Badakhshan Province

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Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.jpg
Naw shakh.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 Maulvi Abdul Ghani Faiq [1]
  Deputy GovernorNisar Ahmad Ahmadi [2]
  Total44,059 km2 (17,011 sq mi)
 (2021) [4]
  Density24/km2 (63/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 code AF-BDS
Main languages Dari, Khowar, Kyrgyz, Shughni, Munji, Ishkashimi, Wakhi, Persian

Badakhshan Province (Dari/Pashto: بدخشان, Badaxšān) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. It is bordered by Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan in the north and the Pakistan-administered Lower and Upper Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in the southeast. It also has a 91-kilometer (57-mile) border with China in the east.


It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region, parts of which now also lie in Tajikistan and China. The province contains 22 districts, over 1,200 villages and approximately 1 055 000 people. [5] Fayzabad serves as the provincial capital. Resistance activity has been reported in the province since the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. [6] [7]


Badakhshan's name comes from the Middle Persian word "badaxš", which is an official title. The word "ān" is a suffix which demonstrates a place's name; therefore the word "badaxšān" means a place belonging to a person called "badaxš". [8]

During the Sassanids' reign it was called "bidix", and in Parthian times "bthšy". In Sassanid manuscripts found in Ka'ba-ye Zartosht it was called "Bałasakan". In Chinese sources from the 7th century onwards it was called "Po-to-chang-na".


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 Pakistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. The north and west sides of the mountain are in Afghanistan, and the southern 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 Pakistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. The north and west sides of the mountain are in Afghanistan, and the southern 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 bordered by Takhar Province to the west, Panjshir Province to the south west, Nuristan Province to the south, Tajikistan to the north and east (that nation's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and Khatlon Province), China through a long spur called the Wakhan Corridor to the east, and Pakistan to the south-east (Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan). The total area of Badakhshan is 44,059 square kilometres (17,011 sq mi), most of which is occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges.

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.

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.

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.


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. [9]

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, [10] 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. [11]

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. [12]


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. [13] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. [13]


Badakhshan University is located in Fayzabad, a city which also has a number of public schools including an all-girls school.

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


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.

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. [14] [15] 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. [16] Recent geological surveys have indicated the location of other gemstone deposits, in particular rubies and emeralds. [17] It is estimated that the mines at Kuran wa Munjan District hold up to 1,290 tonnes of azure (lapis lazuli). [18] Exploitation of this mineral wealth could be key to the region's prosperity. [17]

On 5 October 2018 in Washington, D.C., Afghan officials signed a 30-year contract involving a $22 million investment by investment group Centar and its operating company, Afghan Gold and Minerals Co., to explore and develop an area of Badakhshan for gold mining. [19]


The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket competitions by the Badakhshan Province cricket team BORNA Cricket Club which belongs 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
Children in Badakhshan Afghan children in Badakhshan Province-2012.jpg
Children in Badakhshan

As of 2020, the population of the province is about 1,054,087, constituting a multi-ethnic rural society. [5] Dari-speaking Tajiks make up the majority followed by a few Uzbeks, Hazaras, Pashtuns, Kyrgyz, Qizilbash, and others. [20] 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.

60.1% of the population lived below the national poverty line, one of the higher figures in the country. [21]


Districts of Badakhshan Province Flag of Afghanistan.svg
DistrictCapitalPopulation [4] AreaVillages
Ethnic groups
Arghanj Khwa 18,520Tajik. [22]
Argo 90,1651,032 km2145 villages.Tajik. [22]
Baharak Baharak 33,119328 km251 villages. Tajik. [22]
Darayim 70,834570 km2101 villages. Tajik. [22]
Fayzabad Fayzabad 78,757514 km2175 villages. Tajik. [22]
Ishkashim Ishkashim 15,9511,123 km243 villages. [23]
Jurm 43,4451286 km275 villages. Tajik [22]
Khash 43,798264 km221 villages. Tajik [22]
Khwahan Khwahan 19,06080 km246 villages. Tajik. [24]
Kishim Mashhad 93,004264 km2100 villages. Tajik [22]
Kohistan 19,06113 villages. Tajik [22]
Kuf Ab Qal`eh-ye Kuf 25,684Tajik
Keran wa Menjan Keran wa Menjan 10,9491,588 km242 villages. 100% Tajik. [25]
Maimay Jamarj-e Bala 30,416
Nusay Nusay 26,6314,589 km216 villages. Tajik. [26]
Raghistan Ziraki 45,55625 villages. Tajik. [22]
Shahri Buzurg Shahri Buzurg 60,155956 km274 villages. [27]
Sheghnan Shughnan 27,7503528 km228 villages. Khowar, Tajik and Qizilbash. [28]
Shekay Jarf 30,2801,700 km238 villages. Tajik, etc. [29]
Shuhada 39,7421,521 km262 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others. [30]
Tagab 32,307
Tishkan 34,336812 km257 villages. Tajik. [22]
Wakhan Khandud 17,16710,953 km2110 villages. Tajik. [31] [ dubious ]
Warduj 25,144929 km245 villages. Tajik. [22]
Yaftali Sufla 60,695605 km293 villages. Tajik. [22]
Yamgan 29,6041,779 km239 villages. 100% Tajik [32]
Yawan 37,310
Zebak Zebak 9,0571,521 km262 villages. 99% Tajik and 1% others. [33]

Notable people from Badakhshan

See also

Related Research Articles

Burhanuddin Rabbani President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 2001

Burhānuddīn Rabbānī was an Afghan politician and teacher who served as President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 2001.

