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
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
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
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
Ghazni is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in central Afghanistan, towards the east. The province contains 19 districts, encompassing over a thousand villages and 1.3 million people. The city of Ghazni serves as the capital, it lies on the important Kabul–Kandahar Highway, has functioned as an important trade center. The Ghazni Airport is located next to the city of Ghazni and provides limited domestic flights to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul; the province was known as Ghazna in the 10th century and after the Ghaznavid era. Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist center before and during the 7th century AD. Excavations have revealed religious artifacts of Buddhist traditions. "The two other great Buddhist centers and Tepe-e-sardar in its phase are a different matter and display another phase of influences coming from India from the seventh to eighth century. The representations show themes from Mahayana iconography and in the case of the latter site assume Tantric aspects which had established themselves in the large Indian monasteries like Nalanda."
In 644 AD, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited the city of Jaguda, while returning from Varnu In 683 AD, armies from the Umayyad Caliphate brought Islam to the area and attempted to conquer the capital of Ghazni but the local tribes fiercely resisted. Its resistance was so famed that Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj made an example of Ghazni when he ranged the vast region conquering in the name of Islam; the city was destroyed by the Saffarids in 869. A substantial portion of the local population including Hindus and Buddhists were converted to Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni "There is no evidence that Ghazna had formed part of the Samanid kingdom, it had been overrun with the whole of Zabulistan and Kabul by the Saffaris by 260 but it is doubtful how far their power was permanent and when the Samanids became paramount there is no evidence that Kabul or Ghazna were under them. The ruler of Ghazna was allied to the Hindushahis of Kabul; these titles were not as yet used by the Muhammadan rulers. The Padshah Lavik was a Hindu chief though some passages in the Tabakth i Nisiri give him the name of Abu Bakr or Abu Ali."
After the rebuilding of the city by Yaqub's brother, it became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavids from 994 to 1160, encompassing much of North India and Central Asia. Many iconoclastic campaigns were launched from Ghazni into India; the Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from both prince and temple god. Contemporary visitors and residents at Ghazni write with wonder of the ornateness of the buildings, the great libraries, the sumptuousness of the court ceremonies and of the wealth of precious objects owned by Ghazni's citizens. Ferishta records attacks by Muhammad of Ghor: "at the same time most of the infidels who inhabited the mountains between Ghazni and the Indus were converted, some by force and others by persuasion." Ghazni's eponymous capital was razed in 1151 by the Ghorid Alauddin. It again flourished but only to be permanently devastated, this time in 1221 by Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies after 6 years of Khwarezmid rule. Ghazni's strategic position, both economically and militarily, assured its revival under the Qarlughids, albeit without its dazzling former grandeur.
Ghazni is famous for its minarets built on a stellar plan. They date from the middle of the twelfth century and are the surviving element of the mosque of Bahramshah, their sides are decorated with geometric patterns. Upper sections of the minarets have been destroyed; the most important mausoleum located in Ghazni is that of Sultan Mahmud's. Others include the tombs of poets and scientists, for example Sanai; the only ruins in Old Ghazni retaining a semblance of architectural form are two towers, about 43 m high and some 365 m apart. According to inscriptions, the towers were constructed by Mahmud of his son. Ibn Battuta noted "The greater part of the town is in ruins, with nothing but a fraction of it still standing, although it was a great city."Babur records in his memoirs that Ghazni was part of Zabulistan. The area was controlled by the Mughals until Nader Shah and his Persian forces invaded it in 1738. Ahmad Shah Durrani made it part of the Durrani Empire. During the First Anglo-Afghan War, the capital of Ghazni province was destroyed by the British-led Indian forces in the Battle of Ghazni.
In the 1960s a 15-meter female Buddha was discovered lying on its back and surrounded by empty pillars that once held rows of smaller male Buddhas. Parts of the female Buddha have been stolen. In the 1980s a mud brick shelter was created to protect the sculpture, but the wood supports were stolen for firewood and the shelter collapsed. Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, there has been a Provincial reconstruction base and a NATO forces base; these western forces are hunting al-Qaida militants, who are still active in the area. Like many southern Afghan provinces, Ghazni has a precarious security situation; the Taliban insurgents are found in the rural areas outside of the capital, are involved in attacks on provincial schools and government infrastructure. The province has avoided the outright warfare seen in other provinces of Afghanistan such as Helmand and Kandahar, but, due more to political expediency and the tactical plans of the NATO-led ISAF force than the existence of a stable security situation in the province.
