Helmand known as Hillmand or Helman, and, in ancient times, as Hermand and Hethumand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, in the south of the country. It is the largest province by area; the province contains 13 districts, encompassing over 1,000 villages, 879,500 settled people. Lashkar Gah serves as the provincial capital. Helmand was part of the Greater Kandahar region until made into a separate province by the Afghan government in the 20th century; the province has a domestic airport, in the city of Lashkar Gah and used by NATO-led forces. The British Camp Bastion and U. S. Camp Leatherneck is a short distance southwest of Lashkar Gah; the Helmand River flows through the desert region of the province, providing water used for irrigation. The Kajaki Dam, one of Afghanistan's major reservoirs, is located in the Kajaki district. Helmand is believed to be one of the world's largest opium-producing regions, responsible for around 42% of the world's total production; this is believed to be more than the whole of Burma, the second largest producing nation after Afghanistan.
The region produces tobacco, sugar beets, sesame, mung beans, nuts, onions, tomato, peanut, apricot and melon. Since the 2001 War in Afghanistan, Helmand Province has been a hotbed of insurgent activities, it has been considered to be Afghanistan's "most dangerous" province. Helmand culture of western Afghanistan was a Bronze Age culture of the 3rd millennium BC, it is exemplified by such major sites as Shahr-i Sokhta and Bampur. The term "Helmand civilization" was proposed by M. Tosi; this civilization flourished between 2500 BC and 1900 BC, may have coincided with the great flourishing of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This was the final phase of Periods III and IV of Shahr-i Sokhta, the last part of Mundigak Period IV. According to Jarrige et al.... The pottery of Mundigak I, the earliest occupation of the “Helmand” cultural complex, corresponds to the Mehrgarh III pottery, in technique — quality of the paste and manufacture — as well as in the shapes and decoration within a phase dated to the end of the 5th millennium."
There were links between Shahr-i Sokhta I, II and III periods, Mundigak III and IV periods, between the sites of Balochistan and the Indus valley at the end of the 4th millennium, as well as in the first half of the 3rd millennium BC. Jiroft culture is related to Helmand culture. Jiroft culture flourished in the eastern Iran, the Helmand culture in western Afghanistan at the same time. In fact, they may represent the same cultural area. Mehrgarh culture, on the other hand, is far earlier. Helmand was inhabited by ancient peoples and governed by the Medes before falling to the Achaemenids; the area was part of the ancient Arachosia polity, a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Asia, which connects Southern and Southwest Asia. The Helmand river valley is mentioned by name in the Avesta as Haetumant, one of the early centers or origins of the Zoroastrian faith, in pre-Islamic Afghan history. However, owing to the preponderance of non-Zoroastrians before the Islamization of Afghanistan – Hindus and Buddhists – the Helmand and Kabul regions were known as "White India" in those days.
Some Vedic scholars believe the Helmand valley corresponds to the Sarasvati area mentioned in the Rig Veda as the homeland for the Indo-Aryan migrations into the Indiab Subcontinent, ca. 1500 BCE. It became part of the Seleucid Empire, it came under the rule of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who erected a pillar there with a bilingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic. The territory was referred to as part of Zabulistan and ruled by the sun-worshipping Hindus Zunbils before the Muslim Arabs arrived in the 7th century, who were led by Abdur Rahman bin Samara, it fell to the Saffarids of Zaranj and saw the first Muslim rule. Mahmud of Ghazni made it part of the Ghaznavids in the 10th century, who were replaced by the Ghurids. After the destructions caused by Genghis Khan and his Mongol army in the 13th century, the Timurids established rule and began rebuilding Afghan cities. From about 1383 until his death in 1407, it was governed by a grandson of Timur. By the early 16th century, it fell to Babur.
However, the area was contested by the Shia Safavids and Sunni Mughals until the rise of Mir Wais Hotak in 1709. He established the Hotaki dynasty; the Hotakis ruled it until 1738 when the Afsharids defeated Shah Hussain Hotaki at what is now Old Kandahar. In 1747, it submitted to Ahmad Shah Durrani and since remained part of the modern state of Afghanistan; some fighting took place during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars between the British and the local Afghans. In 1880, the British assisted the forces of Abdur Rahman Khan in re-establishing Afghan rule over the warring tribes; the area stayed calm for 100 years until the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Helmand was the center of the USAID program in the 1960s to develop the Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority – it became known locally as "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 development program was abandoned when pro-Soviet Union forces seized power in 1978, although much of the province is still irrigated by the HAVA.
