had been fascinated by the extraordinary beauty of the wife of Mir Yar Beg and was impelled by his passion for the lady to accomplish the death of her husband. On his death Sulaiman Beg took possession of Fayzabad and married his widow. Mir Ahmad Shah now discovered that the murder of Yar Beg was instigated by Sulaiman Beg with the object of possessing his wife and advancing against him expelled him from Faizabad of which he took possession himself. He then wrote to Mir Atalik Beg, Chief of Kunduz, requesting his aid against Yusuf Ali Khan and Mir Shah to drive them out of Rustak. The letter did not reach its destination but fell by some means into hands of Mir Shah who forwarded it to Sulaiman Shah and invited him to a consultation at Rustak. Both chiefs then united and marched against Mir Ahmad Shah who was expelled to Kunduz. A new distribution was made of country Mir Shah occupied Fayzabad as supreme ruler of Badakhshan. Shah Sulaiman Beg received Dara Aim; Nasrullah Khan got Kashmir and Mashad. Rustak and Chiab were allotted to Yusuf Ali Khan. Jirm to Sikandar Shah and Zardeo Sarghalan was given to Shahzada Mahmud.
From 1840–1859 CE, Afghanistan and Emirate of Bukhara would struggle for Balkh and Badakhshan with Afghanistan succeeding. Mir Shah, chief of Badakhshan and his feudatory of Rustak went to wait on Muhammad Azam Khan (son of Dost Muhammad Khan) with presents and offer of submission. Mir Shah, betrothed his niece (daughter of his brother Nizam-ud-din Khan) to Muhammad Azam Khan. A treaty was made with the Muhammad Azam Khan as follows:
"Ruler of Badakhshan, children and successors, agree to remain firm in allegiance to Amir of Kabul and officers in Balkh not to join foreign enemy against Amir of Kabul. Ruler of Badakhshan to furnish suitable contingent in difficulty and to aid Amir of Kabul and to give annual presents."
But Mir Shah had troubles governing his region. Family quarrels over territory kept him busy till his death in 1862. He was succeeded by his son Mir Jahandar Shah. He too would get involved in various intrigues in the region as well as issues of succession in his neighborhood taking one side or the other. In 1865, Mir Jahandar Shah sent his ambassador Syed Muhammad to the British Commissioner in Peshawar to establish friendly relations. However, peace would not last long as Dost Muhammad Khan died and his sons began to fight for the throne. Eventually Mir Jahandar Shah was forced to take the side of Sher Ali Khan and Muhammad Azam Khan (who was now married to Mir Jahandar Shah's daughter as well). But Mohammad Afzal Khan would secure Kabul forcing Sher Ali Khan to retreat to Herat. Mir Jahandar Shah would hand over his allies to Mohammad Afzal Khan this angered Sher Ali Khan and his deputy in Akhcha, Faiz Muhammad Khan who went into battle at Gulaugan against Mir Jahandar Shah and defeated him. After flight of Mir Jahandar Shah the country was divided. Mir Jahandar Shah seeks refuge in Kabul where he is restored a year afterwards to his ancestral throne by the influence of Abdur Rahman Khan son of the Mohammad Afzal Khan and by his popularity. His rival Mahmud Shah leaves without a struggle in October 1868. Mir Jahandar Shah of Badakhshan never asked forgiveness for hostilities to Amir Sher Ali Khan with Azam Khan and failed to wait on Governor of Balkh at Takhtapul. Sher Ali in October 1869 invited Mizrad Shah, Muhammad Shah and Ibrahim, deposed chiefs of Badakhshan and restored them. Mir Jahandar Shah fled to Kulab. In December 1869, Mir Jahandar Shah left camp of Emir of Bukhara in Kulab and attacked Badakhshan and burned fort Zang Kila.
Eventually the Great Game would begin with the Russians instigating the Emirate of Bukhara to claim certain territories of Afghanistan and the British recognizing Afghanistan's claim to the territories of dispute. Badakhshan's boundaries were decided by the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1873, which expressly acknowledged "Badakhshan with its dependent district Wakhan" as "fully belonging to the Amir of Kabul", and limited it to the left or southern bank of the Amu Darya (also called Oxus). On the west, Badakhshan was bounded by a line which crosses the Turkestan plains southwards from the junction of the Kunduz and Amu Darya rivers until it touches the eastern water-divide of the Tashkurghan River, and then runs southeast, crossing Kunduz, until it strikes the Hindu Kush. The southern boundary was carried along the crest of the Hindu Kush as far as the Khawak Pass, leading from Badakhshan into the Panjshir valley. Beyond this it was indefinite.
It was known that the Kafirs occupied the crest of the Hindu Kush eastwards of the Khawak, but how far they extended north of the main watershed was not ascertainable. The southern limits of Badakhshan became definite again at the Dorah Pass. The Dorah connects Zebak and Ishkashim at the elbow, or bend, of the Oxus with the Lutku valley leading to Chitral. From the Dorah eastwards the crest of the Hindu Kush again became the boundary until it effects a junction with the Muztagh and Sarikol ranges, which shut off China from Russia and India. Skirting round the head of the Tagdumbash Pamir, it finally merged into the Pamir Mountains boundary, and turned westwards, following the course of the Oxus, to the junction of that river and the Khanabad (Kunduz).
