Laghman Province

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Stark contrasts in Afghanistan - 080907-F-0168M-071.jpg
Lush greenery stands in stark contrast to the surrounding desert in Laghman Province
Laghman in Afghanistan.svg
Map of Afghanistan with Laghman highlighted
Coordinates(Capital): 34°40′N70°12′E / 34.66°N 70.20°E / 34.66; 70.20 Coordinates: 34°40′N70°12′E / 34.66°N 70.20°E / 34.66; 70.20
CountryFlag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan
Capital Mihtarlam
  GovernorRahmatullah Yarmal
  Total3,842.6 km2 (1,483.6 sq mi)
 (2021) [1]
  Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 code AF-LAG
Main languages

Laghman (Pashto/Dari: لغمان) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country. It has a population of about 502,148, [1] which is multi-ethnic and mostly a rural society. The city of Mihtarlam serves as the capital of the province. In some historical texts the name is written as "Lamghan" or as "Lamghanat".



Laghman or Lamghan is originally named after Lamech (Mether Lam Baba), the father of Noah. [2]


A village sits in a valley in the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in Laghman Province A village sits in Laghman Province, Afghanistan.jpg
A village sits in a valley in the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in Laghman Province

Located currently at the Kabul Museum are Aramaic inscriptions that were found in Laghman which indicated an ancient trade route from India to Palmyra. [3] Aramaic was the bureaucratic script language of the Achaemenids whose influence had extended toward Laghman. [4] During the invasions of Alexander the Great, the area was known as Lampaka. [5]

Inscriptions in Aramaic dating from the Mauryan Dynasty were found in Laghman which discussed the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism. [6] The inscription mentions that the distance to Palmyra is 300 dhanusha or yojana.

The Mahamayuri Tantra dated to between 1-3rd century mentions a number of popular Yaksha shrines. It mentions Yaksh Kalahapriya being worshipped in Lampaka. [7]

In the seventh century, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited Laghman, which he called "Lan-p'o" and considered part of India. He indicated the presence of Mahayana Buddhists and numerous Hindus:

"For several centuries the native dynasty had ceased to exist, great families fought for preeminence, and the state had recently become a dependency of Kapis. The country produced upland rice and sugar-cane, and it had much wood but little fruit; the climate was mild with little frost and no snow. [...] There were above ten Buddhist monasteries and a few Brethren the most of whom were Mahayanists. The non-Buddhists had a score or two of temples and they were very numerous." [8]

The Hudud al-'alam which was finished in 982 AD mentioned the presence of some idol worshipping temples in the area. [9]

The Kabul Shahis only retained Lamghan in the Kabul-Gandhara area by the time of Alp-tegin. According to Firishta, Sabuktigin had already begun raiding Lamghan under Alp-tegin. [10] He crossed the Khyber Pass many times and raided the territory of Jayapala. [11] He plundered the forts in the outlying provinces of the Kabul Shahi and captured many cities, acquiring huge booty. [12] He also established Islam at many places. Jaipal in retaliation marched with a large force into the valley of Lamghan (Jalalabad) where he clashed with Sabuktigin and his son. The battle stretched on several days until a snow storm affected Jaipala's strategies, forcing him to sue for peace. [11]

Jayapala then returned to Waihind but broke the treaty and mistreated the amirs sent to collect the tribute. Sabuktigin launched another invasion in retaliation. [13] According to al-Utbi, Sabuktigin attacked Lamghan, conquering it and burning the residences of the "infidels" while also demolishing its idol-temples and establishing Islam. [14] He advanced and butchered the idolaters, destroying the temples and plundering their shrines, even risking frostbite on their hands counting the large booty. [15]

To avenge the savage attack of Sabuktigin, Jayapala, who has earlier taken his envoys as hostage, decided to go to war again in revenge. The forces of Kabul Shahi were however routed and those still alive were killed in the forest or drowned in the river. [16] Thks second battle that took place between Sabuktigin and Jayapala in 988 A.D., resulted in the former capturing territory between Lamghan and Peshawar. Al-Ubti also states that the Afghans and Khaljis, living there as nomads, took the oath of allegiance to him and were recruited into his army. [17] Sabuktigin won one of his greatest battles in Laghman against Jayapala and his army numbering 100,000. [18] Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni built the Tomb of Lamech, amid gardens, over the site of his presumed grave, 50 kilometres from Mihtarlam. [19]

The area later fell to the Ghurids followed by the Khilis and Timurids.

During the early years of the 16th century, the Mughal ruler Babur spent much time in Laghman, and in Baburnama (memoirs of Babur) he expatiated on the beauty of forested hillsides and the fertility of the valley bottoms of the region. [9] Laghman was recognized as a dependent district of Kabulistan in the Mughal era, [20] and according to Baburnama, "Greater Lamghanat" included the Muslim-settled part of the Kafiristan, including the easterly one of Kunar River. Laghman was the base for expeditions against the non-believers and was frequently mentioned in accounts of jihads led by Mughal emperor Akbar's younger brother, Mohammad Hakim, who was the governor of Kabul. [9] In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani defeated the Mughals and made the territory part of the Durrani Empire. In the late nineteenth century, Amir Abdur Rahman Khan forced the remaining kafirs (Nuristani people) to accept Islam.

