Kandahar or Qandahar is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 491,500 as of 2012. Formerly called Alexandria Arachosia, the city is named after Alexander the Great, Kandahar is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at an altitude of 1,010 m above sea level. The Arghandab River runs along the west of the city, the city of Kandahar has a population of 557,118. It has 15 districts and a land area of 27,337 hectares. The total number of dwellings in Kandahar is 61,902, Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 200 years. It is a trading center for sheep, cotton, felt, food grains and dried fruit. The region produces fine fruits, especially pomegranates and grapes, and the city has plants for canning and packing fruit, the area is believed to be the birthplace of cannabis indica. The region around Kandahar is one of the oldest known human settlements, 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 location along the trade routes of southern, central. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom, in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the last Afghan empire, made it the capital of modern Afghanistan. A temple to the deified Alexander as well as an inscription in Greek and Aramaic by Emperor Ashoka, Ibn Batutta mentions Kandahar in the 14th century by describing it as a large and prosperous town three nights journey from Ghazni. It has been mentioned extensively by Mughal Emperor Babur and others, an alternative story describes Khandahar as Gandhara in Mahabharata ruled by Suvala and by Shakuni. The princess of Hastinapur, Gandhari was born in Gandhara, 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 probably translates to candy area and this probably has to do with the location being fertile and historically known for producing fine grapes, apricots and other sweet fruits.
Ernst Herzfeld claimed Kandahar perpetuated the name of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares, 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, 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, while the Diadochi were warring amongst themselves, the Mauryan Empire was developing in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent
Tajik is a general designation for a wide range of Persian-speaking people of Iranian origin, with traditional homelands in present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Alternative names for the Tajiks are Fārsī, Fārsīwān, and Dīhgān, not all Tajiks speak a variety of modern Persian. They may speak any one of the extant Iranian languages, for example, the Tajiks of China are actually Pamiris and speak the Eastern Iranic Pamiri languages and are distinct from more western Tajiks. The Bactrian and the Sogdian people are the ancestors of modern-day Tajiks. The ancestors of the Tajiks constituted the core of the ancient population of Khwārezm and Bactria, over the course of time, the eastern Iranian dialect that was used by the ancient Tajiks eventually gave way to Farsi, a western dialect spoken in Iran and Afghanistan. In works, Frye expands on the complexity of the origins of the Tajiks. The geographical division between the eastern and western Iranians is often considered historically and currently to be the desert Dasht-e Kavir, according to Encyclopaedia Iranica, The most plausible and generally accepted origin of the word is Middle Persian tāzīk ‘Arab’, or an Iranian cognate word.
Hence the Turks of Central Asia adopted a variant of the Iranian word, täžik, for example, the rulers of the south Indian Chalukya dynasty and Rashtrakuta dynasty referred to the Arabs as Tajika in the 8th and 9th century. Iranians soon accepted it as an ethnonym, as is shown by a Persian court official’s referring to mā tāzikān “we Tajiks”, the distinction between Turk and Tajik became stereotyped to express the symbiosis and rivalry of the nomadic military executive and the urban civil bureaucracy. The 15th century Turkic-speaking poet Mīr Alī Šer Navāī used Tajik as a reference to Persians, Tajiks are a substantial minority in Uzbekistan, as well as in overseas communities. Historically, the ancestors of the Tajiks lived in a territory in Central Asia than now. According to the World Factbook, Tajiks make up about 27% of the population in Afghanistan, although in the past, some non-Pashto speaking tribes were identified as Tajik, for example the Furmuli. Tajiks comprise around 79. 9% of the population of Tajikistan, in the 1926 and 1937 Soviet censuses, the Yaghnobis and Pamiri language speakers were counted as separate nationalities.