More the USAID program has contributed to a counter-narcotics initiative called the Alternative Livelihoods Program
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
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
The Pashtuns known as ethnic Afghans and Pathans, are an Iranian ethnic group who live in Pakistan and Afghanistan in South-Central Asia. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct; the ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors. Their history is spread amongst the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centred on their traditional seat of power in that region. Globally, the Pashtuns are estimated to number around 50 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979; the majority of the Pashtuns live in the region regarded as Pashtunistan, split between the two countries since the Durand Line border was formed after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. There are significant Pashtun diaspora communities in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, in particular in the cities of Karachi and Lahore.
A recent Pashtun diaspora has developed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates. The Pashtuns are a significant minority group in Pakistan, where they constitute the second-largest ethnic group or about 15% of the population; as the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, Pashtuns have been the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years. During the Delhi Sultanate era, the 15th–16th century Lodi dynasty replaced the preexisting rulers in North India until Babur deposed the Lodi dynasty. Other Pashtuns fought the Safavids and Mughals before obtaining an independent state in the early 18th century, which began with a successful revolution by Mirwais Hotak followed by conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani; the Barakzai dynasty played a vital role during the Great Game from the 19th century to the 20th century as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. The Pashtuns are the world's largest segmentary lineage ethnic group. Estimates of the number of Pashtun tribes and clans range from about 350 to over 400.
There have been many notable Pashtun people throughout history: Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, while Bacha Khan was a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj. Some others include Malala Yousafzai, Shah Rukh Khan, Zarine Khan, Imran Khan, Farhad Darya, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Ahmad Zahir, Zakir Husain, Hamid Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Mullah Mohammed Omar; the vast majority of the Pashtuns are found in the traditional Pashtun homeland, located in an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and west of the Indus River in Pakistan, which includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern part of Balochistan. Additional Pashtun communities are located in Western and Northern Afghanistan, the Gilgit–Baltistan and Kashmir regions and northwestern Punjab province, Pakistan. There are sizeable Muslim communities in India, which are of Pashtun ancestry. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are referred to as Pathans. Smaller Pashtun communities are found in the countries of the Middle East, such as in the Khorasan Province of Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, North America and Australia.
Important metropolitan centres of Pashtun culture include Peshawar, Quetta, Mardan and Jalalabad. In Pakistan, the city of Karachi in Sindh province has the largest Pashtun diaspora communities in the world, with as much as 7 million Pashtuns living in Karachi according to some estimates. Several cities in Pakistan's Punjab province have sizeable Pashtun populations, in particular Lahore. About 15% of Pakistan's nearly 200 million population is Pashtun. In Afghanistan, they are the largest ethnic group and make up between 42–60% of the 32.5 million population. The exact figure remains uncertain in Afghanistan, affected by the 1.3 million or more Afghan refugees that remain in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns. Another one million or more Afghans live in Iran. A cumulative population assessment suggests a total of around 49 million individuals all across the world. A prominent institution of the Pashtun people is the intricate system of tribes; the Pashtuns remain a predominantly tribal people, but the trend of urbanisation has begun to alter Pashtun society as cities such as Kandahar, Peshawar and Kabul have grown due to the influx of rural Pashtuns.
Despite this, many people still identify themselves with various clans. The tribal system has several levels of organisation: the tribe, tabar, is divided into kinship groups called khels, in turn divided into smaller groups, each consisting of several extended families called kahols. Pashtun tribes are divided into four'greater' tribal groups: the Sarbani, the Bettani, the Gharghashti, the Karlani. Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that early humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Since the 2nd millennium BC, cities in the region now inhabited by Pashtuns have seen invasions and migrations, including by Ancient Indian peoples, Ancient Iranian peoples, the Medes and Ancient Macedonians in antiquity, Hephthalites, Turks and others. In recent times, people of the Western world have explored the area as well. Most historians acknowledge that the origin of the Pashtuns is some
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
Bahrāmcha is the center of Dishu District in the southern part of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Bahramcha's terrain is carved with sprawling channels that make for ideal ambush spots by Taliban fighters. Along one of many desolate dirt roads in Bahramcha, bordered by a mountain on one side, the Taliban choose to launch their devastating attack against the Afghan Police convoy on October 10, 2005. Bahramcha is a Town in Dishu District Helmand Province next to Balochistan; the district is one of the dangerous places in Helmand Province and the Pakistani Army has tried to take Bahramcha many times. The Bahramcha has been controlled by the Taliban from 2000 to 2016, it was seized from the Taliban in 2010 when forced from 1st LAR Bn seized the town from the Taliban during operation Steel Dawn II. Many members of the Taliban were killed, 1st LAR Bn forces suffered no casualties. 1st LAR Bn subsequently bulldozed the bazar as suicide bombers attempted to hold their defense, unsuccessfully. Http://www.tageo.com/index-e-af-v-10-d-m4786912.htm
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