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"Ghor" redirects here. For the video game character, see Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
"Ghur" redirects here. For the villages in Iran, see Ghur, Iran and Ghur, Ardabil.

Minaret of Jam, Shahrak District

Map of Afghanistan with Ghor highlighted

Coordinates (Capital): 34°N 65°E / 34°N 65°E / 34; 65Coordinates: 34°N 65°E / 34°N 65°E / 34; 65

Country Afghanistan
Capital Chaghcharan
 • Total 36,479 km2 (14,085 sq mi)
Population [1]
 • Total 635,302
 • Density 17/km2 (45/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
Main languages Afghan Persian[1]

Ghōr (Pashto/Persian: غور‎), also spelled Ghowr or Ghur, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in central Afghanistan, towards the north-west. The capital of Ghor is Chaghcharan. The name "Ghor" is a cognate to Avestan gairi-, Sanskrit giri- and Middle Persian gar, in modern Persian koh-, Sogdian gor-/gur-, in later developed Bactrian language as g´wrao- (also paravata), meaning "mountain", in modern Pashto as ghar-, in Pamir languages as gar- and ghalcca- ("mountain").


Mandesh is the historical name by which the mountain region of Ghor was called.[2]

Hinduism and Buddhism

Remains of the oldest settlements discovered by Lithuanian archaeologists in 2007 and 2008 in Ghor date back to 5000 BC.[3] Ruins of a few castles and other defense fortifications were also discovered in the environs of Chaghcharan. A Buddhist monastery hand-carved in the bluff of the river Harirud existed in the first centuries during the prevalence of Buddhism. The artificial caves revealed testimony of daily life of the Buddhist monks.[4] The region remained primarily Pagan, Zoroastrian and Buddhist till 12th century. It was then Islamised and gave rise to the Ghurids.

The rise to power of the Ghurids at Ghur, a small isolated area located in the mountain vastness between the Ghaznavid empire and the Seljukids, was an unusual and unexpected development. The area was so remote that till the 11th century, it had remained a pagan enclave surrounded by Muslim principalities. It was converted to Islam in the early part of the 12th century after Mahmud raided it, and left teachers to instruct the Ghurids in the precepts of Islam. Even then it is believed that paganism, i.e. a variety of Mahayana Buddhism persisted in the area till the end of the century.[5]


Various scholars and historians such as John McLeod attribute the conversion of the Ghauris to Islam at the hands of Mahmud Ghazni who converted them to Islam after his conquest of Ghor: a people from central Afghanistan who had been converted to Islam by Mahmud[6]

Traditional Muslim historians such as Istakhri and Ibn Haukal attest to the existence of the non-Islamic enclave of Ghor prior to the time of Ghazni, who is attributed with converting its population to Islam.

Ghor - Also called Ghoristan. The mountainous country between Hirat and Ghazni. According to Istakhri and Ibn Haukal it was a rugged mountainous country , bounded by the districts of Hirat, Farrah, Dawar, Rabat, Kurwan, and Gharjistan back to Hirat, which were all Muhammadan countries. Ghor itself was a country of infidels, containing only a few Musulmans, and the inhabitants spoke a language different from that of Khurasan[7]

Minhaju-S-Siraj records the strife between the non-Muslim and Muslim populations.

It is said that Amir Suri was a great king and most of the territories of Ghor were in his possession. But as most of the inhabitants of Ghor of High and low degree had not yet embraced Islam, there was constant strife among them. The Saffarians came from Nimroz to Bust and Dawar, Yakub Lais overpowered Lak-Lak, who was the chief of Takinabad, in the country of Rukhaj. The Ghorians sought the safety in Sara-sang and dwelt there in security but even among them hostilities constantly prevailed between the Muslims and the infidels. One castle was at war with another castle, and their feuds were unceasing; but owing to the inaccessibility of the mountains of Rasiat, which are in Ghor no foreigner was able to overcome them, and Shansbani Amir Suri was the head of all the Mandeshis.[8]

According to Minhahu-S Siraj, Amir Suri was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni, made prisoner along with his son and taken to Ghazni, where Amir Suri died.[9]

