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Badakshan Province

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Badakshan Province

Dari: استان بدخشان
Pashto: بدخشان ولايت

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 Shah Waliullah Adeeb
 • 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
Main languages Dari, Uzbek, Pashto, Kyrgyz, Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Wakhi

Badakhshan Province (Pashto: بدخشان ولایت‎ / Dari: استان بدخشان) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country between the Hindu Kush mountains and the Amu Darya River. 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.


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. 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.

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.


Badakhshan etymologically derives from the Sassanid word badaxš, an official title. The suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš. This Sassanid naming convention is seen in other Central Asian locations, including Azerbaijan, Isfahan, and Tehran.[3]

The territory was ruled by the 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, which was backed by the Soviet Union.

During the 1990s, much of the area was controlled by forces loyal to Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud. 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.

Politics and governance

The current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb.[4] 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. During the winter the city is sometimes isolated by deep snow.


The population of the province is about 904,700, which is a multi-ethnic rural society.[2] Persian-speaking Tajiks make up the majority followed by Uzbeks, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Baloch, Kyrgyz, Qizilbash, Russians and others.[5] There are also speakers of the following Pamiri languages: Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, and Wakhi.

The inhabitants of the province are mostly Sunni Muslim, although there are also some Ismaili Shi'as.

Historical population estimates for Badakhshan Province are as follows:[6]

District information

Districts of Badakhshan Province
District Capital Population[7] Area Number of villages and ethnic groups
Arghanj Khwa 12,000
Argo 83,999 1,032 km2 145 villages. 60% Uzbek and 40% Tajik.[8]
Baharak Baharak 33,012 328 km2 51 villages. 60% Tajik, 35% Uzbek, and 5% Pashtun.[9]
Darayim 72,000 570 km2 101 villages. 80% Tajik, 15% Uzbek and 5% Hazara.[10]
Darwaz Nassai 31,195 4,589 km2 16 villages. Tajik.[11]
Darwazi Bala 11,000
Fayzabad Fayzabad 96,826 514 km2 175 villages. 97% Tajik and 3% others.[12]
Ishkashim Ishkashim 12,566 1,123 km2 43 villages.[13]
Jurm 51,714 1286 km2 75 villages. 95% Tajik and 5% Uzbek.[14]
Khash 15,436 264 km2 21 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Uzbek, and 10% Mughol and Baloch.[15]
Khwahan Khwahan 27,000 80 km2 46 villages. Tajik.[16]
Kishim 71,262 264 km2 100 villages. 60% Tajik, 37% Uzbek, 10% Baluch, 1% Hazara and 1% Bayat.[17]
Kohistan 12,000
Kuf Ab 16,000
Keran wa Menjan Keran wa Menjan 8,084 1,588 km2 42 villages. 100% Tajik.[18]
Ragh Ragh 37,000
Shahri Buzurg Shahri Buzurg 80,000 956 km2 74 villages.[19]
Sheghnan 27,750 3528 km2 28 villages. Tajik and Qizilbash.[20]
Shiki 27,000 1,700 km2 38 villages. Tajik and etc.[21]
Shuhada 26,430 1,521 km2 62 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others.[22]
Tagab 22,000
Tishkan 26,850 812 km2 57 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Hazara and 10% Uzbek.[23]
Wakhan 11,657 10,953 km2 110 villages. Tajik, Kuchi people during winter.[24]
Warduj 16,609 929 km2 45 villages. 90% Tajik and 10% Uzbek.[25]
Yaftali Sufla 60,000 605 km2 93 villages. 60% Tajik and 40% Uzbek.[26]
Yamgan 30,000 1,779 km2 39 villages. 100% Tajik[27]
Yawan 27,000
Zebak Zebak 26,430 1,521 km2 62 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others.[28]


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.

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.[29][30] 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.[31] Recent geological surveys have indicated the location of other gemstone deposits, in particular rubies and emeralds.[32] Exploitation of this mineral wealth could be key to the region's prosperity.[32]


The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket competitions by the Badakhshan Province cricket team.

Notable people from Badakhshan

Further reading

  • Kabul: Vizarat-i Ḥarbiyah, 1923.
  • Jan-Heeren Grevemeyer: Herrschaft, Raub und Gegenseitigkeit: Die politische Geschichte Badakhshans 1500–1883, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1982
  • Wolfgang Holzwarth: Segmentation und Staatsbildung in Afghanistan: Traditionale sozio-politische Organisation in Badakhshan, Wakhan und Sheghnan In: Berliner Institut für vergleichende Sozialforschung [Red.: Kurt Greussing u. Jan-Heeren Grevemeyer] (Hrsg.): Revolution in Iran und Afghanistan – mardom nameh – Jahrbuch zur Geschichte und Gesellschaft des Mittleren Orients Syndikat, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-8108-0147-X.


External links

  • Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development

  1. redirect

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