So far as the northern boundary followed the Oxus stream, under the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush, it was only separated by the length of these slopes (some 8 or 10 miles) from the southern boundary along the crest. Thus Badakhshan reached out an arm into the Pamirs eastwards - bottle-shaped - narrow at the neck (represented by the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush), and swelling out eastwards so as to include a part of the great and little Pamirs.
Before the boundary settlement of 1873 the small states of Rushan and Shugnan extended to the left bank of the Oxus, and the province of Darwaz, on the other hand, extended to the right bank. Then, however, the Darwaz extension northwards was exchanged for the Russian Pamir extension westwards, and the river throughout became the boundary between Russian and Afghan territory; the political boundaries of those provinces and those of Wakhan were no longer coincident with their geographical limits.
The following were the chief provincial subdivisions of Badakhshan, omitting Rushan and Shugnan: on the west Rustak, Kataghan, Ghori, Narin and Anderab; on the north Darwaz, Ragh and Shiwa; on the east Charan, Ishkashim, Zebak and Wakhan; and in the centre Faizabad, Farkhar, Minjan and Kishm. There were others, but nothing certain is known about these minor subdivisions.
In 1895 the Panj River was defined as part of the border between Afghan and Russian Badakhshan. Within the Soviet Union, the former Russian part was organized as the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous oblast (province) within the Tajik SSR, later the Kohistan-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (the official name since 1994) within Tajikistan.
Geography
The conformation of the mountain districts, which comprise all the southern districts of Badakhshan and the northern hills and valleys of Nuristan (the former Kafiristan), is analogous to that of the rest of the Hindu Kush westwards. The Hindu Kush represents the southern edge of a great central upheaval or plateau. It breaks up into long spurs southwards, deep amongst which are hidden the valleys of Nuristan, almost isolated from each other by the rugged and snow-capped altitudes which divide them. To the north the plateau gradually slopes away towards the Oxus, falling from an average altitude of 15,000 feet to 4,000 feet about Faizabad, in the centre of Badakhshan, but tailing off to ~100 at Kunduz, in Kataghan, where it merges into the flat plains bordering the Oxus river.
The Kokcha River traverses Badakhshan from southeast to northwest, and, with the Kunduz, drains all the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush west of the Dorah Pass. Some of its sources are near Zebak, close to the great bend of the Oxus northwards, so that it cuts off all the mountainous area included within that bend from the rest of Badakhshan. Its chief affluent is the Minjan, which Sir George Robertson found to be a considerable stream where it approaches the Hindu Kush close under the Dorab. Like the Kunduz, it probably drains the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush by deep lateral valleys, more or less parallel to the crest, reaching westwards towards the Khawak Pass. From the Oxus (1,000 feet) to Faizabad (4,000 feet) and Zebak (8,500 feet) the course of the Kokcha offers a high road across Badakhshan; between Zebak and Ishkashim, at the Oxus bend, there is but an insignificant pass of 9,500 feet; and from Ishkashim by the Panj River, through the Pamirs, is the continuation of what must once have been a much-traversed trade route connecting Afghan Turkestan with Kashgar of China. It is undoubtedly one of the great continental high-roads of Asia. North of the Kokcha, within the Oxus bend, is the mountainous district of Darwaz, of which the physiography belongs rather to the Pamir type than to that of the Hindu Kush.
A very remarkable meridional range extends for 100 miles northwards from the Hindu Kush (it is across this range that the route from Zebak to Ishkashim lies), which determines the great bend of the Oxus river northwards from Ishkashim, and narrows the valley of that river into the formation of a trough as far as the next bend westwards at Kala Wamar. The western slopes of this range drain to the Oxus either northwestwards, by the Kokcha and the Ragh, or else they twist their streams into the Shiwa, which runs due north across Darwaz. Here again we find the main routes which traverse the country following the rivers closely. The valleys are narrow, but fertile and populous. The mountains are rugged and difficult; but there is much of the world-famous beauty of scenery, and of the almost phenomenal agricultural wealth of the valleys of Bukhara and Ferghana to be found in the recesses of Badakhshan.
 
