Paktia is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the east of the country. Forming part of the larger Loya Paktia region, Paktia Province is divided into thirteen districts and has a population of 525,000, a tribal society living in rural areas. Pashtuns make up the majority of the population but smaller number of Tajiks are found. Gardez is the provincial capital, while district is Zurmat. Paktia used to be a unified province with Khost and Paktika, these three provinces are now referred to as Loya Paktia, meaning "Greater Paktia". Paktia came to prominence during the 1980s, when a significant portion of Afghanistan's leadership originated from the province; some of the more notable leaders include: Najibullah Ahmadzai, a former President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Aslam Watanjar, Shahnawaz Tanai, Sayed Muhammad Gulabzoi. Between 7–8 January, 1988, in Paktia Province, near the Pakistani-Afghan border the Battle for Hill 3234 took place, a successful defensive action fought by the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment, 39 Soviet Airborne Troops, in Soviet occupied Afghanistan against a force of up to 200 to 250 Mujahideen rebels.
Soviet commanders wanted to secure the entire section of the road from Gardez to Khost. One of the most important points was the nameless hill designated Hill 3234 by its height of 3234m, assigned to the 9th company of the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment led by Colonel Valery Vostrotin; the 39-man company landed on the hilltop on January 7, 1988, tasked with creating and holding a hilltop strong point from which to observe and control a long section of the road beneath and thus secure it for the safe passage of convoys. Shortly after landing, the airborne troopers, who were well trained and experienced in Afghan conditions, started to take up positions which covered both the road and the uphill passages. Just as they had dug in, the mujahideen began their attack at 1530 hrs. First they fired with all possible weapons including recoilless guns and RPG. After a few salvos, Soviet artillery replied and silenced some of the mujahideen's guns, with the commander of the first platoon, Lt. Viktor Gagarin, directing fire via a radio.
When rebel fire slackened, it was clear. The airborne troopers were attacked by a coordinated and well-armed force of between 200 and 250 mujahideen. Attacks were made from two directions, indicating that the assailants may have been assisted by rebels trained in Pakistan by American agents. During the ensuing battle, the Soviet unit was in constant communication with headquarters and received everything the leadership of 40th Army had to offer in terms of artillery support, ammunition and helicopter evacuation of the wounded; the exhausted and wounded Soviets were nearly out of ammunition but continued to occupy the hill until the last convoy passed through the road below. The Soviet forces sustained low casualties, with 6 men out of 39 killed and 28 injured. Two of the soldiers killed, Vyacheslav Alexandrovich Alexandrov and Andrey Alexandrovich Melnikov, were posthumously awarded the golden star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. All of the paratroopers in this battle were given the Order of the Red Banner and Order of the Red Star.
According to the Soviet estimates, the Mujahideen lost over 200+ men. The Mujahideen wore black uniforms with rectangular black-yellow-red stripes. After the fall of the Taliban government, Paktia was one of the most chaotic regions in the country, as a small civil war broke out between rival militia commanders for control of the province, Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters gave occupying U. S. troops some of their heaviest losses in the cave complexes south of Gardez. Paktia was the site of heavy fighting between Taliban insurgents and ISAF-backed Afghan National Security Forces. Paktia was one of the last redoubts of organized Taliban resistance. February 2003, the 1st Provincial Reconstruction Team in Gardez commenced with the objective of providing funding for local Afghan projects concurrent to a reinforce security presence in overwatch; the PRT Gardez composition includes a reinforced platoon from the 504th 82nd ABN along with US Army Civil Military Affairs contingent plus Special Forces. In March 2003, USAID and State Department representatives joined the 1st Provincial Reconstruction Team in Gardez.
In September 2006, Governor Hakim Taniwal was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber as he left his office in Gardez. At the time, Taniwal was the highest-ranking post-Taliban official to be killed by insurgent forces in the country. On February 12, 2010, five civilians including two pregnant women and a teenage girl were killed by U. S. special forces during the Khataba raid. U. S. special forces were accused of attempting to cover up the incident. Head of Joint Special Operations Command, U. S. Vice Admiral William McRaven stated that the deaths were a "terrible mistake", offered an apology, accepted responsibility for the deaths and made a traditional Afghan condolence offering of sheep. After some early unrest a long period of relative calm followed, despite the occasional high-profile incident such as the 2006 assassination of the governor, by a suicide bomber. There was a rise in violent incidents when the pullout of Americans troops neared in 2014. Parts of Paktia are believed to be a safe haven for militants from the Haqqani network, an anti-government combat organisation involved in the Taliban insurgency.
