Badakhshan Province

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Badakhshan Province

ولایت بدخشان
Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.jpg
Different districts of Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan in Afghanistan.svg
Map of Afghanistan with Badakhshan highlighted
Coordinates: 38°0′N71°0′E / 38.000°N 71.000°E / 38.000; 71.000 Coordinates: 38°0′N71°0′E / 38.000°N 71.000°E / 38.000; 71.000
Country Afghanistan
Capital Fayzabad
  Governor Ahmad Faisal Begzad
  Total44,059 km2 (17,011 sq mi)
 (2012) [2]
  Density21/km2 (53/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-BDS
Main languages Dari, Khowar, Kyrgyz, Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Wakhi

Badakhshan Province (Template:Lang-فارسى ولايت بدخشان Badaxšān wilāyat ) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. It shares a 56.5-mile (91 km) border with China.

Provinces of Afghanistan first-level administrative territorial entity of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is made up of 34 provinces. The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions. Each province encompasses a number of districts or usually over 1,000 villages.

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.

Tajikistan Landlocked republic in Central Asia

Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi) and an estimated population of 9,275,828 people. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. The traditional homelands of the Tajik people include present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.


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 historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan

Badakhshan is a historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan, eastern Tajikistan, and the Tashkurgan county in China. The name is retained in Badakhshan Province, which is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan and is located in North-East Afghanistan. Much of historic Badakhshan lies within Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region located in the south-eastern part of the country. The music of Badakhshan is an important part of the region's cultural heritage.

Districts of Afghanistan

This is a list of districts of Afghanistan, known as wuleswali. These are secondary level administrative units, one level below the provinces. The Afghan government issued its first district map in 1973. It recognized 325 districts, counting wuleswalis (districts), alaqadaries (sub-districts), and markaz-e-wulaiyat. In the ensuing years additional districts have been added thru splits, and a few eliminated thru mergers. In June 2005, the Afghan government issued a map of 398 districts. It was widely adopted as by many information management systems, though usually with the addition of Sharak-e-Hayratan for a 399 district total. Here is a link to a clean rendering of the 399 district set as a spreadsheet from an official Afghan source. It remains the de facto standard, as of late 2018, despite a string of government announcements of the creation of new districts.

Fayzabad, Badakhshan Place in Badakhshan, Afghanistan

Fayzabad is a city in northeast Afghanistan, with a population of about 30,000 people. It serves as the provincial capital and largest city of Badakhshan Province. It is situated in Fayzabad District and is at an altitude of 1,200 m. (3,937 ft.).


Noshaq (or Nowshak) (Dari: nwshkh) is the second highest independent peak of the Hindu Kush Range after Tirich Mir (7,492 m (24,580 ft)). It 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 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. Naw shakh.jpg
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)). It 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 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. Kuran wa Munjan valley, looking to the south.png
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. 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.

Wakhan Corridor

The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, that extends to China and separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. The corridor, wedged between the Pamir Mountains to the north and the Karakoram range to the south, is about 350 km (220 mi) long and 13–65 kilometres (8–40 mi) wide. From this high mountain valley the Panj and Pamir Rivers emerge and form the Amu Darya. A trade route through the valley has been used by travellers going to and from East, South and Central Asia since antiquity.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Chitral Town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Chitral is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the Chitral River in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Chitral also served as the capital of the princely state of Chitral until 1947.

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.

Silk Road Trade routes through Asia connecting China to the Mediterranean Sea

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes which connected the East and West, and was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century. The Silk Road primarily refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with South Asia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa and Southern Europe.

Taliban Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan

The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

According to the World Wildlife Fund,[ citation needed ] 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.

Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Habitats and climate of : temperate grasslands

Temperate grasslands, savannahs, and shrublands is a terrestrial habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The predominant vegetation in this biome consists of grass and/or shrubs. The climate is temperate and ranges from semi-arid to semi-humid. The habitat type differs from tropical grasslands in the annual temperature regime as well as the types of species found here.

Woodland low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade

A woodland or wood is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of primary or secondary succession. Higher density areas of trees with a largely closed canopy that provides extensive and nearly continuous shade are referred to as forests.

Montane grasslands and shrublands are existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow in the high mountains in the northern and southwestern regions.

Montane grasslands and shrublands biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund

Montane grasslands and shrublands is a habitat type defined by the World Wildlife Fund. The biome includes high altitude grasslands and shrublands around the world. The term "montane" in the name of the biome refers to "high altitude", rather than the ecological term which denotes the region below treeline.

The Wakhan corridor contains two montane grassland and shrubland regions: the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe and in the Pamir Mountains and 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.


Part of a series on the
History of Afghanistan
Shuja Shah Durrani of Afghanistan in 1839.jpg
Associated Historical Names for the Region

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. [3]

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 100 years until the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War 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, [4] who were de facto the national government until 1996. Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not 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. Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, and Massoud, were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.

Badakhshan was thus one of the few provinces of the country that witnessed little insurgency in the Afghan wars – however during the 2010s Taliban insurgents managed to attack and take control of several districts in the province. [5]

On 26 October 2015, 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. [6]

Politics and governance

The current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb. [7] 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.