References
1.    G. Morgenstierne Iranica Link
2.    Suhrobsho Davlatshoev (2006). "The Formation and Consolidation of Pamiri Ethnic Identity in Tajikistan. Dissertation". School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University, Turkey (M.S. thesis). http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12607111/index.pdf. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
3.    Christine Noelle. State and Tribe in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan: The Reign of Amir Dost Muhammad Khan (1826-1863). Surrey: Curzon Press, 1997. p. 62
4.    Ludwig W. Adamec. Historical and political gazetteer of Afghanistan Vol. 1. Badakhshan Province and northeastern Afghanistan. Graz: Akad. Druck- und Verl.-Anst., 1972.p. 99.
5.    Chisholm, Hugh, Ed (1911). "Badakshan". Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press
Helmand
 
Helmand
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation.
Helmand is the world's largest opium-producing region, responsible for 42% of the world's total production.This is more than the whole of Burma, which is the second largest producing nation after Afghanistan. Afghan opium would account for more than 90% of the global supply.
The Helmand valley region is mentioned by name in the Avesta (Fargard 1:13) as Haetumant, one of the early centers of the Zoroastrian faith, in pre-Islamic Persian times. However, owing to the preponderance of non-Zoroastrians (Hindus and Buddhists), the Helmand and Kabul regions were also known as "White India" in those days. Some Vedic scholars (eg. Kochhar 1999) also believe the Helmand valley corresponds to the Sarasvati area mentioned in the Rig Veda as the homeland for the Indo-Aryan migrations into India, ca. 1500 BC.
Much of the fighting between NATO and Taliban forces is taking place in this province and Helmand is said to be a Taliban stronghold.
USAID programs
Helmand was the center of a U.S. development program in the 1960s – it was even nicknamed "little America". The program laid out tree-lined streets in Lashkar Gah, built a network of irrigation canals and constructed a large hydroelectric dam. The program was abandoned when the communists seized power in 1978.
More recently the American USAID program has contributed to a counter-narcotics initiative called the Alternative Livelihoods Program (ALP) in the province. It pays communities to work to improve their environment and economic infrastructure as an alternative to Opium poppy farming. The project undertakes drainage and canal rehabilitation projects. In 2005 and 2006, there were problems in getting promised finance to communities and this is a source of considerable tension between the farmers and the Coalition forces.
Current military situation
It was announced on January 27, 2006 in the British Parliament that a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would be replacing the U.S. troops in the province as part of Operation Herrick. The British 16 Air Assault Brigade would be the core of the force in Helmand Province. British bases are located in the towns of Sangin, Lashkar Gah and Gereshk.
As of Summer 2006, Helmand was one of the districts involved in Operation Mountain Thrust, a combined NATO-Afghan mission targeted at Taliban fighters in the south of the country. In July 2006, this offensive mission essentially stalled in Helmand as NATO, primarily British, and Afghan troops were forced to take increasingly defensive positions under heavy insurgent pressure. In response, British troop levels in the province were increased, and new encampments were established in Sangin and Gerishk. Fighting has been particularly heavy in the towns of Sangin, Naway, Nawzad and Garmsir. There are reports that the Taliban see Helmand province as a key testing area for their ability to take and hold Afghan territory from NATO and Afghan National Army troops.Commanders on the ground have described the situation as the most brutal conflict the British Army has been involved in since the Korean War.
In Autumn 2006, British troops started to reach "cessation of hostilities" agreements with local Taliban forces around the district centres where they had been stationed earlier in the summer. Under the terms of the agreement, both sets of forces will withdraw from the conflict zone. This agreement from the British forces implies that the strategy of holding key bases in the district, as requested by Hamid Karzai, is essentially untenable with the current levels of British troop deployment. The agreement is also a setback for Taliban fighters, who were desperate to consolidate their gains in the province, but are under heavy pressure from various NATO offensives.
News reports identified the insurgents involved in the fighting as a mix of Taliban fighters and warring tribal groups who are heavily involved in the province's lucrative opium trade.
Fighting continued throughout the winter, with British and allied troops taking a more pro-active stance against the Taliban. Several operations were launched including the more recent Operation Silicone at the start of spring. On May 12, 2007, Mullah Dadullah, one of the Taliban's top commanders, along with 11 of his men were killed by NATO and Afghan forces in Helmand.
In April 2008, 1,500 U.S. Marines 2ND Battalion 7TH Marines occupied over 300 square miles (800 km2) of Helmand River valley and the Farah province. The operation was to set up forward operation bases and train the Afghan police forces in an area with little or no outside support.
In July 2009, 4,000 U.S. Marines pushed into the Helmand River valley in a major offensive to liberate the area from Taliban combatants. The operation, dubbed Operation Khanjar, is the first major push since President Obama's request for 21,000 additional soldiers in Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban rebels.
Border with Pakistan
Helmand has a southern border with the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Many domestic and international observers have criticized Pakistan's efforts towards securing the border against Taliban insurgents.
 
 
Demographics
The population is 1,441,769 and the area is 58,584 square kilometres. Pashtuns are the majority (92% of the population), and there are also Balochs who are concentrated in the south, as well as smaller minorities of Hazara, Brahui and Tajik who live mostly in Lashkar Gah.
References
1.    Afghanistan's Provinces – Helmand at NPS
2.    Pat McGeough (2007-03-05). "Where the poppy is king". Sydney Morning Herald Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smh.com.au%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fwhere-the-poppy-is-king%2F2007%2F03%2F04%2F1172943270271.html%3Fpage%3Dfullpage%23contentSwap2&date=2010-02-03. "More than 90 per cent of the province's arable land is choked with the hardy plant. A 600-strong, US-trained eradication force is hopelessly behind schedule on its target for this growing season in Helmand - to clear about a third of the crop, which is estimated to be a head-spinning 70,000 hectares."
3.    ^ "Afghanistan still the largest producer of opium: UN report". Zee News. Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeenews.com%2Fznnew%2Farticles.asp%3Faid%3D379280%26sid%3DWOR&date=2010-02-03. "She said opium cultivation is concentrated in the south of the country, with just one province ‘Helmand’ accounting for 42 percent of all the illicit production in the world. Many of the provinces with the highest levels of production also have the worst security problems."
4.    ^ Vendidad 1, at Avesta.org
5.    ^ Kochhar, Rajesh, 'On the identity and chronology of the Ṛgvedic river Sarasvatī' in Archaeology and Language III; Artefacts, languages and texts, Routledge (1999), ISBN 0-415-10054-2.
Nimruz
 
Nimruz is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the south-west of the country on the borders of Iran and Pakistan. The name Nimruz means "mid-day" in Persian. Nimruz covers 41,000 km² and has a population of 149,000 (2002 estimate). It is the most sparsely populated province in the country, located in the Sistan Basin. A substantial part of the province is the desert area of Dashti Margo.
 
 
 
History
The area now composing Nimruz was once part of the historical region of Sistan(Balochistan), which over the centuries was held by powers ranging from the Medean Empire to Alexander the Great, to the Kushan Empire before being conquered and converted to Islam by the Arab Rashidun Caliphate. The area later came under the Saffarid dynasty (861-1003 CE), one of the first Iranian dynasties of the Islamic era.
Under the modern Afghan governments, the province was known as Chakhansur Province until 1968, when it became Nimruz Province. The city of Zaranj was established in 1970, and became the capital.
As the Taliban came to power in the area in 1995, they seized the road-controlling town of Delaram (then in southwestern Farah Province), and came to an agreement with the Mujahideen forces holding Nimroz that the fate of the province would not be decided until a clear victor emerged in the capture of Kabul. However, the Taliban advanced on Nimruz only days later, and the Mujahideen under command of Abdul Karim Brahui (later governor of Nimruz) withdrew to Iran. The Mujahideen briefly recaptured Zaranj later in 1995, but the city was retaken by the Taliban, and the capital later moved from Zaranj to the more Pashtun-populated town of Ghurghuri.  The Taliban fled, losing control of the province, following U.S. airstrikes in November 2001
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ethnography
61% people are Balochs, forming the majority in the province, and Pashtuns are 27% of the population. There are also some Tajiks. Around 85% of the people in Nimruz live in rural areas while 15% live in urban areas.
References
1.    Frank Clements. Conflict in Afghanistan: a historical encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2003. ISBN 1851094024, 9781851094028. Pg 181
2.    Robert D. Crews, Amin Tarzi. The Taliban and the crisis of Afghanistan. Harvard University Press, 2008. ISBN 067402690X, 9780674026902. Pg 185-187
3.    Nimroz provincial profile
4.    Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers
Kunduz
 