The current governor of the province is Maj Gen Zalmai Weesa. His predecessor was Nasratullah Arsala; the city of Gardez serves as the capital of the province. All law enforcement a
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
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
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
Balkh is a town in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan, about 20 km northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, some 74 km south of the Amu Darya river and the Uzbekistan border. It was an ancient centre of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and one of the major cities of Khorasan, since the latter's earliest history; the ancient city of Balkh was known to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra. It was known as the centre and capital of Bactria or Tokharistan. Marco Polo described Balkh as a "noble and great city". Balkh is now for the most part a mass of ruins, situated some 12 km from the right bank of the seasonally flowing Balkh River, at an elevation of about 365 m. French Buddhist Alexandra David-Néel associated Shambhala with Balkh offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala as an etymology of its name. In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple; the Bactrian language name of the city was βαχλο. In Middle Persian texts was named Baxl.
The name of the province or country appears in the Old Persian inscriptions as Bāxtri, i.e. Bakhtri, it is written in the Avesta as Bāxδi. From this came the intermediate form Bāxli, Sanskrit Bahlīka for "Bactrian", by transposition the modern Persian Balx, i.e. Balkh, Armenian Bahl. Balkh is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from north of the Amu Darya, between 2000 and 1500 BC; the Arabs called it Umm Mother of Cities on account of its antiquity. The city was traditionally a center of Zoroastrianism; the name Zariaspa, either an alternate name for Balkh or a term for part of the city, may derive from the important Zoroastrian fire temple Azar-i-Asp. Balkh was regarded as the place where Zoroaster first preached his religion, as well as the place where he died. Since the Indo-Iranians built their first kingdom in Balkh some scholars believe that it was from this area that different waves of Indo-Iranians spread to north-east Iran and Seistan region, where they, in part, became today's Persians, Tajiks and Baluch people of the region.
The changing climate has led to desertification since antiquity, when the region was fertile. Its foundation is mythically ascribed to the first king of the world in Persian legend. For a long time the city and country was the central seat of the dualistic Zoroastrian religion, the founder of which, died within the walls according to the Persian poet Firdowsi. Armenian sources state that the Arsacid Dynasty of the Parthian Empire established its capital in Balkh. There is a long-standing tradition that an ancient shrine of Anahita was to be found here, a temple so rich it invited plunder. Alexander the Great married Roxana of Bactria after killing the king of Balkh; the city was the capital of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and was besieged for three years by the Seleucid Empire. After the demise of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, it was ruled by Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians, Kushan Empire, Indo-Sassanids, Hephthalite Empire and Sassanid Persians before the arrival of the Arabs. Bactrian documents - in the Bactrian language, written from the fourth to eighth centuries - evoke the name of local deities, such as Kamird and Wakhsh, for example, as witnesses to contracts.
The documents come from an area between Balkh and Bamiyan, part of Bactria. Balkh town is well-known to Buddhist countries because of two great Buddhist monks of Afghanistan – Trapusa and Bahalika. There are two stupas over their relics. According to a popular legend, Buddhism was introduced in Balkh by Bhallika, disciple of Buddha, the city derives its name from him, he had come from Bodhgaya. In literature, Balkh has been described as Valhika or Bahlika. First Vihara at Balkh was built for Bhallika. Xuanzang visited Balkh in 630. According to the Memoirs of Xuanzang, there were about a hundred Buddhist convents in the city or its vicinity at the time of his visit there in the 7th century. There were a large number of stupas and other religious monuments; the most remarkable stupa was the Navbahara. Shortly before the Arab conquest, the monastery became a Zoroastrian fire-temple. A curious reference to this building is found in the writings of the geographer Ibn Hawqal, an Arab traveller of the 10th century, who describes Balkh as built of clay, with ramparts and six gates, extending for half a parasang.
