Badakhshan Province is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan. It shares a 56.5-mile border with China. It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region; the province contains 22 to 28 districts, over 1,200 villages, 904,700 people. Feyzabad serves as the provincial capital. Badakhshan is bordered by Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and Khatlon Province in Tajikistan to the north and east. In the east of the province a long spur called the Wakhan Corridor extends above northern Pakistan's Chitral and Northern Areas to a border with China; the province has a total area of 44,059 square kilometres, most of, occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges. Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, China has shown great interest in the province after the fall of the Taliban, helping to reconstruct roads and infrastructure. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Badakhshan contains temperate grasslands and shrublands, as well as Gissaro-Alai open woodlands along the Pamir River.
Common plants found in these areas include pistachio, walnut, apple and sagebrush. Montane grasslands and shrublands are existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow in the high mountains in the northern and southwestern regions; the Wakhan corridor contains two montane grassland and shrubland regions: the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe and in the Pamir Mountains and Kuh-e Safed Khers in Darwaz region. South of Fayzabad the terrain becomes dominated by xeric shrublands. Common vegetation includes thorny bushes, zizyphus and Amygdatus. Paropamisus xeric woodlands can be found in central areas. Common vegetation includes almond, pistachio and sea-buckthorn; the area has a long history like the rest of Afghanistan, dating to its conquering by the Achaemenid Empire and beyond. Badakhshan etymologically derives from an official title; the suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš. The territory was ruled by the Uzbek Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century.
It was given to Ahmad Shah Durrani by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was reached in or about 1750 and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, was untouched by the British during the three Anglo-Afghan wars that were fought in the 19th and 20th centuries, it remained peaceful for about 100 years until the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War at which point the Mujahideen began a rebellion against the central Afghan government. During the 1990s, much of the area was controlled by forces loyal to Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud, who were de facto the national government until 1996. Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not conquer during their rule from 1996 to 2001. However, during the course of the wars a non-Taliban Islamic emirate was established in Badakhshan by Mawlawi Shariqi, paralleling the Islamic Revolutionary State of Afghanistan in neighboring Nuristan. Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, Massoud, were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.
Badakhshan was thus one of the few provinces of the country that witnessed little insurgency in the Afghan wars - however during the 2010s Taliban insurgents managed to attack and take control of several districts in the province. On 26 October 2015, the 7.5 Mw Hindu Kush earthquake shook northern Afghanistan with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII. This earthquake destroyed 30,000 homes, left several hundred dead, more than 1,700 injured; the current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb. His predecessors were Baz Mohammad Ahmadi; the borders with neighboring Tajikistan and Pakistan are monitored by the Afghan Border Police. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police. A provincial Police Chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and the ABP; the Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces. Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province, sits on the Kokcha River and has an approximate population of 50,000.
The chief commercial and administrative center of northeast Afghanistan and the Pamir region, Fayzabad has rice and flour mills. Fayzabad Airport serves the province with regular direct flights to Kabul; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011. Despite massive mineral reserves, Badakhshan is one of the most destitute areas in the world. Opium poppy growing is the only real source of income in the province and Badakhshan has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, due to the complete lack of health infrastructure, inaccessible locations, bitter winters of the province. BORNA Institute of Higher Education being the first private university located on the bank of Kokcha river. Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Sar-e-Sang mines, located in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan, for over 6,000 years.
The mines were the largest and most well-known source in ancient times. Most recent
Balkh is a town in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan, about 20 km northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, some 74 km south of the Amu Darya river and the Uzbekistan border. It was an ancient centre of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and one of the major cities of Khorasan, since the latter's earliest history; the ancient city of Balkh was known to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra. It was known as the centre and capital of Bactria or Tokharistan. Marco Polo described Balkh as a "noble and great city". Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km from the right bank of the seasonally flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m. French Buddhist Alexandra David-Néel associated Shambhala with Balkh offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala as an etymology of its name. In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple; the Bactrian language name of the city was βαχλο. In Middle Persian texts was named Baxl.
The name of the province or country appears in the Old Persian inscriptions as Bāxtri, i.e. Bakhtri, it is written in the Avesta as Bāxδi. From this came the intermediate form Bāxli, Sanskrit Bahlīka for "Bactrian", by transposition the modern Persian Balx, i.e. Balkh, Armenian Bahl. Balkh is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from north of the Amu Darya, between 2000 and 1500 BC; the Arabs called it Umm Mother of Cities on account of its antiquity. The city was traditionally a center of Zoroastrianism; the name Zariaspa, either an alternate name for Balkh or a term for part of the city, may derive from the important Zoroastrian fire temple Azar-i-Asp. Balkh was regarded as the place where Zoroaster first preached his religion, as well as the place where he died. Since the Indo-Iranians built their first kingdom in Balkh some scholars believe that it was from this area that different waves of Indo-Iranians spread to north-east Iran and Seistan region, where they, in part, became today's Persians, Tajiks and Baluch people of the region.
