Hazāristān or Hazārajāt is a mountainous region in the central highlands of Afghanistan, among the Koh-i-Baba mountains in the western extremities of the Hindu Kush. It is the homeland of the Hazara people. "Hazārajāt denotes an ethnic and religious zone rather than a geographical one—that of Afghanistan's Turko-Mongol Shiʿites." Hazarajat is made up of the provinces of Bamyan, Daykundi and large parts of Ghazni, Urozgan and Wardak. The most populous towns in Hazarajat are Bamyan, Nili, Lal wa Sarjangal, Sang-e-Masha and Behsud; the Kabul, Helmand, Hari, Murghab and Kunduz rivers originate in Hazarajat. The name "Hazarajat" first appears in the 16th-century book Baburnama, written by Mughal Emperor Babur; when the famous geographer Ibn Battuta arrived in Afghanistan in 1333, he travelled across the country but did not record any place by the name of Hazarajat or any Hazara people. It was not mentioned by previous geographers, adventurers or invaders either; the name Hazarajat is used by the Hazara people, surrounding peoples to identify the historic Hazara lands.
The term might be linguistically compounded the suffix jat. Maqdesi, an Arab geographer, named Hazarajat as Gharj Al-Shar-Gharj meaning "mountain" area ruled by chiefs; the region was known as Gharjistan in the late Middle Ages, though the exact locations of main cities still remain unidentified. The name Hazarajat first appears in the 16th century Baburnama, written by Mughal Emperor Babur; the Hazarajat lies in the central highlands of Afghanistan, among the Koh-i Baba mountains and the western extremities of the Hindu Kush. "Its boundaries have been inexact and shifting, in some respects Hazārajāt denotes an ethnic and religious zone rather than a geographical one–that of Afghanistan’s Turko-Mongol Shiʿites. Its physical boundaries, are marked by the Bā-miān Basin to the north, the headwaters of the Helmand River to the south, Firuzkuh to the west, the Unai Pass to the east; the regional terrain is mountainous and extends to the Safid Kuh and the Siāh Kuh mountains, where the highest peaks are between 15,000 to 17,000 feet.
Both sides of the Kuh-e Bābā range contain a succession of valleys. The north face of the range descends steeply, merging into low foothills and short semi-arid plains, while the south face stretches towards the Helmand Valley and the mountainous district of Besud."Northwestern Hazarajat encompasses the district of Ghor, long known for its mountain fortresses. The 10th century geographer Estakhri wrote that mountainous Ghor was "the only region surrounded on all sides by Islamic territories and yet inhabited by infidels." The long resistance of the inhabitants of Ghor to the adoption of Islam provides an indication of the region's inaccessibility. The language of the inhabitants of Ghor differed so much from that of the people of the plains, that communication between the two required interpreters; the northeastern part of the Hazarajat, is the site of ancient Bamyan, a center of Buddhism and a key caravanserai on the Silk Road. The town is situated at a height of 7,500 feet and surrounded by the Hindu Kush to the north and Koh-i Baba to the south.
The Hazarajat was considered part of the larger geographic region of Khurasan, the porous boundaries of which encompassed the vast region between the Caspian Sea and the Oxus River, thus including much of what is today Northern Iran and Afghanistan. Hazarajat is mountainous, a series of mountain passes extend along its eastern edge. One of them, Salang Pass, is blocked by snow six months out of the year. Another, Shibar Pass, at a lower elevation, is blocked by snow only two months out of the year. Bamyan is the colder part of the region. Hazarajat is the source of the rivers that run through Kabul, Helmand, Murghab and Kunduz, during the spring and summer months, it has some of the greenest pastures in Afghanistan. Natural lakes, green valleys and caves are found in Bamyan; the area was ruled successively by the Achaemenids, Mauryas and Hephthalites before the Saffarids Islamized it and made it part of their empire. It was taken over by the Samanids, followed by the Ghaznavids and Ghurids before falling to the Delhi Sultanate.
