Kunar is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad, it has a population of about 428,800. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces. N2KL is the designation used by the US and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan for the rugged and violent region along the Durand Line border opposite Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Kunar is the center of the N2KL region. Kunar is the birthplace of an influential Muslim scholar and philosopher. Kunar province is located in the northeast of Afghanistan, it borders with Nangarhar Province to the south, Nuristan 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 of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain while one eighth of the area is made up of flat land; the primary geographic features of the province are the lower Hindu Kush mountains which are cut by the Kunar River to form the Kunar Valley.
The river flows south and southwest from its source in the Pamir area and is part of the Indus River watershed via the Kabul River which it meets at Jalalabad. The Kunar is a primary draining conduit for the Hindu Kush basin and several tributaries, including the Pech, which form distinct and significant valleys in the area; the mountains, narrow valleys with steep walls, rivers present formidable natural obstacles and have constrained all movement through the province. In the early 21st century, movement on foot, with pack animals, or with motorized vehicles is limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions; the region has been part of many empires in the past, from the Seleucid Empire to the latest Afghan Durrani Empire. Many famous historical figures are believed to have visited the area, including Alexander the Great, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Ibn Battuta, others. Archaeologists have dated to AD 800-1000 a fortification system overlooking a Muslim cemetery at Chaga Serai. Babur wrote about Kunar in Baburnama.
He claimed that there was a shrine in Kunar of a preacher and poet Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, said to have died there in 1384 AD. He describes agricultural products: citron, coriander, strong yellow wines, a burial custom wherein a woman whose corpse moved was considered to have done good things in life, he mentions Chaghan-Sarai as a small town, describes the towns folk as Muslims who mixed with the Kafirs of nearby Kafiristan and followed some of their customs. He claims to have captured the town as the Pech river Kafirs tried to help the Chaghan Sarai residents repel his attack. Walter Hamilton's writing in 1828 mentions that the padishah of Cooner was joined in alliance with the neighboring Kafirs of Nuristan in battles against Muslim invaders; the Kafirs were forcibly converted by Abdur Rahman Khan in the 1890s. Some British sources from the Great Game period go into more detail about Kunar. For example, one from 1881 describes the various Kunar Chiefs and their internecine wars, the conflict with Dost Mohammad Khan, their relations with the British, etc.
Names vary with Kunar sometimes being called Kama, or Kashkote, the capital being listed as "Pashoot", not on modern maps. An 1891 book described the Kunar region as split between the lower river area, controlled by Afghan chiefs, the upstream area, where the Kunar river was referred to as the Chitral river; the major town of Chitral was the base of a badshah, who ruled under the Maharajah of Kashmir According to a US Army paper, the Pashtuns of Kunar and the Kafirs of Kunar/Nuristan joined together in the 20th century. Fundamentalist religion came to the region in the 1950s but the heavy unification happened during the Soviet–Afghan War; some of the first anti-government forces rose in the Kunar region. Kerala, a town near Asadabad, was the site of the 1979 Kerala Massacre, where the male population of a village was murdered by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan and its Soviet advisors. Over ten-thousand Soviet and Afghan communist troops invaded the region, resulting in a massive refugee flow of the populace into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
There were Spetsnaz units based in Asadabad, in Jalalabad, other towns. The major mujahideen groups had representation in the area, were successful enough to confine the Communist troops for the most part to their fortifications in the major towns of the Kunar valley. One of the Mujahideen leaders, Jamil al-Rahman, formed a movement that had a strict interpretation of Islam, along the lines of Wahhabism and/or Salafism, he was supported by elements in Saudi Arabia, attracted many Saudis and Egyptians who had come to Afghanistan to fight Jihad. When the Soviets left in 1988, the leader of the Mujahideen group Hizb-i-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, began to fight with Jamil al-Rahman over control of the area. Hekmatyar was victorious and his troops sacked Asadabad. By 1996 however, Mullah Omar's Taliban had driven out Hekmatyar. After the September 11 attacks of 2001, Afghanistan was invaded by United States and other NATO countries provided direct support to the Northern Alliance forces fighting the Taliban regime, toppled and fled to remote areas.
It was part of the War on Terror and to assist the new government, led by Hamid Karzai
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
Balkh is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the north of the country. It is divided into 15 districts and has a population of about 1,245,100, multi-ethnic and a Persian-speaking society; the city of Mazar-i-Sharif serves as the capital of the province. The Mazar-e Sharif International Airport and Camp Marmal sit on the eastern edge of Mazar-i-Sharif; the name of the province is derived from the ancient city near the modern town. The city of Mazar-e-Sharif has been an important stop on the trade routes from the Far East to the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Europe. Home to the famous blue mosque, it was once destroyed by Genghis Khan but rebuilt by Timur; the city of Balkh and the area of Balkh Province was considered a part of various historical regions in history including Ariana and Greater Khorasan. It serves today as Afghanistan's second but main gateway to Central Asia, the other being Sherkhan Bandar in the Kunduz Province. Balkh Province is situated in the northern part of Afghanistan, bordering Turkmenistan in the north-west, bordering Uzbekistan in the north, Tajikistan in the north-east, Kunduz Province in the east, Samangan Province in the south-east, Sar-e Pol Province in the south-west and Jowzjan Province in the west.