Kunduz
Kunduz also known as Kundûz, Qonduz, Qondûz, Konduz, Kondûz, Kondoz, or Qhunduz is a city in northern Afghanistan, the capital of Kunduz Province. It is linked by highways with Mazari Sharif to the west, Kabul to the south and Tajikistan's border to the north. In the 1979 census, Kunduz had a population of 53,251 people, which is now estimated to have risen to 95,000 (2002 official estimate). Kunduz is located at 36.73°N, 68.86°E, at an elevation of 397 meters above sea level.
Etymology
The name of the city is derived from Persian compound, kuhan/quhan diz, "old/ancient fort." Interestingly, until 1960s, the city served as the capital to the now-defunct province of Qataqan, itself meaning "Old/Ancient city" (from Turkic kata ("old/ancient') and Persian kand/qand/qan ("city").
History
Kunduz is the site of the ancient city of Drapsaka. It was a great center of Buddhist learning and very prosperous during the 3rd century AD.
In the early 20th century, under the governance of Sher Khan Nasher, Kunduz became one of the wealthiest Afghan provinces. This was mainly due to Nasher's founding of the Spinzar Cotton Company, which continues to exist in post-war Afghanistan.
Kunduz was the last major city held by the Taliban before its fall to US-backed Afghan Northern Alliance forces on November 26, 2001. The siege of Kunduz lasted two weeks which allowed over a thousand people, including Al Qaeda, Taliban, and Pakistani army officers, to be safely airlifted into Pakistan in the so-called Airlift of Evil.
Kunduz is the most important agricultural province which produces wheat, rice, millet, and other products and obtained the nickname of "the hive of the country."
Kunduz is the centre for the north east provinces, and was the stronghold of the Taliban during its regime. The city is strategically important because it is the only way connecting Takhar province and Badakhshan provinces, which play a critical role in the existing government.
Ethnography
Several different ethnic groups live in the city, namely the Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Arabs. The arrival of the Pashtun tribes into the region are of relatively recent date, stretching back only into the early 20th century. But this has been a trend in all of Afghanistan where the Pashtun tribe loyal to the rulers in Kabul had been sent to distant regions of Afghanistan to act as margraves of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Emir Abdur Rahman Khan was most active in this regard when he sent tens of thousands of Pashtun tribesmen into northern Afghanistan and the Amu Darya basin in the 1880s and 1890s to colonize the region. The Kunduz "Arabs” are all Persian-speaking and have been so since time immemorial. However, they claim an Arab identity. There are other such Persian-speaking "Arabs" to the north and west, between Kholm, Mazar-i Sharif and Shibarghan. Their self-identification as Arabs is largely based on their tribal identity and may in fact point to the 7th and 8th centuries migration to this and other Central Asian locales of many Arab tribes from Arabia in the wake of the Islamic conquests of the region.
Administration
Kunduz has nine representatives in the lower house and two in the upper house and has a provincial council. Mohammad Omer (not Mullah Omar) also known as Zeeb Noor was the governor of Kunduz until he got killed by a bomb in a mosque in Taloqan in the beginning of October 2010.
References
1.    Priest, Dana (2003) The mission: waging war and keeping peace with America's military W.W. Norton & Co., New York
2.    Thomas J. Barfield, the Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan: Pastoral Nomadism in Transition. 1982.
•    Dupree, Nancy Hatch (1977): An Historical Guide to Afghanistan. 1st Edition: 1970. 2nd Edition. Revised and Enlarged. Afghan Tourist Organization.
•    Thomas J. Barfield, the Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan: Pastoral Nomadism in Transition. 1982.
Nangarhar
 
 
 
Nangarhar (Pashto: ننګرهار Nangarhār) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan in the east of the country. Its capital is the city of Jalalabad. The population of the province is 1,334,000 which consists mainly of ethnic Pashtuns with a sizable community of Arabs and Pashais.
 
 
 