After 1937, these groups were required to register as Tajiks, according to official statistics, Surxondaryo Province accounts for 24. 4% of all Tajiks in Uzbekistan, with another 34. 3% in Samarqand and Bukhara provinces. Official statistics in Uzbekistan state that the Tajik community comprises 5% of the total population. However, these numbers do not include ethnic Tajiks who, for a variety of reasons and it is only in the last population census that the nationality could be reported not according to the passport, but freely declared on the basis of the respondents ethnic self-identification. This had the effect of increasing the Tajik population in Uzbekistan from 3. 9% in 1979 to 4. 7% in 1989, expert estimates suggest that Tajiks may make up 35% of Uzbekistans population. According to the 1999 population census, there were 26,000 Tajiks in Kazakhstan, according to official statistics, there were about 47,500 Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan in 2007, up from 42,600 in the 1999 census and 33,500 in the 1989 census
Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum is an Afghan politician who has served as Vice President of Afghanistan since 2014. He served in the past as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Afghan National Army, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Dostum was a general in the Afghan army. He became an independent warlord and leader of Afghanistans Uzbek community and he participated in battles against the Mujahideen fighters in the 1980s as well as against the Taliban in the 1990s. After the fall of the Taliban, he resided in Turkey before returning to the country. In 2013 he made an apology for his role in the civil war. He subsequently entered parliament, and joined Ashraf Ghanis presidential administration as a vice president, Dostum was born in 1954 in Khwaja du koh, Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. Coming from a family, he received a very basic traditional education as he was forced to drop out of school at a young age. From there, he took up work in the gas fields, Dostum began working in 1970 in a state-owned gas refinery in Sheberghan, participating in union politics, as the new government started to arm the staff of the workers in the oil and gas refineries.
The reason for this was to create groups for the defense of the revolution, because of the new communist ideas entering Afghanistan in the 1970s, he enlisted in the army in 1978. Dostum received his military training in Jalalabad. His squadron was deployed in the areas around Sheberghan, under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security. By the mid-1980s he commanded around 20,000 militia men, while the unit recruited throughout Jowzjan and had a relatively broad base, many of its early troops and commanders came from Dostums home village. He left the army after the purge of Parchamis, but returned after the Soviet occupation began, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Dostum was commanding a militia battalion to fight and rout mujahideen forces, he had been appointed an officer due to prior military experience. This eventually became a regiment and incorporated into the defense forces as the 53rd Infantry Division. Dostum and his new division reported directly to President Mohammad Najibullah, on he became the commander of the military unit 374 in Jowzjan.
He defended the Soviet-backed Afghan government against the U. S. Pakistani, while he was only a regional commander, he had largely raised his forces by himself. The Jowzjani militia Dostum controlled was one of the few in the country which was able to be deployed outside its own region and they were deployed in Kandahar in 1988 when Soviet forces were withdrawing from Afghanistan. Dostums men would become an important force in the fall of Kabul in 1992, in April 1992, the opposition forces began their march to Kabul against the government of Najibullah
Bactria or Bactriana was the name of a historical region in Central Asia. Bactria was located between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya river, covering the region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The English name Bactria is derived from the Ancient Greek, Βακτριανή, analogous names include the Pashto and Persian, باختر, translit. Bākhtar, Uzbek, Балх, Tajik, Бохтар, Chinese, 大夏, pinyin, Dàxià and this region played a major role in Central Asian history. At certain times the political limits of Bactria stretched far beyond the frame of the Bactrian plain. The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia. 2200–1700 BC, located in present-day eastern Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya and its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. The early Greek historian Ctesias, c.400 BC, 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 decipherment of cuneiform in the 19th century, according to some writers, Bactria was the homeland of Indo-Iranian tribes who moved south-west into Iran and into north-western India around 2500–2000 BC. Later, it became the province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia. It was in these regions, where the soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert. After Darius III had been defeated by Alexander the Great, the satrap of Bactria, Bessus attempted to organise a resistance but was captured by other warlords. He was tortured and killed, however, in the south, beyond the Oxus, he met strong resistance. After two years of war and an insurgency campaign, Alexander managed to establish little control over Bactria. After Alexanders death, Diodorus Siculus tells us that Philip received dominion over Bactria, at the Treaty of Triparadisus, both Diodorus Siculus and Arrian agree that the satrap Stasanor gained control over Bactria. Eventually, Alexanders empire was divided up among the generals in Alexanders army, Bactria became a part of the Seleucid Empire, named after its founder, Seleucus I.