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


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011. [8] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. [8]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011. [8] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011. [8]


Classic lazurite specimen from Sar-e-Sang district. Lazurite.jpg
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. [9] [10] 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. [11] Recent geological surveys have indicated the location of other gemstone deposits, in particular rubies and emeralds. [12] It is estimated that the mines at Kuran wa Munjan District hold up to 1,290 tonnes of azure (lapis lazuli). [13] Exploitation of this mineral wealth could be key to the region's prosperity. [12]


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.


Districts of Badakhshan Before 2005 Badakhshan districts.png
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, Hazaras, Pashtuns, Kyrgyz, Qizilbash, and others. [14] 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: [15]


Emblem of Afghanistan.svg | Districts of Badakhshan Province | Flag of Afghanistan.svg
DistrictCapitalPopulation [16] AreaNumber of villages and ethnic groups
Arghanj Khwa 12,000
Argo 83,9991,032 km2145 villages. 60% Uzbek and 40% Tajik. [17]
Baharak Baharak 33,012328 km251 villages. 60% Tajik, 35% Uzbek, and 5% Pashtun. [18]
Darayim 72,000570 km2101 villages. 80% Tajik, 15% Uzbek and 5% Hazara. [19]
Fayzabad Fayzabad 96,826514 km2175 villages. 97% Tajik and 3% others. [20]
Ishkashim Ishkashim 12,5661,123 km243 villages. [21]
Jurm 51,7141286 km275 villages. 95% Tajik and 5% Uzbek. [22]
Khash 15,436264 km221 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Uzbek, and 10% Mughol and Baloch. [23]
Khwahan Khwahan 27,00080 km246 villages. Tajik. [24]
Kishim Mashhad 71,262264 km2100 villages. 60% Tajik, 37% Uzbek, 10% Baluch, 1% Hazara and 1% Bayat. [25]
Kohistan 12,00013 villages. Tajik
Kuf Ab Qal`eh-ye Kuf 16,000
Keran wa Menjan Keran wa Menjan 8,0841,588 km242 villages. 100% Tajik. [26]
Maimay Jamarj-e Bala 12,000
Nusay Nusay 31,1954,589 km216 villages. Tajik. [27]
Raghistan Ziraki 37,00025 villages. Tajik.
Shahri Buzurg Shahri Buzurg 80,000956 km274 villages. [28]
Sheghnan Shughnan 27,7503528 km228 villages. Khowar, Tajik and Qizilbash. [29]
Shekay Jarf 27,0001,700 km238 villages. Tajik, etc. [30]
Shuhada 26,4301,521 km262 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others. [31]
Tagab 22,000
Tishkan 26,850812 km257 villages. 70% Tajik, 20% Hazara and 10% Uzbek. [32]
Wakhan Khandud 14,65710,953 km2110 villages. Tajik, Kuchi people during winter. [33]
Warduj 16,609929 km245 villages. 90% Tajik and 10% Uzbek. [34]
Yaftali Sufla 60,000605 km293 villages. 60% Tajik and 40% Uzbek. [35]
Yamgan 30,0001,779 km239 villages. 100% Tajik [36]
Yawan 27,000
Zebak Zebak 26,4301,521 km262 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others. [37]

Notable people from Badakhshan

See also

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Sar-i Sang Place in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan

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  1. "Statoids".
  2. 1 2 3 "Settled Population of Badakhshan province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13" (PDF). Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  3. Eilers, W. "BADAKŠĀN". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2 January 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. Conflict analysis: Baharak district, Badakhshan province,
  6. USGS. "M7.5 – 45km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan". United States Geological Survey.
  7. "Database – Who is who in Afghanistan?". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre, Archived 30 May 2014 at
  9. Deer, William A.; Howie, Robert A, and Zussman, Joseph (1963) "Lapis lazuli" Rock-Forming Minerals Longman, London, OCLC   61975619
  10. Lapis lazuli was also found in the Urals Mountains in Russia. Deer et al. above
  11. 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.
  12. 1 2 "Afghanistan's gemstones" (PDF). Planet Earth. Winter 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  13. Hamdard, Hidayatullah (20 January 2014). "Karzai assigns team to probe azure mine issue". Pajhwok Afghan News. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  14. "1 Badakhshan". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  15. Andrew Ross ( "Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  16. "Badakhshan Province". Government of Afghanistan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development . Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  17. Argo Centre
  18. Baharak District
  19. Draim District
  20. Faiz Abad District (in Dari)
  21. Ishkashim District
  22. Jerm District
  23. Khash District
  24. Khowahan District
  25. Kishm District
  26. Keran Wa Menjan District
  27. Nusay District
  28. Shahr-e-Bozorg District
  29. Sheghnan District
  30. Shekay District
  31. Shuhada District
  32. Tushkan District
  33. Wakhan District
  34. Wardoj District
  35. Yaftal Sofla District
  36. Yamgan District
  37. Zibak District

Further reading