The changing climate has led to desertification since antiquity, when the region was fertile. Its foundation is mythically ascribed to the first king of the world in Persian legend. For a long time the city and country was the central seat of the dualistic Zoroastrian religion, the founder of which, died within the walls according to the Persian poet Firdowsi. Armenian sources state that the Arsacid Dynasty of the Parthian Empire established its capital in Balkh. There is a long-standing tradition that an ancient shrine of Anahita was to be found here, a temple so rich it invited plunder. Alexander the Great married Roxana of Bactria after killing the king of Balkh; the city was the capital of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and was besieged for three years by the Seleucid Empire. After the demise of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, it was ruled by Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians, Kushan Empire, Indo-Sassanids, Hephthalite Empire and Sassanid Persians before the arrival of the Arabs. Bactrian documents - in the Bactrian language, written from the fourth to eighth centuries - evoke the name of local deities, such as Kamird and Wakhsh, for example, as witnesses to contracts.
The documents come from an area between Balkh and Bamiyan, part of Bactria. Balkh town is well-known to Buddhist countries because of two great Buddhist monks of Afghanistan – Trapusa and Bahalika. There are two stupas over their relics. According to a popular legend, Buddhism was introduced in Balkh by Bhallika, disciple of Buddha, the city derives its name from him, he had come from Bodhgaya. In literature, Balkh has been described as Valhika or Bahlika. First Vihara at Balkh was built for Bhallika. Xuanzang visited Balkh in 630. According to the Memoirs of Xuanzang, there were about a hundred Buddhist convents in the city or its vicinity at the time of his visit there in the 7th century. There were a large number of stupas and other religious monuments; the most remarkable stupa was the Navbahara. Shortly before the Arab conquest, the monastery became a Zoroastrian fire-temple. A curious reference to this building is found in the writings of the geographer Ibn Hawqal, an Arab traveller of the 10th century, who describes Balkh as built of clay, with ramparts and six gates, extending for half a parasang.
He mentions a castle and a mosque. A Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hein, found Hinayana practice prevalent in Shan Shan, Kashgar, Osh and Gandhara. Xuanzang remarked that Buddhism was practised by the Hunnish rulers of Balkh, who descended from Indian royal stock. A Korean monk, noted as late as the Eighth century after the Arab invasion that the residents of Balkh practiced Buddhism and followed a Buddhist king, he that the king of Balkh at the time had fled to nearby Badakshan. Furthermore, we know; the most important was the Nawbahar near the town of Balkh, which evidently served as a pilgri
Khwahan District, is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province, located in northeastern Afghanistan. The district capital is Khwahan; the population of the district is 27,000. The district borders Raghistan to the southwest, Kuf Ab in the northeast, the Panj River in the northwest, Shuro-obod district, Khatlon Province, of Tajikistan. Kuh-e kallat List of villages and places, of Khwahan District in alphabetical order Darwaz Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services Its coordinates are 37°53'19" N and 70°13'10" E in DMS or 37.8886 and 70.2194. Its UTM position is XG09 and its Joint Operation Graphics reference is NJ42-11khwahan
Tajiks are a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Tajiks are the largest ethnicity in Tajikistan, the second largest in Afghanistan which constitutes over half of the global Tajik population, they speak varieties of a Western Iranian language. In Tajikistan, since the 1939 Soviet census, its small Pamiri and Yaghnobi ethnic groups are included as Tajiks. In China, the term is used to refer to its Pamiri ethnic groups, the Tajiks of Xinjiang, who speak the Eastern Iranian Pamiri languages. In Afghanistan, the Pamiris are counted as a separate ethnic group; as a self-designation, the literary New Persian term Tajik, which had some previous pejorative usage as a label for eastern Persians or Iranians, has become acceptable during the last several decades as a result of Soviet administration in Central Asia. Alternative names for the Tajiks are Eastern Persian, Fārsīwān, Dīhgān which translates to "farmer or settled villager", in a wider sense "settled" in contrast to "nomadic" and was used to describe a class of land-owning magnates as "Persian of noble blood" in contrast to Arabs and Romans during the Sassanid and early Islamic period.