Economy and poppy production
Once a major center of opium poppy production in Afghanistan, the province had reportedly decreased its production of poppy by up to 95% in 2005, one of the success stories of the Afghan eradication program. However, the eradication program has often left peasant farmers destitute and, in 2006, farmers were reported to have surrendered their children to opium dealers in payment on their debts.
Geopolitical and military situation
Nangarhar shares a border with Pakistan, and the two regions share very close ties, with large amounts of migration in both directions. Most of the province still uses Pakistani currency rather than Afghan money for commercial transactions. The Pakistani government constructed a road from Torkham to Jalalabad to ease traffic and encourage trade.
Opium cultivation
The illicit poppy cultivation takes place in Khogiani, Ghanikhil, Chaparhar, and other remote districts. The farmers cite the lack of water and also poverty as the reasons for poppy cultivation. Poppy was also cultivated in Goshta District, Lalpura which borders Pakistan; but now the people just cultivate wheat and other legal crops.
The province was where Osama bin Laden was cornered in the 2001 Tora Bora campaign. He ultimately escaped.
Jalalabad (Persian/Pashto: جلال آباد Jalālābād), formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately 95 miles (153 km) of highway with Kabul to the west. Jalalabad is the largest city in eastern Afghanistan as well as its social and business centre of activity. Major industries include papermaking, as well agricultural products including oranges, rice, and sugarcane. Jalalabad is one of the leading trading centres with neighboring Pakistan.
History
In 630 Xuan Zang, the famous Chinese Buddhist monk, visited Jalalabad. The city was a major center of Gandhara's Greco-Buddhist culture in the past until it was conquered by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century. However, not everyone converted to Islam at that period as some still refused to accept it. In a book called Hudud-al-Alam, written in 982 CE, it mentions a village near Jalalabad where the local king used to have many Hindu, Muslim and Afghan wives.
It became part of the Afghan Ghaznavid Empire in the 10th century, during the Indian invasions by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. The modern city gained prominence during the reign of the Mughal emperor, Babur. The founder of the Mughal empire of India, Babur, had chosen the site for this city and the city was built by his grandson Jalal-uddin Mohammad Akbar in 1570. The original name of Jalalabad was Adinapur as also mentioned here:
'In the following year 1505, Babar meditated an incursion into India and proceeded by Jalalabad (then called Adinapur) and the Khaibar Pass to Peshawar.
In the last decade of the sixteenth century Adinapur was renamed to Jalalabad after the son of Pir Roshan, Jalala who was fighting the Mughals in the Waziristan  area.
British troops were besieged by Akbar Khan in the city in 1842 in the Battle of Jellalabad during the First Anglo-Afghan War. In 1878, the British again passed through Jalalabad during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, the city served as a strategic location for the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan. It fell to the Mujahideen in 1992 when they were on their way to capture Kabul.
Today the city is being rebuilt under NATO and UN direction after decades of war and has been receiving an influx of returning refugees largely from Pakistan. The city is considered one of the most important cities of the Pashtun culture. The Military of Afghanistan is in control of security while the United States Military also has a heavy presence. There are a number of US military bases, with the one stationed at Jalalabad Airport being the largest.
Seraj-ul-Emarat, the residence of Amir Habibullah and King Amanullah was destroyed in 1929; the other sanctuaries however, retain vestiges of the past. The mausoleum of both rulers is enclosed by a garden facing Seraj-ul-Emart.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan) and Mohammad Gul Khan Momand, Amir Habibullah, Amānullāh Khān all these Pashtun leaders, are buried in the city of Jalalabad.
Demographics
The population of the city is mostly Pashtun people, at 90%. Pashais are 7%. The remaining 3% are  Tajiks and Gujjars (Sikhs/Hindus). The city is home to one of Afghanistan's few Hindu temples, the Dargha Hindu Temple on Chowk Omomi Street.
Pashto is the main language of the city and is also used throughout the province.
 
 
 
Transportation
Jalalabad is connected by roads with Kabul and Peshawar in Pakistan. All the trade between the two nations pass through this city. Because of the many traffic accidents, the highway between the city of Jalalabad and Kabul is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world.
 
 Sports
The city is considered the capital of Afghan cricket, with many of the national players coming from the surrounding areas. Construction has begun near the city on one of Afghanistan's cricket stadium. It is hoped that this ground will serve the domestic competition and attract international teams.
 
Modern development
There have been proposals for the establishment of Afghanistan's first rail network linking Jalalabad with Pakistan's vast and extensive rail service allowing for increased trade of goods, people and commerce between the two countries. An improvement in the road networks between Jalalabad and Peshawar has also been proposed, with the intention of widening the existing road and improving security to attract more tourism and allow for safer passage of goods between to the two countries.
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The international community has re-surfaced the road link between Jalalabad and the capital Kabul reducing the transit time between these two important cities.
 
Prepared by Yama Amiri


Bamyan
 
Bamyan
Province (Persian: بامیان) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the centre of the country. Its capital is also called Bamyan. The majority of the population are Hazaras, with 16% Sadat, 15% Tajiks and Pashtuns and Tatars in smaller numbers. Bamyan is the largest province in the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan, and is the cultural capital of the Hazara ethnic group that predominates in the area.
 
In antiquity, central Afghanistan was strategically placed to thrive from the Silk Road caravans which criss-crossed the region trading between the Roman Empire, China, Central and South Asia. Bamyan was a stopping off point for many travelers. It was here where elements of Greek, Persian and Buddhist art were combined into a unique classical style, known as Greco-Buddhist art.
History
Bamyan was the site of an early Buddhist monastery from which Bamyan takes its name from the Sanskrit varmayana ("coloured"). Many statues of Buddha are carved into the sides of cliffs facing Bamyan city. The two most prominent of these statues were standing Buddhas, now known as the Buddhas of Bamyan, measuring 55 and 37 meters high respectively, that were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were probably erected in the 4th or 5th century A.D. They were cultural landmarks for many years and are listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. In March 2001 the Taliban government decreed that the statues were idolatrous and ordered them to be demolished with anti-aircraft artillery and explosives.
The Buddhist remains at Bamyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund. It is hoped that the listing will put continued national and international attention on the site as a whole (including, but not limited to, the statues) in order to ensure its long-term preservation, and to make certain that future restoration efforts maintain the authenticity of the site and that proper preservation practices are followed.
 
Band-e Amir lakes in Bamyan
 
Bamyan is also known as the capital of Daizangi and for its natural beauty. The Band-e Amir lakes in western Bamyan province continue to be a tourist destination for Afghans.
A popular route through the mountains of Bamyan
 
Agriculture
 
Bamiyan has been particularly famous for its potatoes. The region is also known for a "shuttle system" of planting, wherein seed potatoes are grown in winter in Jalalabad, a warm area of eastern Afghanistan, and then transferred to Bamyan for spring re-planting.
Education
Bamyan Province is home to the region's only university, Bamiyan University in the city of Bamyan. The school was founded in the mid-1990s, and largely destroyed under the Taliban. It was later refurbished following the fall of the Taliban.
 