In the 13th century, it was invaded by his Mongol army. In the following decades the Qarlughids emerged to create a short-lived local dynasty that offered a few decades of self-rule; the area became part of the Timurid dynasty, the Mughal Empire and the Durrani Empire, successively. When Alexander the Great travelled north into what is now Afghanistan, "his historians write that Alexander came across a strange people in the region who were more belligerent than the others; the description provided by Kent Corse about the mud houses of the people can be observed by any traveler today." In the 7th century, Hsuen Tsang wrote "that a swift spring gushes from Ho-sa-la and its water divides into several branches. The weather of this place is cold and it snows and hails there, its people are happy and free, they are skilled in magic craft and their language is different from the oth
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. UNHCR was created in 1950, during the aftermaths of World War II, its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and it is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981 and a Prince of Asturias Awards for International Cooperation in 1991. Following the demise of the League of Nations and the formation of the United Nations the international community was acutely aware of the refugee crisis following the end of World War II. In 1947, the International Refugee Organization was founded by the United Nations; the IRO was the first international agency to deal comprehensively with all aspects of refugees' lives. Preceding this was the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, established in 1944 to address the millions of people displaced across Europe as a result of World War II.
In the late 1940s, the IRO fell out of favor, but the UN agreed that a body was required to oversee global refugee issues. Despite many heated debates in the General Assembly, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was founded as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly by Resolution 319 of the United Nations General Assembly of December 1949. However, the organization was only intended to operate for 3 years, from January 1951, due to the disagreement of many UN member states over the implications of a permanent body. UNHCR's mandate was set out in its statute, annexed to resolution 428 of the United Nations General Assembly of 1950; this mandate has been subsequently broadened by numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and its Economic and Social Council. According to UNHCR, mandate is to provide, on a non-political and humanitarian basis, international protection to refugees and to seek permanent solutions for them. Soon after the signing of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, it became clear that refugees were not restricted to Europe.
In 1956, UNHCR was involved in coordinating the response to the uprising in Hungary. Just a year UNHCR was tasked with dealing with Chinese refugees in Hong Kong, while responding Algerian refugees who had fled to Morocco and Tunisia in the wake of Algeria's war for independence; the responses marked the beginning of a wider, global mandate in refugee protection and humanitarian assistance. Decolonization in the 1960s triggered large refugee movements in Africa, creating a massive challenge that would transform UNHCR. By the end of the decade, two-thirds of UNHCR's budget was focused on operations in Africa and in just one decade, the organization's focus had shifted from an exclusive focus on Europe. In 1967, the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees was ratified to remove the geographical and temporal restrictions of UNHCR under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; as the Convention was confined to the refugee crisis in the aftermath of World War II in Europe, the Protocol was made to address the “new refugee situations that have arisen since the Convention was adopted and the refugees concerned that may therefore not fall within the scope of the Convention”.
In the 1970s, UNHCR refugee operations continued to spread around the globe, with the mass exodus of East Pakistanis to India shortly before the birth of Bangladesh. Adding to the woes in Asia was the Vietnam war, with millions fleeing the war-torn country; the 1980s saw new challenges for UNHCR, with many member states unwilling to resettle refugees due to the sharp rise in refugee numbers over the 1970s. These refugees were not fleeing wars between states, but inter-ethnic conflict in newly independent states; the targeting of civilians as military strategy added to the displacement in many nations, so even'minor' conflicts could result in a large number of displaced persons. Whether in Asia, Central America or Africa, these conflicts, fueled by superpower rivalry and aggravated by socio-economic problems within the concerned countries, durable solutions continued to prove a massive challenge for the UNHCR; as a result, the UNHCR became more involved with assistance programs within refugee camps located in hostile environments.
The end of the Cold War marked continued inter-ethnic conflict and contributed to refugee flight. In addition, humanitarian intervention by multinational forces became more frequent and the media began to play a big role in the lead up to the 1999 NATO mission in Yugoslavia, while by contrast, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide had little attention; the genocide in Rwanda caused a massive refugee crisis, again highlighting the difficulties for UNHCR to uphold its mandate, the UNHCR continued to battle against restrictive asylum policies in so called'rich' nations. UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 and succeeded the earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration; the agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, it strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third c
Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the country. It is a municipality, forming part of the greater Kabul Province. According to estimates in 2015, the population of Kabul is 4.635 million, which includes all the major ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the world's 75th largest city. Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush mountains, with an elevation of 1,790 metres making it one of the highest capitals in the world; the city is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire. It is at a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia, a key location of the ancient Silk Road, it has been part of the Achaemenids followed by the Seleucids, Greco Bactrians, Indo Greeks, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Qarlughids, Timurids and Hotaks, until becoming part of the Durrani Empire in 1747. Kabul became the capital of Afghan Empire in 1776, during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.