He mentions a castle and a mosque. A Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hein, found Hinayana practice prevalent in Shan Shan, Kashgar, Osh and Gandhara. Xuanzang remarked that Buddhism was practised by the Hunnish rulers of Balkh, who descended from Indian royal stock. A Korean monk, noted as late as the Eighth century after the Arab invasion that the residents of Balkh practiced Buddhism and followed a Buddhist king, he that the king of Balkh at the time had fled to nearby Badakshan. Furthermore, we know; the most important was the Nawbahar near the town of Balkh, which evidently served as a pilgri
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
Baghlan is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country; as of 2013, the province has a population of about 910,700. Its capital is Puli Khumri; the ruins of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the Surkh Kotal, are located in Baghlan. The lead nation of the local Provincial Reconstruction Team was Hungary, which operated from 2006 to 2015; the name Baghlan is derived from Bagolango or "image-temple", inscribed on the temple of Surkh Kotal during the reign of the Kushan emperor, Kanishka in the early 2nd century CE. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang traveled through Baghlan in the mid-7th Century CE, referred to it as the "kingdom of Fo-kia-lang". In the 13th Century CE, a permanent garrison of Mongol troops was quartered in the Kunduz-Baghlan area, in 1253 fell under the jurisdiction of Sali Noyan Tatar, appointed there by Möngke Khan. Sali Noyan's position was inherited by his son Uladu, grandson Baktut; these Turco-Mongol garrison troops formed the Qara'unas faction, by the 14th Century had allied with the Chaghataite Khanate.
Under the rule of Temür the Qara'unas were given to Chekü Barlas, to his son Jahānshāh. Forbes Manz notes that these Kunduz-Baghlan forces appear to have remained cohesive and influential throughout the Timurid period, though under different leaders and different names, up until the Uzbek invasion. By the Islamic year 900, the area was noted in the Baburnama. In the mid-20th Century, as Afghanistan became the target of international development from both the Western and Soviet world, agricultural-industrial projects were initiated in Baghlan; these included factories for the production of sugar for vegetable oil. Czech expertise figured into the development of Baghlans' coal-mining industry, centred at Baghlan's Karkar Valley, the only coal mine in Afghanistan to remain operational up through 1992; the modern Baghlan Province was created out of the former Qataghan Province in 1964. During the Soviet–Afghan War, the Soviets in 1982 established the Kayan military zone in southern Baghlan; the area was defended by 10,000 Ismaili militiamen, increasing to 18,000 by 1992, who sided with the Soviets due to differences with the Islamist opposition.
Afghan Ismailis overall were inclined to support the Communists, though a local Ismaili leader, Sayed Manuchehr, lead a partisan movement against the Communists until Ismaili leader Sayed Mansur Naderi accepted Soviet support. Large portions of Baghlan and neighbouring Samangan Province were under the sway of the Soviet-aligned Naderi clan, the hereditary Ismaili Sayeds of Kayan. Under their jurisdiction, was quiet and societally functional throughout the 1980s, with hospitals and administrative services, funded by the communist central government. Despite the Naderi's alliance with the Communists, they maintained positive relations with the Mujahideen as well, permitting them to move through the area provided they refrained from attacks. One of the Soviets' three primary bases in Afghanistan, was located in Baghlan Province, served as the "largest military supply and armoury centre of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan." As the 2001 Afghan War commenced, Ismaili leader Sayed Mansoor Naderi attempted to retake Baghlan from the Taliban.
Naderi was aligned with Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Jumbesh-e Milli party, the competing Tajik-dominated Jamiat-e Islami party was keen to seize control of Baghlan as Taliban power eroded. The Jamiat were able to seize the capital of Pul-i Khumri before Naderi, who despite his strong backing among the Afghan Ismailis and Shia Hazaras, was unable to rally enough supporters to control the province. Naderi failed to retake the capital in 2001 and 2003, in the latter event he negotiated a power-sharing agreement with the dominant Andarabi militias and made the Ismaili bastion of the Kayan Valley his base. On 13 June 2012, two earthquakes hit Afghanistan and there was a major landslide in Burka District of Baghlan Province; the village of Sayi Hazara was buried under up to 30 meters of rock. The town of Puli Khumri serves as the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police; the provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul.
The ANP is backed including the NATO-led forces. Abdul Sattar Bariz has been the governor of the province since October 2015; the population of Baghlan province was reported at 863,700 in the year 2013. Tajiks make up 50% of the population, followed by 20% Pashtuns, 5% Turkmens, 20% Hazaras, 5% Uzbeks, others. Most of the population speak Persian, followed by Pashto-speaking Pashtuns and some Tatars. Baghlan is home to a small community of Ismaili Muslims led by the Sayeds of Kayan; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 5.5% in 2005 to 22% in 2011. The overall literacy rate increased from 21% in 2005 to 24% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 29% in 2005 to 62% in 2011. Baghlan's primary crops were cotton and sugar beets, industrial sugar production having begun under Czech supervision in the 1940s; the area produced grapes and pomegranates.
The primary livestock is Karakul sheep. The province produces silk, coal is mined in the Karkar Valley. Baghlan 2007 Baghlan sugar factory bom