Badakhshan Province

Badakhshan Province
ولایت بدخشان

Different districts of Badakhshan Province

Map of Afghanistan with Badakhshan highlighted
Coordinates: 38°0′N 71°0′E / 38.000°N 71.000°E / 38.000; 71.000Coordinates: 38°0′N 71°0′E / 38.000°N 71.000°E / 38.000; 71.000
Country  Afghanistan
Capital Fayzabad
  Governor Ahmad Faisal Begzad
  Total 44,059 km2 (17,011 sq mi)
Population (2012)[2]
  Total 904,700
  Density 21/km2 (53/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-BDS
Main languages Persian, Khowar, Pashto, Kyrgyz, Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Wakhi

Badakhshan Province (Pashto: بدخشان ولایت Badaxšån wilåyat and Persian: ولایت بدخشان Velâyate Badaxšân) 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 miles (91 km) border with China.

It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region. The province contains 22 to 28 districts, over 1,200 villages, and approximately 904,700 people.[2] Feyzabad serves as the provincial capital.


Further information: Geography of Afghanistan
Noshaq (or Nowshak) (Dari: نوشاخ) is the second highest independent peak of the Hindu Kush Range after Tirich Mir (7,492 m (24,580 ft)) and lies on the border between Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The north and west sides of the mountain are in Afghanistan whereas the south and eastern sides are in Pakistan. Noshaq is Afghanistan's highest mountain and is located in the northeastern corner of the country along the Durand line which marks the border with Pakistan. It is the westernmost 7000m peak in the world.
Valley of Kuran wa Munjan in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. Looking from the center of the main valley towards the south.

Badakhshan is primarily 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. It also borders India. The province has a total area of 44,059 square kilometres (17,011 sq mi), most of which is occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges.

Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, and 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, savannas, and shrublands, as well as Gissaro-Alai open woodlands along the Pamir River. Common plants found in these areas include pistachio, almond, walnut, apple, juniper, and sagebrush.

Montane grasslands and shrublands are also existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow located 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.Kuh-e Safed Khers in Darwaz region,

South of Fayzabad the terrain becomes dominated by deserts and xeric shrublands. Common vegetation includes thorny bushes, zizyphus, acacia, and Amygdatus. Paropamisus xeric woodlands can be found in the province's northwestern and central areas. Common vegetation includes almond, pistachio, willows, and sea-buckthorn.


Further information: History of Afghanistan

Badakhshan province under Mauryan Empire rule

Main article: Mauryan Empire

The Badakhshan province territory fell to the Maurya Empire, which was led by Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryas introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to region, and were planning to capture more territory of Central Asia until they faced local Greco-Bactrian forces. Seleucus is said to have reach a peace treaty with Chandragupta by given control of the territory south of the Hindu Kush to the Mauryas upon intermarriage and 500 elephants.

Alexander took these away from the Indo-Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants.[3]
Strabo, 64 BC–24 AD
Some time after, as he was going to war with the generals of Alexander, a wild elephant of great bulk presented itself before him of its own accord, and, as if tamed down to gentleness, took him on its back, and became his guide in the war, and conspicuous in fields of battle. Sandrocottus, having thus acquired a throne, was in possession of India, when Seleucus was laying the foundations of his future greatness; who, after making a league with him, and settling his affairs in the east, proceeded to join in the war against Antigonus. As soon as the forces, therefore, of all the confederates were united, a battle was fought, in which Antigonus was slain, and his son Demetrius put to flight.[4]
Newly excavated Buddhist stupa at Mes Aynak in Logar Province of Afghanistan. Similar stupas have been discovered in neighboring Ghazni Province, including in the northern Samangan Province.

Having consolidated power in the northwest, Chandragupta pushed east towards the Nanda Empire. Afghanistan's significant ancient tangible and intangible Buddhist heritage is recorded through wide-ranging archeological finds, including religious and artistic remnants. Buddhist doctrines are reported to have reached as far as Balkh even during the life of the Buddha (563 BCE to 483 BCE), as recorded by Husang Tsang.

In this context a legend recorded by Husang Tsang refers to the first two lay disciples of Buddha, Trapusa and Bhallika responsible for introducing Buddhism in that country. Originally these two were merchants of the kingdom of Balhika, as the name Bhalluka or Bhallika probably suggests the association of one with that country. They had gone to India for trade and had happened to be at Bodhgaya when the Buddha had just attained enlightenment.[5]

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 the Middle Persian word badaxš, an official title. The suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš.[6]

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, and 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 one hundred years until the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan 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.[7] Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not get to 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. Burhanuddin Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, and Ahmad Shah Massoud were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.

2015 earthquake

On October 26, the 7.5 Mw Hindu Kush earthquake shook northern Afghanistan with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). This earthquake destroyed almost 30,000 homes, left several hundred dead, and more than 1,700 injured.[8]

Politics and governance

The current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb.[9] His predecessors were Munshi Abdul Majid and Baz Mohammad Ahmadi. The borders with neighboring Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan are monitored by the Afghan Border Police (ABP). All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). 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 also has rice and flour mills.


Further information: Transport in Afghanistan

Fayzabad Airport serves the province with regular direct flights to Kabul.


Further information: Health in Afghanistan

The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011.[10] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011.[10]


Further information: Education in Afghanistan

The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011.[10] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011.[10]


Further information: Economy of Afghanistan
Classic lazurite specimen from Sar-e-Sang district.