Badakhshan Historical region of Central Asia (now part of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Western China)

Badakhshan is a historical region comprising parts of modern-day north-eastern 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 Northeastern Afghanistan. Much of historic Badakhshan lies within Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, located in the southeastern part of the country. The music of Badakhshan is an important part of the region's cultural heritage. Sovereignty over the eastern part of the area has not been officially renounced by the Republic of China, based on the island of Taiwan since 1949.

Wakhan Corridor Narrow strip of land in northeastern Afghanistan

The Wakhan Corridor is a narrow strip of territory in Afghanistan, extending to China and separating the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. 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.

Takhar Province Province of Afghanistan

Takhar is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeast of the country next to Tajikistan. It is surrounded by Badakhshan in the east, Panjshir in the south, and Baghlan and Kunduz in the west. The city of Taloqan serves as its capital.

Pamir Mountains Mountain range in Central Asia

The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range between Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia. It is located at a junction with other notable mountains, namely the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, Hindu Kush and the Himalaya mountain ranges. They are among the world's highest mountains.

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region Autonomous region of Tajikistan

The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, also known as the Kuhistani Badakhshan Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region in eastern Tajikistan, in the Pamir Mountains. It makes up 45 percent of the land area of the country, but only 3 percent of its population.

Wakhi language Eastern Iranian language spoken by the Wakhi people

Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the Eastern Iranian branch of the language family spoken today in Wakhan District, northern Afghanistan and also in Tajikistan, northern Pakistan and China.

Wakhan Mountainous area of northeastern Afghanistan

Wakhan, or "the Wakhan", is a rugged, mountainous part of the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram regions of Afghanistan. Wakhan District is a district in Badakshan Province.

The Pamir languages are an areal group of the Eastern Iranian languages, spoken by numerous people in the Pamir Mountains, primarily along the Panj River and its tributaries.

Pamir River

The Pamir is a river in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It is a tributary of the Panj River, and forms the northern boundary of Wakhan.

Darvaz (region)

Darvaz, alternatively Darwaz, Darvoz, or Darwoz, was an independent Pamiri principality until 1878, ruled by a Mir and its capital was at Qal'ai Khumb. The principality controlled territory on the left and right banks of the Oxus River. The major towns were Qal'ai Khumb and Kham.

Shughni language Pamir language of Tajikistan and Afghanistan

Shughni or Khughni, is one of the Pamir languages of the Southeastern Iranian language group. Its distribution is in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.

Pamiris Eastern Iranian ethnic group of the Pamir Mountains

The Pamiris are an Eastern Iranian ethnic group,native to the Badakhshan region of Central Asia, which includes the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan; the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan; Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang, China; and the Upper Hunza Valley in Pakistan.

Mount Imeon Ancient name for major Central Asia massif

Mount Imeon is an ancient name for the Central Asian complex of mountain ranges comprising the present Hindu Kush, Pamir and Tian Shan, extending from the Zagros Mountains in the southwest to the Altay Mountains in the northeast, and linked to the Kunlun, Karakoram and Himalayas to the southeast. The term was used by Hellenistic-era scholars as "Imaus Mount", even though non-Greek in etymology, and predating Alexander the Great.

Qalʽeh-ye Panjeh, also written Qila-e Panjeh and Kala Panja, is a village in Wakhan, Badakhshan Province in north-eastern Afghanistan. It lies on the Panj River, near the confluence of the Wakhan River and the Pamir River.

Sar-i Sang Place in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan

Sar-i Sang is a settlement in the Kuran Wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan, famous for its ancient lapis lazuli mines producing the world's finest lapis.

Kokcha River River in Afghanistan

The Kokcha River is located in northeastern Afghanistan. A tributary of the Panj river, it flows through Badakhshan Province in the Hindu Kush. The city of Feyzabad lies along the Kokcha. Near the village of Artin Jelow there is a bridge over the river.

Fayzabad, Badakhshan City 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.).

Alhaj Abdul-Azeem Zulmay Mujadidi is a member of the Afghan Lower House of Parliament from the Badakhshan Province and one of President Hamid Karzai's most loyal followers in the northeast of Afghanistan.


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  23. "Ishkashim District" (PDF).
  24. "Khowahan District" (PDF).
  25. "Keran Wa Menjan District" (PDF).
  26. "Nusay District" (PDF).
  27. "Shahr-e-Bozorg District" (PDF).
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Further reading