 
 
Prepared by Yama Amiri
Logar
 
Logar
(Pashto: لوګر, Persian: لوگَر) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. The word of Logar is built from two Pashto words: Loy (لوى "great") and Ghar (غر "mountain"). It is located in the eastern zone, southeast of Kabul, and the geography of the province centers on the large Logar River which enters the province through the west and leaves to the north. Its capital is Pul-i-Alam.
________________________________________
 
Politics
Logar is a generally religiously conservative province, although not to the extent of its southern neighbours. The province's political history is a microcosm of Afghanistan's recent turbulent past. During the period immediately prior to the US invasion of 2001, portions of the province were controlled by both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. During the Jihad against Soviet occupation in the 1980s, Baraki Barak, Khushi, Charkh and Pule Alam districts were controlled by Jamiat e-Islami. Logar was known among Afghans as باب الجهاد' Bab al-Jihad', or 'the Gates of Jihad' because it became a fierce theatre of war between Mujahideen groups and the Soviet army and it was the main supply route of Mujahideen coming from south and Pakistan and going towards Northern and Central Afghanistan. It is said that the largest single convoy of the Soviets, consisting of more than 350 tanks, trucks, Oil Tankers and other vehicles, was attacked and destroyed in Logar province in a combined operation of different Mujahideen factions.
Geography
The main river valley in the Khoshi district of Logar, Afghanistan. Extensive irrigation and canal works,  known as karez, provide water for the majority of the agriculture in southeastern Afghanistan.Logar can be generally described as a relatively flat river valley in the north and central regions, surrounded by rugged mountains to the east, south, and southwest. The district of Azra, in the east, consists almost entirely of mountains, while travel to the Paktia Province to the south is limited to the Tera Pass, a 2896 m high road that was recently completed as part of the international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.
Although the government of Afghanistan recognizes the Azra district as being in Logar, many widely-accepted maps include it in the Paktia province to the south.
Capital
Pul-i-Alam, the capital of Logar. The main road running through the city can be seen here. The mountains in the far background are the Azra district and portions of northwest Paktia.Logar's capital is the city of Pul-i-Alam, located in the district of the same name. It sits on the main road running from Kabul south to Gardez and Khowst province, which borders Pakistan.
Pul-i-Alam has seen a significant amount of reconstruction since the fall of the Taliban. The main road to Kabul was completed in 2006, significantly reducing travel time to the national capital. Additional projects include numerous schools, radio stations, government facilities, and a major Afghan National Police base situated just south of the city.
Like most Afghan cities, there is little municipal planning or services. Electricity is provided by diesel generators, and wells are the primary source of drinking water.
Education
 
The overall literacy rate in Logar province is 21%, however, while nearly one-third (31%) of men are literate this is true for just under one-tenth (9%) of women. There are around 168 primary and secondary schools in the province catering for 81,538 students. There are nearly 2,082 teachers working in schools in the Logar province.[3] There are several girls schools in the province, mostly located in Koshi and Pul-e-alam. Due to the large Taliban presence in Chark and Baraki Barak, the freedom of women in Logar does not always allow for an education.
Demographics
Pashtuns are the majority in Logar province with 60% of the population. Persian speaking Tajiks and Hazaras are 40% of the population.
Sport
Cricket is growing in popularity in Logar Province. The province is represented in domestic cricket competitions by the Logar Province cricket team. The national team contains several players from the province.
Prepared by Yama Amir
Ghazni
 
Ghazni
(Pashto: غزني) (Persian: غزنی) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni is also known as Zabulistan[1] It is in the east of the country. Its capital is Ghazni City.
 The province lies on the important Kabul to Kandahar road, and has historically functioned as an important trade center between those two major cities.Contents
History
Buddhism and Indian influence
Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist center before and during the 7th century AD. Excavations have revealed religious artifacts of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.“     The two other great Buddhist centers, Fondukistan and Tepe-e-sardar (Ghazni) in its later phase are a very different matter and display another phase of influences coming from India from the seventh to eighth century. The representations show themes from Mahayana iconography and even in the case of the latter site assume Tantric aspects which had already established themselves in the large Indian monasteries like Nalanda.
Another important site is that of Tepe Sardar (better known as Tepe-yi Nagara, Tepe of the kettledrum) near Ghazni, which was occupied until perhaps the eighth century AD. From this period dates a huge statue of the Parinirvana Buddha (Buddha lying down at the end of his cycle of rebirths) of unbaked clay. A very similar statue has been found just north of Afghanistan, at the site of Adzhina tepe in Tajikistan. Yet what is most interesting was the find at the same site of a statue of the Hindu deity Durga Mahishasura-mardini.
In 644 AD, the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang visited Jaguda, Ghazni, while travelling from the country of Varnu, crossing the land of O-po-kien (Afghans i.e. Pashtuns).
Advent of Islam
In 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the area and attempted to conquer the capital of Ghazni but the local tribes fiercely resisted. Its resistance was so famed that Yaqub Saffari (840-879) from Zaranj made an example of Ghazni when he ranged the vast region conquering in the name of Islam. The city was completely destroyed by the Saffarids in 869.A substantial portion of the local population including Hindus and Buddhists were converted to Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni.There is no evidence that Ghazna had previously formed part of the Samanid kingdom. It had been previously overrun with the whole of Zabulistan and Kabul by the Saffaris by 260 (873) but it is doubtful how far their power was permanent and even when the Samanids became paramount there is no evidence that Kabul or Ghazna were under them . The ruler of Ghazna is described as Padshah and was allied to the Hindushahis of Kabul . These titles were not as yet used by the Muhammadan rulers . The Padshah Lavik was probably a Hindu chief even though some passages in the Tabakth i Nisiri give him the name of Abu Bakr or Abu Ali.
The minaret of Ghazni, built by Bahram Shah during the Ghaznavid Empire.
 
After the rebuilding of the city by Yaqub's brother, it became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire from 994 to 1160, encompassing much of northern India, Persia and Central Asia. Many iconoclastic campaigns were launched from Ghazni into India. The Ghaznavids took Islam to India  and returned with fabulous riches taken from both prince and temple god. Contemporary visitors and residents at Ghazni write with wonder of the ornateness of the buildings, the great libraries, the sumptuousness of the court ceremonies and of the wealth of precious objects owned by Ghazni's citizens.
Attack by Mahomed Ghori
The historian Ferishta records attacks by Mahomed Ghori: "at the same time most of the infidels who inhabited the mountains between Ghazni and the Indus were also converted, some by force and others by persuasion. Ghazni's eponymous capital was razed in 1151 by the Ghorid Alauddin. It again flourished but only to be permanently devastated, this time in 1221 by Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies after 6 years of Khwarezmid rule. Ghazni's strategic position, both economically and militarily, assured its revival,[when?] albeit without its dazzling former grandeur. Through the centuries the city figures prominently as the all important key to the possession of Kabul.
Ghazni is also famous for its minarets built on a stellar plan. They date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving element of the mosque of Bahramshah. Their sides are decorated with geometric patterns. Upper sections of the minarets have been damaged or destroyed. The most important mausoleum located in Ghazni is that of Sultan Mahmud's. Others include the tombs of poets and scientists, for example Al Biruni and Sanayee. The only ruins in Old Ghazni retaining a semblance of architectural form are two towers, about 43 m (140 ft) high and some 365 m (1,200 ft) apart. According to inscriptions, the towers were constructed by Mahmud of Ghazni and his son.
Preservation of historical artifacts
During the First Anglo-Afghan War, the Ghazni's capital city was stormed and taken over by the British forces on July 23, 1839 in the Battle of Ghazni. The Afghan Civil War and the continued conflict between the Taliban and the Afghan Northern Alliance during the 1990s put the relics of Ghazni in jeopardy. The Taliban placed Fazl Uddin in charge of protecting the artifacts. In the 1960s a 15-meter female Buddha was discovered lying on its back and surrounded by empty pillars that once held rows of smaller male Buddhas. Parts of the female Buddha have been stolen. In the 1980s a mud brick shelter was created to protect the sculpture, but the wood supports were stolen for firewood and the shelter partially collapsed.
Natural disasters
In recent years, Ghazni has been beset by droughts, heavy snow, and flooding, all at different times.During the periods of drought, many parts of the province, especially Ghazni City, saw heavy building in the flood plains of the province's rivers. Flooding caused by heavy rain and snow in recent years have taken heavy tolls in property in lives in these newly constructed areas.
Natural resources
Recent geologic surveys have indicated Ghazni may have one of the world's richest deposits of lithium. Gold and copper were also found in the Zarkashan area of Ghazni province with an estimated value of $30 billion while Lithium deposits valued at around $60 billion were discovered in four eastern and western provinces of Afghanistan, Together with other newly (2010) discovered mineral deposits, the total value of US $3 trillion the estimate is based on a survey of 30 percent of the country's land mass.
Demographics and geography
The major ethnic groups in the province are Pashtuns (51%), and Persian speaking Hazaras and Tajiks (47%). There are also some Burki, and Uzbeks. Ghazni is made up of 19 districts (district capitals are given in parentheses).
Some Sikhs and Hindus also live in Ghazni province. During the Taliban regime they fled the country, but with the current administration they have returned to Ghazni city.
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Prepared by Yama Amiri


Takhar
 
 
Takhar
 
(Persian: تخار) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan 
It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources. General Mohammed Daud Daud, the Deputy Minister of the Interior for Counter Narcotics in Afghanistan before he was killed, was a former governor of the Takhar province. The current governor is Abdul Jabbar Taqwa.
Takhar also holds notoriety as the location where Afghan mujahideen leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated on September 9, 2001 by suspected al-Qaeda agents.
The major ethnic groups in the province are Tajiks who form majority there, followed by Uzbeks and a minority Pashtun population. Since the people of Takhar take revenge on Pashtuns for the crimes the Taliban (mainly Pashtuns) did to non-Pashtuns, the number of Pashtuns decreases like in some other districts and provinces of northern Afghanistan.


Panjshir
 
 
Panjshir
Panjshir (Persian: پنجشیر, literally "Five Lions", also spelled as Panjsher) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan.  Containing the Panjshir Valley, in April 2004 it was created from parts of Parwan Province, which now lies along its southwestern border. Panjshir's population is about 139,000 and its area is 3,610 square kilometers. Its capital is the town of Bazarak.
Panjshir province is renowned for having resisted the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, due to its difficult terrain and the brilliant leadership of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the so-called "Lion of the Panjshir". Massoud was killed by an al-Qaeda assassin in September 2001, two days before the 9-11 attacks on the United States. Panjshir is one of Afghanistan's most secure provinces and is not subject to the level of violence and insurgency found elsewhere in the country.
In 2004 Panjsher district in the Parwan province was given the status of Province by president Hamid Karzai.
According to Karzai's spokeperson the district was not linked to any province because the late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Masoud independently administered it, therefore Karzai decided to make it a province to honor Masoud.
The major ethnic group in the province is Tajik, with some Hazaras, Pashtuns, Nuristanis

Kunar Province
 
Kunar (Pashto: کونړ) is one of the 34 province of Afghanistan located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is AsadAbd.
 
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It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces (Nengarhar, Noristan , Kunar Province and Laghman Provinces). N2KL is the designation used by US and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan for the rugged and very violent region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border opposite Pakistan's Federally Administreted Tribal Areas and North-West Frontier Province. Kunar is the center of the N2KL region.
 
Geography
Kunar province is located in the northeast of Afghanistan. It borders with Nengarhar Province to the south, Noristan Province to the north, Laghman Province to the west and has a border with Pakistan in the east. The province covers an area of 4339 km2. Nearly nine tenths (86%) of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain while one eighth (12%) of the area is made up of relatively flat land. The primary geographic features of the province are the lower Hindu Kush mountains which form, the Kunar Valley, and the Kunar River which flows south along the north-south axis of the valley is a primary draining conduit for the Hindu Kush basin. The mountains, narrow valleys with steeps sides and river serve as formidable natural obstacles and have impacted all movement through the province throughout history. Even in the early 21st century movement on foot, with pack animals or with motorized vehicles is extremely limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions. One famous Pashtun poet, Mohammad Hashem Zamani, was from Kunar.
 