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, and 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.[11][12] Most recent mining activity has focused on lapis lazuli, with the proceeds from the lapis mines being used to fund Northern Alliance troops, and before that, anti-Soviet Mujahideen fighters.[13] Recent geological surveys have indicated the location of other gemstone deposits, in particular rubies and emeralds.[14] It is estimated that the mines at Kuran wa Munjan District hold up to 1,290 tonnes of azure (lapis lazuli).[15] Exploitation of this mineral wealth could be key to the region's prosperity.[14]


Further information: Sport in Afghanistan

The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket competitions by the Badakhshan Province cricket team BORNA Cricket Club which belong to BORNA Institute of Higher Education is coming up with its own team and will be groomed by the experts in the field of cricket.


Further information: Demographics of Afghanistan
Districts of Badakhshan Before 2005

The population of the province is about 904,700, which is a multi-ethnic rural society.[2] Dari-speaking, Tajiks make up the majority followed by Uzbeks, Khowar, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Kyrgyz, Qizilbash, and others.[16] There are also speakers of the following Pamiri languages: Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, and Wakhi.

The inhabitants of the province are mostly Sunni Muslims, although there are also some Ismaili Shias.

Historical population estimates for Badakhshan province are as follows:[17]


| Districts of Badakhshan Province|
District Capital Population[18] Area Number of villages and ethnic groups
Arghanj Khwa 12,000
Argo 83,999 1,032 km2 145 villages. 60% Uzbek and 40% Tajik.[19]
Baharak Baharak 33,012 328 km2 51 villages. 60% Tajik, 35% Uzbek, and 5% Pashtun.[20]
Darayim 72,000 570 km2 101 villages. 80% Tajik, 15% Uzbek and 5% Hazara.[21]
Fayzabad Fayzabad 96,826 514 km2 175 villages. 97% Tajik and 3% others.[22]
Ishkashim Ishkashim 12,566 1,123 km2 43 villages.[23]
Jurm 51,714 1286 km2 75 villages. 95% Tajik and 5% Uzbek.[24]
Khash 15,436 264 km2 21 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Uzbek, and 10% Mughol and Baloch.[25]
Khwahan Khwahan 27,000 80 km2 46 villages. Tajik.[26]
Kishim Mashhad 71,262 264 km2 100 villages. 60% Tajik, 37% Uzbek, 10% Baluch, 1% Hazara and 1% Bayat.[27]
Kohistan 12,000
Kuf Ab Qal`eh-ye Kuf 16,000
Keran wa Menjan Keran wa Menjan 8,084 1,588 km2 42 villages. 100% Tajik.[28]
Maimay Jamarj-e Bala 12,000
Nusay Nusay 31,195 4,589 km2 16 villages. Tajik.[29]
Raghistan Ziraki 37,000
Shahri Buzurg Shahri Buzurg 80,000 956 km2 74 villages.[30]
Sheghnan Shughnan 27,750 3528 km2 28 villages. Khowar, Tajik and Qizilbash.[31]
Shekay Jarf 27,000 1,700 km2 38 villages. Tajik, etc.[32]
Shuhada 26,430 1,521 km2 62 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others.[33]
Tagab 22,000
Tishkan 26,850 812 km2 57 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Hazara and 10% Uzbek.[34]
Wakhan 11,657 10,953 km2 110 villages. Tajik, Kuchi people during winter.[35]
Warduj 16,609 929 km2 45 villages. 90% Tajik and 10% Uzbek.[36]
Yaftali Sufla 60,000 605 km2 93 villages. 60% Tajik and 40% Uzbek.[37]
Yamgan 30,000 1,779 km2 39 villages. 100% Tajik[38]
Yawan 27,000
Zebak Zebak 26,430 1,521 km2 62 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others.[39]

Notable people from Badakhshan

See also


  1. "Statoids".
  2. 1 2 3 "Settled Population of Badakhshan province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-20.
  3. Nancy Hatch Dupree / Aḥmad ʻAlī Kuhzād (1972). "An Historical Guide to Kabul - The Name". American International School of Kabul. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
  4. Historiarum Philippicarum libri XLIV, XV.4.19
  5. Puri, Baij Nath (1987). Buddhism in central Asia. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 352. ISBN 81-208-0372-8. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
  6. Eilers, W. "BADAKŠĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2 January 2009. Retrieved January 2008. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. Conflict analysis: Baharak district, Badakhshan province ,
  8. USGS. "M7.5 - 45km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan". United States Geological Survey.
  9. "Database – Who is who in Afghanistan?". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  11. Deer, William A.; Howie, Robert A, and Zussman, Joseph (1963) "Lapis lazuli" Rock-Forming Minerals Longman, London, OCLC 61975619
  12. Lapis lazuli was also found in the Urals Mountains in Russia. Deer et al. above
  13. Entekhabi-Fard, Camelia (15 October 2002). "Northern Alliance Veteran Hopes Emeralds Are Key Part of Afghanistan's Economic Recovery". Eurasia Insight. Archived from the original on 8 July 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2007.
  14. 1 2 "Afghanistan's gemstones" (PDF). Planet Earth. Winter 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  15. Hamdard, Hidayatullah (20 January 2014). "Karzai assigns team to probe azure mine issue". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  16. "1 Badakhshan". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  17. Andrew Ross ( "Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  18. "Badakhshan Province". Government of Afghanistan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  19. Argo Centre
  20. Baharak District
  21. Draim District
  22. Faiz Abad District (in Dari)
  23. Ishkashim District
  24. Jerm District
  25. Khash District
  26. Khowahan District
  27. Kishm District
  28. Keran Wa Menjan District
  29. Nusay District
  30. Shahr-e-Bozorg District
  31. Sheghnan District
  32. Shekay District
  33. Shuhada District
  34. Tushkan District
  35. Wakhan District
  36. Wardoj District
  37. Yaftal Sofla District
  38. Yamgan District
  39. Zibak District

Further reading

External links

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