The Macedonians, especially Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I, established the Seleucid Empire, the Greek language became dominant for some time there. The paradox that Greek presence was more prominent in Bactria than in areas far closer to Greece can possibly be explained by past deportations of Greeks to Bactria
Balkh was an ancient city and centre of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif. It was one of the cities of Khorasan, since the latters earliest history. Marco Polo described Balkh as a noble and great city, the ancient city of Balkh was known to the Ancient Greeks as Bactra, giving its name to Bactria. It was mostly known as the centre and capital of Bactria or Tokharistan, 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. Outside the town was a large Buddhist monastery known as Naubahar, french Buddhist Alexandra David-Néel associated Shambhala with Balkh, offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala, elevated candle as an etymology of its name. In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, the name of the province or country appears in 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, and by transposition the modern Persian Balx, i. e. Balkh, and Armenian Bahl. Balkh is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Iranian tribes moved from the North of Amu Darya, the Arabs called it Umm Al-Belaad or Mother of Cities due to its antiquity. The city was traditionally a center of Zoroastrianism, the name Zariaspa, which is 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, the changing climate has led to desertification since antiquity, when the region was very fertile. For a long time the city and country was the seat of the dualistic Zoroastrian religion. 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. 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 legend, Buddhism was introduced in Balkh by Bhallika, disciple of Buddha. He was a merchant of the region and had come from Bodhgaya, in literature, Balkh has been described as Balhika, Valhika or Bahlika. First Vihara at Balkh was built for Bhallika when he returned home after becoming a Buddhist monk, Xuanzang visited Balkh in 630 when it was a flourishing centre of Hinayana Buddhism
The Hazaras are a Persian-speaking people who mainly live in central Afghanistan, Hazara Town in Balochistan and Karachi. They are overwhelmingly Twelver Shia Muslims and make up the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the dialect of Persian which they speak is called Hazaragi, which is more precisely a part of the Dari dialect continuum, and is mutually intelligible with Dari. Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in the early 16th century and he referred to the populace of a region called Hazaristan, located west of the Kabulistan region, north of Ghazna and south-west of Ghor. The conventional theory is that the word Hazara derives from the Persian word for Thousand and it may be the translation of the Mongol word ming, a military unit of 1,000 soldiers at the time of Genghis Khan. With time, the term Hazar could have been substituted for the Mongol word, the origins of the Hazara have not been fully reconstructed. Thus, it is widely and popularly believed that Hazara have Mongolian ancestry, genetic analysis of the Hazara indicate partial Mongolian ancestry.
Invading Mongols and Turco-Mongols mixed with the local Iranian population, forming a distinct group, for example, Nikudari Mongols settled in what is now Afghanistan and mixed with native populations who spoke Persian. The Hazara identity in Afghanistan is believed by many to have originated in the aftermath of the 1221 Siege of Bamyan, the first mention of Hazara are made by Babur in the early 16th century and by the court historians of Shah Abbas of the Safavid dynasty. It is reported that they embraced Shia Islam between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, during the Safavid period. Hazara men along with tribes of other groups had been recruited and added to the army of Ahmad Shah Durrani in the 18th century. Some claim that in the mid‑18th century Hazara were forced out of Helmand, during the second reign of Dost Mohammad Khans in the 19th century, Hazara from Hazarajat began to be taxed for the first time. However, for the most part they still managed to keep their autonomy until the subjugation of Abdur Rahman Khan began in the late 19th century.
When the Treaty of Gandomak was signed and the Second Anglo-Afghan War ended in 1880, Abdur Rahman Khan set out a goal to bring Hazarajat and he launched several campaigns in Hazarajat due to resistance from the Hazara in which his forces committed atrocities. The southern part of Hazarajat was spared as they accepted his rule, while the parts of Hazarajat rejected Abdur Rahman and instead supported his uncle. In response to this Abdur Rahman waged a war against tribal leaders who rejected his policies, Abdur Rahman arrested Syed Jafar, chief of the Sheikh Ali Hazara tribe, and jailed him in Mazar-e-Sharif. The first Hazara uprising against Abdur Rahman Khan took place between 1888 and 1890, when Emir Abdur Rahmans cousin, Mohammad Eshaq, revolted against him, tribal leaders of the Sheikh Ali Hazaras joined the revolt. The revolt was short lived and crushed as the Emir extended his control over parts of Hazarajat. Leaders of the Sheikh Ali Hazaras had allies in two different groups and Sunni, Abdur Rahman took advantage of the situation, pitting Sunni Hazara against the Shia Hazara, and made pacts among the Hazara
Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power.