The region had previously been conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni, and the population converted to Islam.[10]
It was also the last stronghold of an ancient religion professed by the inhabitants when all their neighbors had become Muhammadan. In the 11th century AD Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the prince of Ghor Ibn–I-Suri, and made him prisoner in a severely contested engagement in the valley of Ahingaran. Ibn-I-Suri is identified a Hindu by the author, who has recorded his overthrow.[11]

Attack by Mahmud of Ghazni

In the following year AH 401 (AD 1010), Mahmood led his army towards Ghoor. The native prince of the country, Mahomed, occupied an entrenched camp with 10000 men. Mahmood was repulsed in repeated assaults which he made from morning to noon. Finding that the troops of Ghoor defended their entrenchments with such obstinacy, he caused his army to retreat in apparent confusion, in order to lure the enemy out of his fortified position. The Ghoorians, deceived by the stratagem, pursued the army of Ghizny; when the king, facing about, attacked and defeated them with great slaughter. Mahommed Soor, being made prisoner was brought to the king, but having taken poison, which he always kept under his ring, he died in a few hours; his country was annexed to the dominions of Ghizny. The author of the Towareekh Yumny affirms, that neither the sovereigns of Ghoor nor its inhabitants were Mahomedans till after this victory; whilst the author of the Tubkat-Nasiry, and Fukhr -ood -Deen Moobarik Shah Lody, the latter of whom wrote a history of the Kings of Ghoor in verse, both affirm, that they were converted many years before, even so early as the time of Ally[12]

In 1011, 1015 and 1020, both Mahmud and Mas'ud I led expeditions into Ghur and established Islam in place of the indigenous paganism. After this, Ghur was considered a vassal state of the Ghaznavid empire.[13] During the reign of 'Abd ar Rashi and the usurper Toghrul, Ghur and Gharchistan gained autonomy.[14]

Ghor was also the centre of the Ghurid dynasty in the 12th and 13th century. The remains of their capital Firuzkuh, including UNESCO World Heritage site the Minaret of Jam, are located in the province.

On June 17, 2004, hundreds of troops of Abdul Salaam Khan, who had rejected the Afghan government's plan to disarm regional militias, attacked Chaghcharan and took over the city in an afternoon-long siege. Eighteen people were killed or wounded in the fighting and province governor Mohammed Ibrahim fled. Three days later the Afghan government announced that it would not retake Chaghcharan. Khan and Ibrahim began negotiations soon after, but reached no agreements. Khan's troops left Chaghcharan on June 23, a day ahead of the arrival of an Afghan National Army battalion, led by Lieutenant-General Aminullah Paktiyanai, arrived with the support of about twenty U.S. soldiers.

In his 2004 travel book, The Places in Between, Rory Stewart travels by foot from Herat to Kabul and on his way, he provides a riveting portrait of Ghor Province as well as much historical information about the region.


The population of the province is estimated at 585,900 people,[1][15] consisting of Tajik at 58%, Aimaq people, Hazara 39%, Pashtun 3% and Uzbeks 1%.

Religiously, about 70% of the population of the province follow Sunni Islam and the remaining 30% are Shi'as.[16]

Geography and weather

Ghor occupies the end of the Hindu Kush mountains. Ghor is 2,500m above sea level and heavy snowfalls often block many of its rugged passes from November to April. It is also a drought-prone area in the summer.


Football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, taekwondo and karate are all official sports of the province. In July 2010, the Ghor Province cricket team was founded and will represent the province in future domestic tournaments.[17]


Districts of Ghor Province[18]
District Capital Population[1] Area Notes
Chaghcharan 132,442 Sub-divided in 2005
Charsada 30,079 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District
Dawlat Yar 33,364 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District
Du Layna 38,654 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District and Shahrak District
Lal Wa Sarjangal 250,000
Pasaband 92,356
Saghar 30,497
Shahrak 57,888
Taywara 82,287
Tulak 44,935



The current governor of Ghor is Sayyed Mohammad Eqbal Munib.

International Security Assistance Force

A Lithuanian contingent of the ISAF force is stationed in the province.

The base in Chaghcharan is called FOB Whiskey. The Coalition Force there is composed of Ukrainians, Georgians, Swedes, Lithuanians and a few other individual assignees from other nations who rotate in and out. There is also a small semi-permanent US Contingent stationed there.

See also


External links

  • World Food Programme, Ghor Provincial Profile (accessed 11 February 2013)
  1. redirect Template:Districts of Afghanistan
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