Demographics & population
The total population of Kunar was estimated to be around 413,008 (CSO Afghanistan, 2006). Pashtun are in majority and make up 95% of the total population, followed by Noristani and Tajik.
 
Around 96% of the population of Kunar lives in rural districts while 4% lives in urban areas.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 14:18

Zabul Province
 
Zabul
Zabul (Pashto: زابل) (Persian: زابل) is a historic province of Afghanistan. Zabul became an independent province from neighbouring Kandahar in 1963, with Qalat being named the provincial capital.
It should not be confused with the city Zabol, on the Iranian side of the border with Afghanistan.Contents.
Political and security situation
With its sparse population, insecure border with Pakistan and little central authority, Zabul is a fertile ground for insurgents fighting against the current Afghan government, although the province is considered more secure than some of its southern neighbours.
Demographics
The population of the province is estimated to be around 275,100 people. The major ethnic group in the province is Pashtun. The main Pashtun tribes are: Tokhi, Hotak, Suleiman khel, Popalzai, Kakar, Naser and Ludin.
Geography
Zabul borders Oruzgan in the north, Kandahar in the west and in the south, Ghazni and Paktika in  the east. It has an international border with Pakistan in the south. The province covers an area of 17293 km2. Two-fifths of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain (41%) while more than one quarter of the area is made up of flat land (28%).
The primary ecoregion of the province is the Central Afghan Mountains xeric woodlands. Common vegetation is listed as dry shrub-land and pistachio. The high mountains of the northern portion of the province are in the Ghorat-Hazarajat alpine meadow ecoregion, which is characterized by meadows, willows, and sea buckthorn.
Sports
The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket by the Zabul Province cricket team.
Transportation
In 2006, the province's first airstrip was opened near Qalat, to be operated by the Afghan National Army, but also for use by commercial aviation. Twice weekly service was scheduled by PRT Air between Qalat and Kabul. The airstrip is not paved.
Nuristan Province
 
Nuristān (Pashto:نورستان), also spelled Nurestān or Nooristan, is a region in Afghanistan embedded in the south of the Hindu Kush valleys.
 
Its administrative center is Parun. It was formerly known as Kafiristan ("land of the unbelievers") until the inhabitants were converted to Islam in 1896, and thence the region has become known as Nuristan ("Land of Light").
 
Today it is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, formed in 1989 and officially established in 2001 from the northern parts of Laghman Province and Kunar Province. Its administrative center, Parun, is located in the Parun valley. Before 2001 its capital was situated in Laghman province due to Mujahideen control over Nuristan province.
 
 
The primary occupations are agriculture, animal husbandry, and day labor. Located on the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains in the northeastern part of the country, Nuristan spans the basins of the Alingâr, Pech, Landai Sin, and Kunar rivers. It is bordered on the north by Badakhshan Province, on the south by Laghman and Kunar provinces, on the west by Panjshir Province, and on the east by Pakistan.
History
Until the 1890s, the region was known as Kafiristan (Persian for "Land of the non-believers") because of its inhabitants: the Nuristani, an ethnically distinctive people (numbering about 60,000) who practiced animism, polytheism and shamanism. 
Advent of Islam
The region was conquered by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1895–96 and the Nuristani were then converted to Islam. The Kafirs are thought to be the original inhabitants of the plains country of Afghanistan in what is now Nuristan. They were driven back into the mountain areas by the arrival of Islam in the country about 700AD. They are thought to be the descendents of the old Indian population that used to occupy the region, and they did not convert to Islam with the rest of the population, remaining pagan for several more centuries. Their language is much akin to Sanskrit.
 
Demographics
The population of around 300,000 people is 95% Nuristani and 5% Pashtun/Tajik. 30% of the population speak Dari or Pashto and 90% speak the following Nuristani languages.
•    Askunu language
•    Kamkata-viri language
•    Vasi-vari language
•    Tregami language
•    Kalasha-ala language
Pashayi language is spoken by 15% people.
The main Nuristani tribes in the province are Katta (38%), Kalasha (30%), Ashkori or Wamayee (12%), Kam (10%), Satra (5%), and Parsoon (4%).



Baghlan Province
 
 
Baghlan (Persian/Pashto: بغلان Baġlān) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan.
 
 
 
It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Puli Khumri, but its name comes from the other major town in the province, Baghlan. The ruins of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the Surkh Kotal, are located in Baghlan.
History
The name Baghlan is derived from Bagolango or "image-temple", inscribed on the temple of Surkh Kotal during the reign of the Kushan emperor, Kanishka in the early 2nd century CE.
The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang traveled through Baghlan in the mid-7th Century CE, and referred to it as the "kingdom of Fo-kia-lang".
As a province, Baghlan was created out of the former Qataghan Province in 1964.
Soviet-Afghan War
During the Soviet-Afghan War, the Soviets in 1982 established the Kayan military zone in southern Baghlan. The area was defended by 10,000 Ismaili militiamen, who sided with the Soviets due to
differences with the Islamist opposition.
 
Demographics
Tajiks are the majority and make up 55% of the population, followed by 20% Pashtuns, 15% Hazaras, 9% Uzbeks, and the remainder are Tatar. In another source Tajiks along their sub-groups like Aimaks and Sayyid-Tajiks make more than 70% of the provincial population. In addition, a significant number of Hazaras are also counted as part of the Persian-speaking people which stating Persian language as overwhelming speaking language, followed by Pashhtu-speaking Pashtuns, Chatagai-speaking Uzbeks and some Tatars.
Baghlan is also home to a small community of Ismaili Muslims, led by the Sayeds of Kayan.
Agriculture
 
Baghlan's primary crops (as of 1974) were cotton and sugar beets, industrial sugar production having begun under Czech supervision in the 1940s. The area also produced grapes, pistachios, and pommegranates. The primary livestock are Karakul sheep.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:32


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