The province covers an area of 16,840 km2. Nearly half of the province is mountainous or semi-mountainous terrain while half of the area is made up of flat land; the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2200–1700 BCE, located in present-day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on the upper Amu Darya, in area covering ancient Bactria. Its sites were named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bakhlo, in what is now northern Afghanistan, Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Margu, the capital of, Merv, in today's Turkmenistan; the early Greek historian Ctesias c. 400 BCE alleged that the legendary Assyrian king Ninus had defeated a Bactrian king named Oxyartes in ca. 2140 BC, or some 1000 years before the Trojan War. Since the discovery of cuneiform enabled actual Assyrian records to be deciphered in the 19th century, historians have ascribed little value to the Greek account.
According to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Indo-European tribes who moved south-west into what is today Iran and into the north-western Indian Subcontinent around 2500–2000 BCE. It became the northern province of the Achaemenid Empire, it was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zoroaster was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was one of the old Iranian languages, is the oldest attested member of the Eastern Iranian branch of the Iranian language family, it is suggested by E. Herzfeld, it was annexed by the Achaemenid Persians in the 6th century BCE and together with Margiana it formed the twelfth satrapy of the Achaemenids. After Darius III of Persia was defeated by Alexander the Great and killed in the ensuing chaos, his murderer Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, tried to organize a national resistance based on his satrapie but was captured by other warlords and delivered to Alexander.
He was tortured and killed. Alexander the Great conquered Persia. However, in the south, beyond the Oxus, he met strong resistance. After two years of war Bactria was occupied by the Macedonians, but Alexander never subdued the people. After Alexander's death, the Macedonian Empire was divided up between several generals in Alexander's army. Bactria became part of the founder of the Seleucid Empire. "The famed Bactrian Empire of a thousand cities, wallowing in wealth" The many difficulties against which the Seleucid kings had to fight and the attacks of Ptolemy II of Egypt gave Diodotus, satrap of Bactria, the opportunity to declare independence and conquer Sogdiana. He was the founder of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Diodotus and his successors were able to maintain themselves against the attacks of the Seleucids—particularly from Antiochus III the Great, defeated by the Romans; the Greco-Bactrians were so powerful that they were able to expand their territory as far as India: "As for Bactria, a part of it lies alongside Aria towards the north, though most of it lies above Aria and to the east of it.
And much of it produces everything except oil. The Greeks who caused Bactria to revolt grew so powerful on account of the fertility of the country that they became masters, not only of Bactria and beyond, but of India, as Apollodorus of Artemita says: and more tribes were subdued by them than by Alexander...."The Greco-Bactrians used Greek language for administrative purposes, the local Bactrian language was Hellenized, as suggested by its adoption of the Greek alphabet and Greek loanwords. In turn, some of these words were borrowed by modern Pashto, the language of Afghanistan; the weakness of the Greco-Bactrians was shown by its sudden and complete overthrow, first by the Sakas, by the Yuezhi, who had conquered Bactria by the time of the visit of the Chinese envoy Zhang Qian, sent by the Han emperor to investigate land
Nari District is a mountainous district in the eastern part of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It borders Bar Kunar District to the west, Nuristan Province to the north, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the east and Dangam district to the south; the population was reported in 2006 as 24,500. The district center is the village of Nari 35.2103°N 71.5250°E / 35.2103. The arable land is not enough; the residents collect wood and beans and sell them. Districts of Afghanistan AIMS District Map District Profile Building Bridges in the Back of Beyond Washington Post May 1, 2008
Darwaz-e Bala District
Darwaz-e Bala known as Nusay, is a district in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. It was created in 2005 from part of Darwaz District, it is home to 11,000 residents. This district borders the Shekay, Kuf Ab, Maimay districts, along with districts in Darvoz, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan; the district was part of the Darvaz principality, a semi-independent statelet ruled by a mir. Badakhshan Province Map – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Nuristan spelled Nurestan or Nooristan, is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country. It is divided into seven districts and has a population of about 140,900. Parun serves as the provincial capital, it was known as Kafiristan until the inhabitants were forcibly converted from an animist religion a form of ancient Hinduism infused with local variations, to Islam in 1895, thence the region has become known as Nuristan. The region was located in an area surrounded by Buddhist civilizations which were taken over by Muslims; the origins of the Nuristani has been disputed, ranging from being the indigenous inhabitants forced to flee to this region after refusing to surrender to Muslim invaders, to being linked to various ancient groups of people and the Turk Shahi kings. The primary occupations are agriculture, animal husbandry, 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 Alingar, Landai Sin, Kunar rivers.