In the early 19th century, the British occupied the city but after establishing foreign relations they were compelled to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan. The city was occupied by the Soviets in 1979 but they too abandoned it after the 1988 Geneva Accords were signed. A civil war in the 1990s between various rebel groups destroyed much of the city, resulting in many casualties. Kabul is known for its gardens and palaces, it was formerly a mecca for young western hippies. Since the removal of the Taliban from power in late 2001, the city began rebuilding itself with assistance from the international community. Despite the many terrorist attacks by anti-state elements, the city is developing and was the fifth fastest-growing city in the world as of 2012; the city is divided into 22 districts. Kabul is spelled as Cabool, Kabol, or Cabul; the origin of Kabul, who built it and when, is unknown. The Hindu Rigveda, composed between 1500–1200 BCE and one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism, the Avesta, the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, refer to the Kabul River and to a settlement called Kubha.
The Rigveda refers to Kubha as an "ideal city" and a vision of paradise set in the mountains and is full of poems in praise of the city. The Kabul valley was part of the Median Empire. In 549 BC, the Median Empire was annexed by Cyrus The Great and Kabul became part the Achaemenid Empire. During that period, Kabul became a center of learning for Zoroastrianism, followed by Buddhism. An inscription on Darius the Great's tombstone lists Kabul as one of the 29 countries of the Achaemenid Empire; when Alexander annexed the Achaemenid Empire, the Kabul region came under his control. After his death, his empire was seized by his general Seleucus, becoming part of the Seleucid Empire; the Greco-Bactrians took control of Kabul from the Seleucids lost the city to their subordinates in the Indo-Greek Kingdom around the mid-2nd century BC. Buddhism was patronized by the rulers and majority of people of the city were adherents of the religion. Indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the city to the Kushan Empire about 100 years later.
Some historians ascribe Kabul the Sanskrit name of Kamboja. It is mentioned as Kophene in some classical writings. Hsuan Tsang refers to the city as Kaofu in the 7th century AD, the appellation of one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi who had migrated from across the Hindu Kush into the Kabul valley around the beginning of the Christian era, it was conquered by Kushan Emperor Kujula Kadphises in about 45 AD and remained Kushan territory until at least the 3rd century AD. The Kushans were Indo-European-speaking Tocharians from the Tarim Basin. Around 230 AD, the Kushans were defeated by the Sassanid Empire and replaced by Sassanid vassals known as the Indo-Sassanids. During the Sassanian period, the city was referred to as "Kapul" in Pahlavi scripts. Kapol in the Persian language means Royal Bridge, due to the main bridge on the Kabul River that connected the east and west of the city. In 420 AD the Indo-Sassanids were driven out of Afghanistan by the Xionite tribe known as the Kidarites, who were replaced in the 460s by the Hephthalites.
It became part of the surviving Turk Shahi Kingdom of Kapisa known as Kabul-Shahan. According to Táríkhu-l Hind by Al-Biruni, Kabul was governed by princes of Turkic lineage whose rule lasted for about 60 generations; the Kabul rulers built a defensive wall around the city to protect it from enemy raids. This wall has survived until today, it was held by the Tibetan Empire between 801 and 815. The Islamic conquest reached modern-day Afghanistan in 642 AD, at a time. A number of failed expeditions were made to Islamize the region. In one of them, Abdur Rahman bin Samana arrived to Kabul from Zaranj in the late 600s and converted 12,000 inhabitants to Islam before abandoning the city. Muslims were a minority until Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar of Zaranj conquered Kabul in 870 and established the first Islamic dynasty in the region, it was reported. Kábul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by one road. In it there are Musulmáns, it has a town, in which are infidels from Hind. Over the following centuries, the city was successively controlled by the Samanids, Ghurids, Kh
The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan waging war within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada; the leadership is based in Pakistan. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over three quarters of Afghanistan, enforced there a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law; the Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and consisted of students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan, educated in traditional Islamic schools, fought during the Soviet–Afghan War. Under the leadership of Mohammed Omar, the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, sequestering power from the Mujahideen warlords; the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was established in 1996 and the Afghan capital was transferred to Kandahar. It held control of most of the country until being overthrown after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001 following the September 11 attacks.
At its peak, formal diplomatic recognition of the Taliban's government was acknowledged by only three nations: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. The group regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the War in Afghanistan; the Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans women. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, 80% in 2012. Taliban has engaged in cultural genocide, destroying numerous monuments including the famous 1500-year old Buddhas of Bamiyan.
The Taliban's ideology has been described as combining an "innovative" form of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and the militant Islamism and Salafi jihadism of Osama bin Laden with Pashtun social and cultural norms known as Pashtunwali, as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and military are alleged by the international community and the Afghan government to have provided support to the Taliban during their founding and time in power, of continuing to support the Taliban during the insurgency. Pakistan states. In 2001 2,500 Arabs under command of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban; the word Taliban is طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib, using the Persian plural ending -ān ان. In Arabic طالبان ṭālibān means not "students" but "two students", as it is a dual form, the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb—occasionally causing some confusion to Arabic speakers.
Since becoming a loanword in English, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban", rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan, the word Talibans is used when referring to more than one Taliban; the spelling Taliban has come to be predominant over Taleban in English. After the Soviet Union intervened and occupied Afghanistan in 1979, Islamic mujahideen fighters engaged in war with those Soviet forces. Pakistan's President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq feared that the Soviets were planning to invade Balochistan, Pakistan, so he sent Akhtar Abdur Rahman to Saudi Arabia to garner support for the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation forces. A while the US CIA and Saudi Arabic General Intelligence Directorate funneled funding and equipment through the PakistanI Inter-Service Intelligence Agency to the Afghan mujahideen. About 90,000 Afghans, including Mohammed Omar, were trained by Pakistan's ISI during the 1980s.
The British Professor Carole Hillenbrand concluded that the Taliban have arisen from those US-Saudi-Pakistan-supported mujahideen: "The West helped the Taliban to fight the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan". After the fall of the Soviet-backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, many Afghan political parties, but not Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, Hizb-e Wahdat, Ittihad-i Islami, in April agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement, the Peshawar Accord, which created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period. Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami party refused to recognize the interim government, in April infiltrated Kabul to take power for itself, thus starting this civil war. In May, Hekmatyar started attacks against Kabul. Hekmatyar received operational and military support from Pakistan's ISI. With that help, Hekmatyar's forces were able to destroy half of Kabul. Iran assisted the Hizb-e Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari. Saudi Arabia supported the Ittihad-i Islami faction.
The conflict between these militias escalated into war. Due to this sudden initiation of civil war, working g
The Kabul–Kandahar Highway is a 483-kilometer road linking Afghanistan's two largest cities and Kandahar, passing through Maidan Shar, Saydabad and Qalati Ghilji. This highway is a key portion of Afghanistan's national road system or "Ring Road"; the entire highway from Kandahar to Kabul is with no mountain passes. 35 percent of Afghanistan's population lives within 50 km of the Kabul to Kandahar portion of the Ring Road. The Kabul-Kandahar highway was in major disrepair due to over two decades of neglect; the United States funded the rebuilding of 389 km of road, while Japan funded 50 km. About 43 km of the highway were usable prior to the repairs; the rebuilding project was overseen by the Louis Berger Group, with assistance in planning and design by Turkish and Indian engineers. Phase one of paving was completed in December 2003 and the highway was opened to traffic; the journey from Kandahar to Kabul took travelers 18 hours but, since the rebuilding, has been shortened to 6 hours. The Kabul–Kandahar Highway traverses the provinces of Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni and Kandahar.
As of early 2004, Taliban fighters continued to harass travelers of the corridor. Afghan guards, soldiers and workers have been killed along the route. In October 2003, they kidnapped a Turkish contractor, that December they kidnapped two Indian workers. In February 2004, Taliban rebels shot down a Louis Berger Group helicopter. In March 2004, rebels murdered an Afghan guard. Another Turkish engineer and a translator were kidnapped; this action prompted the United States to set up small civilian-military teams in three locations along the route. These teams no longer exist. On May 8, 2016, a major vehicular crash killed at least 73 and injured over 50 people along the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Moqor District of Ghazni Province. Two buses traveling from Kabul to Kandahar collided with a fuel tanker; the vehicles were speeding to avoid ambush by the Taliban. At least 35 persons died in September 2016. Kandahar–Herat Highway Salih, Salih Muhammad. "Death stalks the highway to hell". Asia Times Online. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Kandahār or Qandahār is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 557,118. Kandahar is located in the south of the country at an elevation of 1,010 m, it is the capital of Kandahar Province, the center of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire. Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 300 years, it is a major trading center for sheep, cotton, felt, food grains and dried fruit, tobacco. The region produces fine fruits pomegranates and grapes, the city has plants for canning and packing fruit, is a major source of marijuana and hashish en route to Tajikistan; the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest known human settlements. A major fortified city existed at the site of Kandahar as early as c.
1000-750 BCE, it became an important outpost of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE. Alexander the Great had laid-out the foundation of what is now Old Kandahar in the 4th century BC and gave it the Ancient Greek name Αλεξάνδρεια Aραχωσίας. Many empires have long fought over the city due to its strategic location along the trade routes of southern and western Asia. Since the 1978 Marxist revolution, the city has been a magnet for groups such as Haqqani network, Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. From late-1996 to 2001, it served as the de facto capital of the Taliban government until the Taliban were overthrown by US-led NATO forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in late-2001 and replaced by the government of President Hamid Karzai. One hypothesis derives the name of the city from Gandhara, the name of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom located along the Kabul and Swat rivers of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. A folk etymology offered is that the word "kand" or "qand" in Persian and Pashto means "candy".
The name "Candahar" or "Kandahar" in this form translates to candy area. This has to do with the location being fertile and known for producing fine grapes, apricots and other sweet fruits. Ernst Herzfeld claimed Kandahar perpetuated the name of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares, who re-founded the city under the name Gundopharron. Excavations of prehistoric sites by archaeologists such as Louis Dupree and others suggest that the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far. Early peasant farming villages came into existence in Afghanistan ca. 5000 B. C. or 7000 years ago. Deh Morasi Ghundai, the first prehistoric site to be excavated in Afghanistan, lies 27 km southwest of Kandahar. Another Bronze Age village mound site with multiroomed mud-brick buildings dating from the same period sits nearby at Said Qala. Second millennium B. C. Bronze Age pottery and bronze horse trappings and stone seals were found in the lowermost levels in the nearby cave called Shamshir Ghar.
In the Seistan, southwest of these Kandahar sites, two teams of American archaeologists discovered sites relating to the 2nd millennium B. C.. Stylistically the finds from Deh Morasi and Said Qala tie in with those of pre-Indus Valley sites and with those of comparable age on the Iranian Plateau and in Central Asia, indicating cultural contacts during this early age. British excavations in the 1970s discovered that Kandahar existed as a large fortified city during the early 1st millennium BCE; this fortified city became an important outpost of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, formed part of the province of Arachosia. The now "Old Kandahar" was founded in 330 BC by Alexander the Great, near the site of the ancient city of Mundigak. Mundigak served as the provincial capital of Arachosia and was ruled by the Medes followed by the Achaemenids until the arrival of the Greeks from Macedonia; the main inhabitants of Arachosia were the Pactyans, an ancient Iranian tribe, who may be among the ancestors of today's Pashtuns.
Kandahar was named a name given to cities that Alexander founded during his conquests. Kandahar has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia, controlling the main trade route linking the Indian subcontinent with the Middle East and Central Asia; the territory became part of the Seleucid Empire after the death of Alexander. It is mentioned by Strabo that a treaty of friendship was established between the Greeks and the Mauryans; the city became part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, continued that way for two hundred years under the Indo-Greek Kingdom. King Menander I of the Indo-Greek Kingdom practiced Greco-Buddhism and is recorded by the Mahavamsa to