Herat is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the western part of the country. Together with Badghis and Ghor provinces, it makes up the north-western region of Afghanistan, its primary city and administrative capital is Herat City. The province of Herat contains over 1,000 villages, it has a population of about 1,780,000, making it the second most populated province in Afghanistan behind Kabul Province. The population is multi-ethnic but Persian-speaking. Herat province shares border with Iran in the west and Turkmenistan in the north, making it an important trading province; the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is expected to pass through Herat from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India in the south. The province has two airports, one is the Herat International Airport in the capital of Herat and the other is at the Shindand Air Base, one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan; the Salma Dam, fed by the Hari River is located in this province. The region of Herat was part of Greater Khorasan, successively controlled by the Tahirids followed by the Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ilkhanates, Safavids, Afsharids, Qajarids until it became part of the modern state of Afghanistan.
During the 19th century, the British arrived from southern Afghanistan as part of its imperialistic policies and backed up the Afghans during one Persian siege and one capture of the city, the former in 1838, the latter in 1856 in order to prevent Persian or Russian influence reaching deeper in South Asia, more Britain's colony India as part of the Great Game. In the process, parts of the city of Herat were destroyed; the province remained peaceful until the 1979 Soviet invasion. The province saw a number of battles during the 1980s Soviet war, remained an active area of guerrilla warfare throughout, with local mujahideen commander Ismail Khan leading resistance against the Soviet-backed Afghan government; this continued until the Soviet Union withdrew all its forces in 1989. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, Ismail Khan became the governor of the province, a position he retained until the Taliban forces from the south took control of the province in 1995. Following the ousting of the Taliban and establishment of the Karzai administration, led by Hamid Karzai, Ismail Khan once again became governor of Herat.
Ismail Khan become a figure of controversy when the media began reporting that he was attempting to restrict freedom of the people, that he was becoming more of an independent ruler as a warlord. He lost a son Mirwais Sadiq in 2004 during a fight with forces of other warlords. In response to this, the central government began expanding into the provide with the newly trained Afghan National Security Forces. Ismail Khan was ordered to leave his post to live in Kabul. After 2005, the International Security Assistance Force established presence in the area to help assist the Afghan government, it is led by Italy. A multi-national Provincial Reconstruction Team was established to help the local population of the province; the United States established a consulate in Herat, trained Afghan security forces, built schools, clinics. Herat was one of the first seven areas that transitioned security responsibility from NATO to Afghanistan. On July 21, 2011, Afghan security forces assumed lead security responsibility from NATO.
On the occasion, Minister of Defense Wardak told the audience, "this is our national responsibility to take over our security and defend our country." The current governor of the province is Mohammad Asif Rahimi, before him was Fazlullah Wahidi who had succeeded Daud Shah Saba in 2013. The provincial Police Chief, who leads the regular Afghan National Police and the Afghan Border Police, is responsible for all law enforcement activities; the Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabull. The province is home to 90% of Afghanistan's Saffron production. In 2015 the World Bank noted that saffron cultivation had provided Herat Province's farmers a steady source of income, jobs for both men and women, a decreased dependency on poppy cultivation. With international borders to Iran and Turkmenistan and an international airport, trade could play an important part in the economy of Herat Province. Due to the lack of urbanization in Herat Province, around 75% of the population lives in rural areas and economic activity is correspondingly reliant on agriculture and horticulture production with around 82% of economic activity coming from these fields in 2011.
Marble manufacturing and light industry comprised the remaining areas of economic activity. The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 31% in 2005 to 28% in 2011; the percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 24% in 2005 to 25% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 36% in 2005 to 25% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate fell from 55% in 2005 to 52% in 2011. Herat University is Afghanistan's second largest university with over 10,000 students, 14 faculties and 45 departments in 2014; the total population of the province is about 1,780,000. Persian-speaking Tajiks form the majority. According to Afghanistan's Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development: "Around three quarters of the population of Hirat lives in rural districts while just under a quarter lives in urban areas. Around 50% of the population is male and 50% is female. Dari and Pashtu are spoken by 98% of the populati
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
Shīnḍanḍ District is one of the 16 districts of Herat Province, in western Afghanistan, is situated in the southern part of that province. It borders Adraskan District to the north, Ghor Province to the east and Farah Province to the south and west; the population was 173,800. The district center is the town of Shindand, which boasts a active market area. Shindand Air Base is located near the town; the main Herat-Kandahar road passes through the district. The Zerkoh Valley is in the district, its ancient name was Esfezar as still an Iranian small city, more a village, close to the border of Afghanistan on the Iranian side. Notable historical sites in Shindand include Qala Rustam-Zal. Shindand District is divided into five bigger districts, namely: Zawol, Poshteh-Koh, Kooh-Zoor and Qasaba. Shindand District is one of the most diverse and wide districts in Afghanistan, representing thirty different Afghan tribes which include both Tajik and Pashtun groups and sub-groups. Ismail Khan, the current Minister of Energy and Water is still ruling in this district and have major support, specially among his Tajik fellows.
Ismail Khan hails from Shindand province. In terms of tribal and ethnic groups, Shindand is one of the most diverse districts in Herat Province. Around 60 percent of the population is Pashtun and around 40% percent consists of Tajik and Aimaq Hazara and some Balochi people. However, sixty percent of Tajiks live within the city of Shindand, which includes Qasaba and surrounding districts; the main languages spoken in the district are Dari Persian. Shindand enjoys winds all year long. Though the winds pick up during the months of May through September, called Badayeh-Sado-Bist Roozeh; the rainy season is from November/December to March/April. AIMS District Map photos of Shindand District Robert Lankenau, 2005-03
The Citadel of Herat known as the Citadel of Alexander, locally known as Qala Iktyaruddin, is located in the center of Herat in Afghanistan. It dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan after the Battle of Gaugamela. Many empires have used it as a headquarters in the last 2,000 years, was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries; this historic citadel was saved from demolition in the 1950s, was excavated and restored by UNESCO between 1976 and 1979. From decades of wars and neglect, the citadel began to crumble but in recent years several international organizations decided to rebuild it; the National Museum of Herat is housed inside the citadel, while the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture is the caretaker of the whole premises. Herat, in the fertile valley of Hari River, was settled as early as the sixth century BC. A mound located to the north of the Old City, known as Kuhandazh may have been the site of the fort that Alexander the Great built in 330 BC following his conquest of the Achaemenid city known as Artacoana or Aria.
After the depart of Alexander, Herat was ruled by the Seleucids, Kushans, Hephthalites, Tahirids, Samanids, Seljuk and Ghurids. Located half a kilometer to the south of Kuhandaz and aligned with the cardinal axes, the walled city described by early Arab geographers had four gates leading into crossing commercial avenues and a square citadel adjoining the northern city wall; this citadel, suggested as another possible site for Alexander's fort, is known today as the famous Citadel of Herat. Herat thrived with the Silk Road trade from the Levant to India and China, became an important city of the Ghurid dynasty in 1175; the city was destroyed in 1221 by the Mongol army and rebuilt by the Kartid governors who established their rule based in Herat by the mid-thirteenth century. Kartid Amir Fakhr al-Din in 1299/1300 reinforced the citadel's towers, walls and moat, added a walled maidan to its west to serve as an open-air mosque, his successor Ghiyath al-Din built two palaces inside the citadel to the east.
The name Ikhtiyar al-Din, which refers to both the eastern and western enclosures, is thought to be the name or epithet of a Kartid amir or military commander. Destroyed a second time by Timur's army, the citadel was rebuilt after Shah Rukh moved his capital to Herat and began a building campaign, he fired brick and covered its exterior with glazed tiles. The citadel was used as a royal residence, treasury and arsenal under the Hotaki dynasty/Durrani Empire in the 18th century, it suffered some damage during the Anglo-Afghan War in the 19th century. A modern citadel was built to its north in the mid-19th century to take over its defensive function; the citadel was saved from demolition in the 1950s, was excavated and restored by UNESCO between 1976 and 1979. It suffered more damages during the last decades of wars and neglect; the citadel of Herat was renovated between 2006 and 2011. It consists of two walled enclosures; the latest restoration involved hundreds of Afghan craftsmen and funds from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and about $2.4 million from the U.