Ex-Governor Taj Mohammad was killed by insurgents in 2006 af
Afghan Local Police
The Afghan Local Police is a US-UK sponsored local law enforcement agency, defence force and militia in Afghanistan as part of the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs. Formed as a local defence force against Taliban insurgents its members have no power of arrest and are only authorised to investigate crime if requested to do so by the Afghan National Police, it was established at the request of the International Security Assistance Force in Summer 2010 and is paid for by the United States. Officers undergo three weeks military and police training by ISAF personnel and receive weapons and a uniform, they are intended to defend their villages from insurgent attack and allow the ANP to focus on offensive operations. It was intended to function for between two and five years; the US government provided funding in February 2013 to expand the ALP to 45,000 members and to provide the programme until at least 2018, anticipating the withdrawal of most foreign troops from the country by the end of 2014.
The ALP has received a mixed press with its members being involved in several green on blue attacks, though it has borne a heavy cost in its fight against the Taliban - suffering casualty rates twice that of the ANP and Afghan Army. The Afghan government passed legislation to establish the Local Police in July 2010 and formal establishment occurred under a presidential decree of 16 August that year. An initial target of 10,000 members was set by the Afghan government and the US Congress agreed to provide funding for up to 30,000 policemen, it was planned to operate for between two and five years. By August 2011 7,000 men had been recruited. Nomination and vetting is made with training provided by ISAF forces. ALP members report to the police district chief and come under the remit of the Ministry of Interior Affairs; the ALP was established with the backing of US General David Petraeus but with strong opposition from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The US Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command- Afghanistan manages the American component of the programme.
The ALP does not have police powers. It was intended to free Afghan security forces from the defensive role and allow them to focus on offensive operations in advance of the withdrawal of foreign military units from Afghanistan. ALP candidates receive three weeks of training some of, delivered by US special forces personnel; the training covers military skills such as marksmanship and IED detection but covers human rights, the correct use of force and the Afghan constitution. ALP officers do not have powers of arrest but can detain individuals for a limited amount of time before turning them over to the national police; the ALP is not intended to investigate crime and is uniformed in khaki in contrast to the Afghan National Police's blue uniforms. The Local Police are not permitted to carry arms outside of their home districts ALP officers hold a one year employment contract, there is a provision in place for officers to transfer to the ANP or the Afghan Army upon completion of their one year service.
The ALP is intended to provide a local security presence whose members are known to those that they seek to protect. This work fell to the Afghan National Police who were sent from further afield and sometimes could not speak the language of the local populace. A target of 30 ALP officers per village and 300 in each district has been set by CFSOCC-A. Potential recruits are biometrically screened in conjunction with the Afghan National Directorate of Security for potential criminal or terrorist connections. Potential ALP officers must be Afghan nationals aged between 19 and 45, demonstrate patriotism and be fit and healthy. Monthly salaries are between 8,250 afghanis per month; the US government funds ALP salaries, weapons and training through the Afghan Security Forces Fund that provides the finance direct to the Ministry of Interior. The ultimate goal is for ALPs to function independently of the US security forces with all ALP posts seeking to be independent by the end of 2014. In February 2013 the US government announced plans to expand the ALP programme.
The Pentagon will provide an additional $1.2 billion to extend the programme to at least 2018 and provide for 45,000 officers. US military commanders hope that the programme will allow for the withdrawal of the majority of US troops by 2014 with only a small cadre of special forces personnel remaining to provide training to ALP officers and other Afghan security forces; as of February 2013 the ALP had a presence in just 100 of Afghanistan's 400 districts, though plans were in place to expand this to a further 44 districts within the next few months. The Human Rights Watch has raised concerns that the ALP provides arms and training to another militia and has led to abuses of power by its members. At least 77 ALP officers had been investigated for criminal activity by February 2013, this included serious allegations of murder and rape. Concerns have been raised over the power it places in the hands of local village elders, the increased proliferation of weapons, the possible infiltration by Taliban, the financial cost and the reliance on western trainers.
The use of the ALP has been likened to a local militia, the use of which by the USSR in the 1980s left Afghans wary of similar forces. The Local Police have been involved in several green on blue attacks against ISAF security forces or their Afghan colleagues. On 30 March 2012 a local policeman poisoned and shot nine of his colleagues in an attack he carried out on behalf of the Taliban in Yayakhil, Pakt