The Tajiks are an Iranian people, speaking a variety of Persian, concentrated in the Oxus Basin, the Farḡāna valley and on both banks of the upper Oxus, i.e. the Pamir Mountains and northeastern Afghanistan and western Afghanistan. The ancient Tajiks were chiefly agriculturalists before the Arab Conquest of Iran. While agriculture remained a stronghold, the Islamization of Iran resulted in the rapid urbanization of historical Khorasan and Transoxiana that lasted until the devastating Mongolian invasion. Several surviving ancient urban centers of the Tajik people include Herat, Bukhara, Khujand and Kabul. Contemporary Tajiks are the descendants of ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia, in particular, the Sogdians and the Bactrians, other groups, with an admixture of Western Iranian Persians and non-Iranian peoples. According to Richard Nelson Frye, a leading historian of Iranian and Central Asian history, the Persian migration to Central Asia may be considered the beginning of the modern Tajik nation, ethnic Persians, along with some elements of East-Iranian Bactrians and Sogdians, as the main ancestors of modern Tajiks.
In works, Frye expands on the complexity of the historical origins of the Tajiks. In a 1996 publication, Frye explains that many "factors must be taken into account in explaining the evolution of the peoples whose remnants are the Tajiks in Central Asia" and that "the peoples of Central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them." Regarding Tajiks, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:The Tajiks are the direct descendants of the Iranian peoples whose continuous presence in Central Asia and northern Afghanistan is attested from the middle of the 1st millennium bc. The ancestors of the Tajiks constituted the core of the ancient population of Khwārezm and Bactria, which formed part of Transoxania. Over the course of time, the eastern Iranian dialect, used by the ancient Tajiks gave way to Farsi, a western dialect spoken in Iran and Afghanistan; the geographical division between the eastern and western Iranians is considered and to be the desert Dasht-e Kavir, situated in the center of the Iranian plateau.
According to John Perry The most plausible and accepted origin of the word is Middle Persian tāzīk'Arab', or an Iranian cognate word. The Muslim armies that invaded Transoxiana early in the eighth century, conquering the Sogdian principalities and clashing with the Qarluq Turks consisted not only of Arabs, but of Persian converts from Fārs and the central Zagros region. Hence the Turks of Central Asia adopted a variant of the Iranian word, täžik, to designate their Muslim adversaries in general. For example, the rulers of the south Indian Chalukya dynasty and Rashtrakuta dynasty referred to the Arabs as "Tajika" in the 8th and 9th century. By the eleventh century, the Qarakhanid Turks applied this term more to the Persian Muslims in the Oxus basin and Khorasan, who were variously the Turks' rivals, models and subjects. Persian writers of the Ghaznavid, Seljuq and Atābak periods adopted the term and extended its use to cover Persians in the rest of Greater Iran, now under Turkish rule, as early as the poet ʿOnṣori, ca.
1025. Iranians soon accepted it as an ethnonym, as is shown by a Persian court official's referring to mā tāzikān "we Tajiks"; the distinction between Turk and Tajik became stereotyped to express the symbiosis and rivalry of the nomadic military executive and the urban civil bureaucracy. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the oldest known usage of the word Tajik as a reference to Persians in Persian literature can be found in the writings of the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi; the 15th century Turkic-speaking poet Mīr Alī Šer Navā'ī used Tajik as a reference to Persians. An exampl
Kuran wa Munjan District
Kuran wa Munjan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. Located in the Hindu Kush mountains, the district is home to 8,000 residents; the district administrative center is Kuran wa Munjan. The district is in the southwest corner of the province, is bordered on its northeast side by the Jurm and Zebak Districts. Most of the district's boundaries are adjacent to other Afghan provinces, but a small section on the eastern edge of the district lies on the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan; the epicenter of the October 26 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was 45 km north of here. Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services
Wakhan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. The total population for the district is about 13,000 residents; the district has three international borders: Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan to the south, Afghanistan's only border with China to the east. The capital of the district is the village of Khandud, which has a population of 1,244. Wakhan Wakhan Corridor Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services
Shighnan District is one of the 28 districts of the Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. It's part of the history region of Shighnan, today divided between Afghanistan and Tajikistan; the district borders the Panj River and Tajikistan in the northeast, the Maimay district to the west, the Raghistan district in the southwest, the Kohistan, Arghanj Khwa, Shuhada districts in the south, the Ishkashim district in the southeast. The Khowar, Tajiks and Pamiris are the major ethnic groups. Pashto and Persian are spoken; this District has a population of 27,750 >Shighnan District