The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci
Maymana, Meymaneh or Maimana is the capital of Faryab province, northern Afghanistan, near the Turkmenistan border. It is approximately 400 km northwest of the Afghan capital Kabul, the city of Maimana has a population of 149,040. It has 10 districts and a land area of 3,461 Hectares. The total number of dwellings in this city are 16,560, Maymana is located at the northern foot of the Torkestan Range at an elevation of 877 m on the old terrace of the Qeysar or Maymana River. This river branches off of the Band-e Turkistan River 50 km south of the city, the highlands of the Maymana region generally possess a very rich topsoil which supports the seasonal agricultural activities. Maimana is a Trading and Transit Hub in northern Afghanistan, just over half of the land in Maimana is non built-up consisting largely of agriculture. The central districts have higher dwelling density and clear road grids, the outer districts are characterized by more agricultural land. During the 19th century, the population of the settlement was estimated at 15, 000–18,000, in 1958 the population was estimated to be 30,000, by 1979 this had risen to 38,250, and by 1982 to 56,973.
In 2004 Maymana has a population of 75,900, however it is estimated to be 149,040 in 2015. The town is of ancient origin and it seems clear that Maymana citadel dates back to the early Iron Age. Ceramic materials in a cave at Bilchiragh are from the Paleolithic. In the 10th century it was the residence of the Malik of Guzganan, in the 16th century, Uzbek influence came to Maymana with the invasions of Turkistan and Herat by Muhammad Shaibani. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Maymana was the centre of an independent Uzbek khanate, in 1876 the city fell to the Afghans and was put in ruins, and only ten percent of the population was left. The city was once strongly walled with thick walls and towers and surrounded by a moat, in 1934, the rebuilding of the city started, and in 1949 the northern parts of the old city were renewed, the old city citadel changed to a park. As part of the ongoing NATO operation in Afghanistan, there is a Provincial Reconstruction Team based there and this team includes Latvian troops.
Maymana is served by Maymana Airport which had direct flights to Herat as of May 2014, the town serves an agricultural area irrigated from the Qeysar River and handles the trade in Karakul sheep with nomads. Maymana is an important livestock centre in Afghanistan, in the 1970s, the wool and cotton processing industry was booming in the city. Maymana is a market for goods, carpets, barley, melons
Kholm is an ancient town located on the fertile, inland delta fan of the Khulm River. As such, it is an agriculturally rich locale and densely populated and it is famous for its covered market, and is a centre for trading in sheep and wool. The town is slightly to the south of the ruins of the ancient town of Aornos, the town and district boast a Dari Persian speaking Tajik majority. Pashtuns and Arabs form the smaller minorities in the town and district. Many identify themselves as ethnic Arabs although no one actually speaks Arabic, there are other such Persian-speaking Arabs to the west, between Mazar-i Sharif and Sheberghan. The Pashtuns form a minority and live in seven villages. For many centuries Afghanistan was located on the old serais between Europe and China and India, many important cultural centres developed along the way. During and after the 15th Century Europe developed new sea routes to the east, the trade over land decreased and the cultural centres along the Silk Road became more isolated.
Tashqurghan was founded early in the 19th century and grew to become the most important town in northern Afghanistan. A large variety of products and commodities were transported by camel caravans, knives, metal thread, glass, porcelain, tea, cotton. Most of these products were produced in the European part of Russia, from India all kinds of locally manufactured and British industrial products went the other way, razor blades, spices, ivory and brocades. Afghanistan contributed to trade with wool, raw silk, fruits. In the 2nd quarter of the 19th century it first belonged to the large independent Kunduz state. Then in 1841 the capital of the Kunduz state shifted to Tashqurghan, however, in 1845 most of the state seceded under the leadership of Kunduz. So, Tashqurghan remained the capital of a independent state. During the first decades of the twentieth century Tashqurghan gradually lost its position as the emporium of northern Afghanistan, Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz, better positioned for crossing the Amu Darya river, took over and the caravan traffic stopped.
In the 1960s the asphalted road between Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif was completed, the 350 kilometres between the two cities could now be covered in 8–9 hours. The number of foreign and domestic tourists visiting Tashqurghan increased considerably, apart from larger numbers of individual visitors, organized tours started arriving. A large number of shops were opened for the visitors
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group, the largest Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan but are found as a minority group in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Russia. Uzbek diaspora communities exist in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the origin of the word Uzbek remains disputed. One view holds that it is named after Oghuz Khagan, known as Oghuz Beg. Another states that the name means independent or the lord itself, from Oʻz, before, 5th century, what is todays Uzbekistan was part of Sogdia, mainly inhabited by Sogdians, an Indo-Iranian people. It was part of the Achaemenid Empire and part of Sasanian Empire, from 5th to 6th century, what is todays Uzbekistan was part of the Hephthalite Empire. From 6th to 8th century, what is todays Uzbekistan was under the rule of Göktürk Khanate and Chinese migration into central Asia occurred during the Chinese Tang Dynasty, and Chinese armies commanded by Turkic generals stationed in large parts of central Asia.
But Chinese influence ended with the An Lushan rebellion, from the 9th century on, Transoxania was under the rule of Turkic Kara-Khanid Khanate, their arrival in Transoxania signalled a definitive shift from Iranian to Turkic predominance in Central Asia. Kara-Khanid ruler Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan was the first Turkic ruler to convert Islam, in the 12th century, Transoxania was conquered by Qara Khitai, a sinicized Khitan dynasty, they brought to Central Asia the Chinese system of government. In the 13th century, Kara-Khanid Khanate was destroyed by the Turkic Khwarazmian dynasty, the language-shift from Middle Iranian to Turkic and New Persian was predominantly the result of an elite dominance process. This process was boosted during the Mongol conquest when millions were either killed or pushed further south to the Pamir region. The modern Uzbek language is derived from the Chagatai language which gained prominence in the Timurid Empire. The modern Uzbek population represents varying degrees of diversity derived from the high traffic routes through Central Asia.
Once populated by Iranian tribes and other Indo-European people, Central Asia experienced numerous invasions emanating out of Mongolia that would affect the region. According to recent genetic genealogy testing from a University of Oxford study, high levels of haplogroup 10 and its derivative, haplogroup 36, are found in most of the Altaic-speaking populations and are a good indicator of the genetic impact of these nomadic groups. The difference could be due to the density of the different geographical areas. Eastern regions of Central Asia must have had a low density at the time. Thus, the estimate from North-East Asia is high in the east
Ghaznī or Ghaznai, historically known as Ghaznīn or Ghazna, is a city in Afghanistan with a population of nearly 150,000 people. It is located in the central-east part of the country, situated on a plateau at 7,280 feet above sea level, the city serves as the capital of Ghazni Province. It is linked by a highway with Kandahar to the southwest, Kabul to the northeast, the foundation stone of Ghazni Airport was laid in April 2012 which now serves Ghazni and other nearby eastern Afghan provinces. Similar to many other Afghanistani cities, Ghazni as ancient city has withstood numerous military invasions, during the pre-Islamic period, the area was inhabited by various tribes who practiced different religions including Buddhism and Hinduism. Arab Muslims introduced Islam to Ghazni in the 7th century, they were followed by the 9th century Islamic conquest of the Saffarids from Zarang in the west, sabuktigin made Ghazni the capital of the Ghaznavid Empire in the 10th century. The city was destroyed by one of the Ghurid rulers, and it fell to a number of regional powers, including the Timurids and the Delhi Sultanate, until it became part of the Hotaki dynasty, which was followed by the Durrani Empire or modern Afghanistan.
During the First Anglo-Afghan War in the 19th century, Ghazni was partially destroyed by British-Indian forces, the city is currently being rebuilt by the Government of Afghanistan in remembrance of the Ghaznavid and Timurid era when it served as a major center of Islamic civilisation. The Afghan National Security Forces have established bases and check-points to deal with the Taliban insurgency, Ghazni is a trading and transit hub in central Afghanistan. Agriculture is the dominant land use at 28%, in terms of built-up land area, vacant plots slightly outweigh residential area. Districts 3 and 4 have large institutional areas, the city of Ghazni has a population of 143,379 with 4 Police districts and total land area of 3,330 Hectares. There are 15,931 total number of dwellings in Ghazni city, Ghazni was founded some time in antiquity as a small market town and is mentioned by Ptolemy. In the 6th century BC, the city was conquered by the Achaemenid king Cyrus II, the city was subsequently incorporated into the empire of Alexander the Great in 329 BC, and called Alexandria in Opiana.
Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist centre up until the 7th century, in 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the region, but many refused to accept the new religion. Yaqub Saffari from Zaranj conquered the city in the late 9th century and it became the dazzling capital of the Ghaznavid Empire, which encompassed much of northern India and Central Asia. Many iconoclastic campaigns were launched from Ghazni into India, resulting in the destruction of ancient temples and palaces, the Ghaznavids took Islam to India and returned with fabulous riches taken from Indian princes and temples. Although the city was sacked in 1151 by the Ghorid Alauddin, it became their secondary capital in 1173. Between 1215 and 1221, Ghazni was ruled by the Khwarezmid Empire, in the first decades of the 11th century, Ghazni was the most important centre of Persian literature. This was the result of the policy of the Sultan Mahmud, who assembled a circle of scholars, philosophers
The United Front was assembled by key leaders of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, particularly president Burhanuddin Rabbani and former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. Initially it included mostly Tajiks but by 2000, leaders of ethnic groups had joined the Northern Alliance. This included Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Qadir, Asif Mohseni, the Northern Alliance fought a defensive war against the Taliban government. They received support from Iran, Turkey, India and others, while the Taliban were backed by al-Qaeda, the Northern Alliance was mostly made up of ethnic Tajiks, but included Uzbeks and Hazaras. The Taliban government was dominated by Pashtuns with other groups being the minority, the US invaded Afghanistan providing support to Northern Alliance troops on the ground in a two-month war against the Taliban, which they won in December 2001. With the establishment of the Karzai administration, the Northern Alliance broke apart, the United Front was formed in late 1996 against the Taliban government by opposition factions.
Massoud decided on the political line and the general military strategy of the alliance. The accords created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed a government for a transitional period to be followed by general elections. With the exception of Gulbuddin Hekmatyars Hezb-e Islami, all of the parties were unified under this government in April 1992. Hekmatyars Hezb-e Islami, for its part, refused to recognize the government for most of the period discussed in this report and launched attacks against government forces, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received operational and military support from Pakistan. Afghanistan expert Amin Saikal concludes in Modern Afghanistan, A History of Struggle and Survival, islamabad could not possibly expect the new Islamic government leaders to subordinate their own nationalist objectives in order to help Pakistan realize its regional ambitions. Had it not been for the ISIs logistic support and supply of a number of rockets, Hekmatyars forces would not have been able to target.
In addition, Saudi Arabia and Iran as competitors for regional hegemony – supported Afghan militias hostile towards each other, according to Human Rights Watch, Iran was backing the Shia Hazara Hezb-i Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari in order to maximize Wahdats military power and influence. Saudi Arabia supported the Wahhabite Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his Ittihad-i Islami faction, a publication by the George Washington University describes, utside forces saw instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to press their own security and political agendas. Conflict between the two militias soon escalated into a full-scale war, because of the chaos, some leaders increasingly had only nominal control over their commanders. Meanwhile, southern Afghanistan was under the control of local leaders not affiliated with the government in Kabul. In 1994, the Taliban - a movement originating from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-run religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan - developed in Afghanistan as a politico-religious force.
In late 1994, most of the factions which had been fighting in the battle for control of Kabul were defeated militarily by forces of the Islamic States Minister of Defense Ahmad Shah Massoud