S. and German governments. The older compound to the east, found filled with debris, was excavated to reveal two courtyard structures, it has a rectangular plan measuring about eighteen by forty-two meters, it is protected with thirteen semi-circular towers, including two flanking a west-facing gate. It is known as the Upper Citadel, based on its elevated site, is built of fired bricks; the Kartid addition to the west, known as the Lower Citadel, has lower walls of baked brick and includes Timurid period military structures. Its polygonal plan measures about twenty-five by sixty meters with nine circular towers, of which six survive along the south and west walls; the tall Malik Tower on its western wall is thought to be named after a Kartid malik and retains segments of its Timurid glazed tile decoration, including parts of a Kufic inscriptive band. An Ethnographic Museum, a Military Museum, Handicraft Workshops and an Archaeological Museum were set up inside the Lower Citadel after the 1970s restoration, while the Upper Citadel was opened to visitors as an Open Air Archaeological Museum, with a northern section reconstructed as a traditional residence.
About 1,100 items from the Herat region are stored inside the museum at the citadel, of which 250 are on display currently. At a ceremony in October 2011, U. S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker stated that: "Until 35 years ago, tourists from around the world came here to experience heritage and incomparable national landscapes... We look forward to the day when Afghans and visitors from around the world will once again come here to learn about Afghanistan's rich history and enjoy the great hospitality and beauty that this land and its people have to offer." Present on the occasion was Afghan-expert Nancy Dupree and this is what she had to say: "I've been here many times, but it was crumbling... This is impressive.... I think the most exciting thing is to see something accomplished. I have seen so many half-finished things." The $2.4 million sandcastle: Crumbling ancient citadel in Afghanistan restored to its former glory
Chishti Sharif District
Chishti Sharif District is the most easterly district in Herat Province, situated along the Hari River and one of its northern tributaries. It borders with Obe District to the west, Badghis Province to the north and Ghor Province to the east and south; the population was estimated at 23,100 in 2012. The district administrative center is the village of Chishti Sharif; the district contains 170 km of gravel roads. Districts of Afghanistan Map of Settlements IMMAP, September 2011
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
Goharshād Begum was a wife of Shāhrukh, the Emperor of the Timurid Empire of Herāt. She was the daughter of Giāth ud-Din Tarkhān, an important and influential noble during Tīmur's reign. According to family traditions, the title Tarkhān was given to the family by Genghis Khan personally. Goharshad was married to Sharukh in 1388 before 1394 when their son, Ulugh Beg was born, it was a successful marriage, according to the ballads of Herat which sing of Shahrukh's love for her. But little is known of their first forty years together, except. Along with her brothers who were administrators at the Timurid court in Herat, Goharshad played a important role in the early Timurid history. In 1405 she moved the Timurid capital from Samarkand to Herat, she was instrumental in the construction of Herat's Mousallah Complex. Under her patronage, the Persian language and Persian culture were elevated to a main element of the Timurid dynasty, she and her husband led a cultural renaissance by their lavish patronage of the arts, attracting to their court artists and philosophers and poets acknowledged today among the world's most illustrious, including the poet Jami.
Many exquisite examples of Timurid architecture remain in Herat today. After the death of her husband in 1447 Goharshad maneuvered her favorite grandson to the throne. For ten years she became the de facto ruler of an empire stretching from the Tigris to the borders of China; when she was well past 80, she was executed on 19 July 1457 on the order of Sultān Abū Sa'īd. According to legend, Goharshad once inspected a mosque and a religious school in Herat accompanied by two hundred female attendants, after it had been cleared of its students, all of whom were male. One youth remained, having fallen asleep in his cell, was discovered by an attendant and seduced; when Goharshad found out, she ordered that all two hundred of her attendants be married to the students. Goharshad's tomb is located next to the madrasah that she had built, of which the minaret remains until this day. A women's university in Kabul that opened in 2003 bears the name of Goharshad Goharshad had a mosque built in 1418 in Mashad, Khorasan.
Her sister, Gohar-Tāj has a tomb in Khorasan