Nuristan is bordered on the south by Laghman and Kunar provinces, on the north by Badakhshan province, on the west by Panjshir province, on the east by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The surrounding area fell to Alexander the Great in 330 BC, it fell to Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryas introduced Buddhism to the region, were attempting to expand their empire to Central Asia until they faced local Greco-Bactrian forces. Seleucus is said to have reached a peace treaty with Chandragupta by giving control of the territory south of the Hindu Kush to the Mauryas upon intermarriage and 500 elephants. Before their conversion to Islam, the Nuristanis or Kafir people practiced a form of ancient Hinduism infused with locally developed accretions, they were called "kafirs" due to their enduring paganism while other regions around them became Muslim. However, the influence from district names in Kafiristan of Katwar or Kator and the ethnic name Kati has been suggested; the area extending from modern Nuristan to Kashmir was known as "Peristan", a vast area containing host of "Kafir" cultures and Indo-European languages that became Islamized over a long period.
Earlier, it was surrounded by Buddhist areas. The Islamization of the nearby Badakhshan began in the 8th century and Peristan was surrounded by Muslim states in the 16th century with Islamization of Baltistan; the Buddhist states temporarily brought state rule into the region. The decline of Buddhism resulted in it becoming isolated. There have been varying theories about the origins of Kafirs including the Arab tribe of Quraish, or Gabars of Persia, the Greek soldiers of Alexander as well as the Indians of eastern Afghanistan. George Scott Robertson considered them to be part of the old Indian population of Eastern Afghanistan and stated they fled to the mountains after the Muslim invasion in the 10th century, he added they found other races there whom they killed off and enslaved or amalgamated with them. Oral traditions of some of the Nuristanis place themselves to be at the confluence of Kabul River and Kunar River a millennium ago; these traditions state they were driven off from Kandahar to Kabul to Kapisa to Kama with the Muslim invasion.
They identify themselves as late arrivals in Nuristan, being driven by Mahmud of Ghazni who after establishing his empire forced the unsubmissive population to flee. The name Kator was used by last king of the Turk Shahi. Due to its usage by the last Turk-Shahi ruler, it was adopted as a title by the ruler of the north-west region of the Indian subcontinent, comprising Chitral and Kafiristan; the title "Shah Kator" was assumed by Chitral's ruler Mohtaram Shah who assumed it upon being impressed by the majesty of the erstwhile pagan rulers of Chitral. The theory of Kators being related to Turki Shahis is based on the information of Jami- ut-Tawarikh and Tarikh-i-Binakiti; the region was named after its ruling elite. The royal usage may be the origin behind the name of Kator; the high god of the pre-Islamic Nuristani religion was the god Imra, derived from the Hindu god Yama, was called Mara. Another god was Indr, derived from Indra, he was seen as the brother of the goddess Dishani. There were many other minor gods worshiped in the region.
The region was invaded by forces of Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1896 and most of the people were converted either by force or did so to avoid the jizya: In the end, Kafiristan was subdued, most of its residents either by force or for economic reason - namely to avoid the jizya poll tax - were converted to Islam and the region became known as Nuristan. The region was renamed Nuristan, meaning Land of the enlightened, a reflection of the "enlightening" of the pagan Nuristani by the "light-giving" of Islam. Nuristan was once thought to have been a region through which Alexander the Great passed with a detachment of his army. Abdul Wakil Khan Nuristani is one of the most prominent figures in Nuristan's history, he fought against the British-led Punjabi army and drove them out of the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. He is buried on the same plateau. Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Afghan politicians have been focusing on re-annexing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of what is now Pakistan.
This has led to militancy on both sides of the Durand Line. In the meantime, Pakistani politicians have been focusing on connecting what is now Tajikistan with
Afghanistan the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get hot in summers. Kabul serves as its largest city. Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia; the land has been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, British and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires"; the land served as the source from which the Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Hotaks and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire, its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until 50 years when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and a Soviet Union protectorate; this evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years.
The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed, but they still control a significant portion of the country. Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 31 million composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan's economy is the world's 108th largest, with a GDP of $64.08 billion. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, documented in the 10th-century geography book Hudud ul-'alam; the root name "Afghan" was used in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, the suffix "-stan" means "place of" in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more in a historical sense, to land of the Pashtuns. However, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that "he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan."
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites; the country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire. Many empires and kingdoms have risen to power in Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids and the Hotak and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan and India. In more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic