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
Kuran wa Munjan District
Kuran wa Munjan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. Located in the Hindu Kush mountains, the district is home to 8,000 residents; the district administrative center is Kuran wa Munjan. The district is in the southwest corner of the province, is bordered on its northeast side by the Jurm and Zebak Districts. Most of the district's boundaries are adjacent to other Afghan provinces, but a small section on the eastern edge of the district lies on the international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan; the epicenter of the October 26 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was 45 km north of here. 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
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
Darwaz-e Bala District
Darwaz-e Bala known as Nusay, is a district in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. It was created in 2005 from part of Darwaz District, it is home to 11,000 residents. This district borders the Shekay, Kuf Ab, Maimay districts, along with districts in Darvoz, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan; the district was part of the Darvaz principality, a semi-independent statelet ruled by a mir. Badakhshan Province Map – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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
Dushi district is located in the central part of Baghlan Province, Afghanistan. It lies on the major Kabul-Kunduz highway; the population of the district was estimated to be around 57,160 in 2004. Hazaras are around 88% of the population and make up the majority in the district, followed by small minorities of Tajiks and Pashtuns The centre of the district is Dushi. Dushi is home to an overhead power line carrying imported electricity from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; the 300 MegaWatt supply was the subject of a grant for expansion in 2013 from the Asian Development Bank. The line supplies the capital, Kabul. On April 13, 2018, Taliban insurgents used explosives to destroy a pylon, disrupting power supplies to the region. Districts of Afghanistan Map of Settlements United Nations, AIMS, May 2002