Recent history

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus walking with Governor Iqbal Azizi in 2011. Flickr - The U.S. Army - Laghman chat.jpg
U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus walking with Governor Iqbal Azizi in 2011.

During the Soviet-Afghan war and the battles that followed between the rivaling warlords, many homes and business establishments in the province were destroyed. In addition, the Soviets are said to have employed a strategy that targeted and destroyed the agricultural infrastructure of Laghman. [21]

As of 2007, an International Security Assistance Force Provincial Reconstruction Team led by the United States is based at Mihtarlam.

Politics and governance

The current governor of the province is Rahmatullah Yarmal. [22] The city of Mihtarlam is the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and NATO-led forces.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 39% in 2005 to 34% in 2011. [23] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 3% in 2005 to 36% in 2011. [23] There are 57 medical health clinics and 2 government hospitals. [24]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) increased from 14% in 2005 to 26% in 2011. [23] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) increased from 48% in 2005 to 52% in 2011. [23]


Infrastructure and economy

Spodumene mined at Alinghar Pegmatite Field. Spodumene-26305.jpg
Spodumene mined at Alinghar Pegmatite Field.
Members of the U.S. Air Force inspecting the underside a bridge as traffic squeezes through the narrow roadway in Mihtarlam. photo essay 110907-F-RN211-154.jpg
Members of the U.S. Air Force inspecting the underside a bridge as traffic squeezes through the narrow roadway in Mihtarlam.

The Alingar and Alishing rivers pass through Laghman, as the province is known for its lushness. Laghman has sizable amounts of irrigated land as one can find scores of fruits and vegetables from Laghman in Kabul. Other main crops in Laghman include rice, wheat and cotton as many people living in the area are involved in agricultural trade and business.

Laghman also has an array of precious stones and minerals, [25] as it is well known for being a relatively untapped source of the Tourmaline and Spodumene gemstones which are reported to be in abundance at the northern portions of the province. [26] There are also marble mines. [27]


As of 2021, the total population of the province is about 502,148, which is multi-ethnic and mostly a rural society. [1] According to the Naval Postgraduate School, as of 2010 the ethnic groups of the province are as follows: 51.3% Pashtun, 27% Pashai and Nuristani (Kata), and 21.7% Tajik. [28] [29] The people of Laghman are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.


Districts of Laghman Province
DistrictCapitalPopulation (2020) [1] Area [30] Notes
Alingar 111,253 Pashtun, Pashayi, Tajik [31]
Alishing 82,054 Pashayi, Pashtun, Tajik [32]
Dawlat Shah 38,255 Pashayi, Pashtun Tajiks [33]
Qarghayi 112,740 Pashtun, Tajik, Pashai [35]
Badpash 8,516
Districts of Laghman Province Laghman districts.png
Districts of Laghman Province

Notable people from this province

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Abu Mansur Nasir al-Din Sabuktigin, also spelled as Sabuktagin, Sabuktakin, Sebüktegin and Sebük Tigin, was the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty, ruling from 367 A.H/977 A.D to 387 A.H/997 A.D. In Turkic the name means beloved prince.

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Mihtarlam District District in Laghman Province, Afghanistan

Mihtarlam District is located in the center of Laghman Province and consists of the urban centre and provincial capital Mihtarlam and 24 major villages and 269 sub-villages.

Qarghayi District District in Laghman Province, Afghanistan

Qarghayi District has 60 villages. It is the largest district in Laghman Province, and is located 30 km from the provincial centre of Mihtarlam. It borders Mihtarlam District to the north, Alingar District to the northeast, Nangarhar Province to the south and Kabul Province to the west. The district center is the village of Lalkhanabad, located between the Kabul River and its tributary the Alingar River.

Mihtarlam City in Laghman Province, Afghanistan

Mihtarlam, also spelled Mehtar Lam, is the sixteenth-largest city of Afghanistan. It is the capital of Laghman Province and center of Mihtarlam District. It is the only large urban settlement in the province. The town is situated in the valley formed by the Alishang and Alingar rivers, 47 km northwest of the city of Jalalabad. There is a paved road between the cities that takes approximately one hour to travel by car.

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Alishang Village in Laghman Province, Afghanistan

Alishang is a village, river and a fertile valley of Laghman Province, and also the district headquarters of Mihtarlam District, in eastern Afghanistan. It lies about 40 km northwest of Jalalabad.

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Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription

The Pul-i-Darunteh Aramaic inscription, also called Aramaic inscription of Lampaka, is an inscription on a rock in the valley of Laghman, Afghanistan, written in Aramaic by the Indian emperor Ashoka around 260 BCE. It was discovered in 1932 at a place called Pul-i-Darunteh. Since Aramaic was the official language of the Achaemenid Empire, which disappeared in 320 BCE with the conquests of Alexander the Great, it seems that this inscription was addressed directly to the populations of this ancient empire still present in northwestern India, or to border populations for whom Aramaic remained the language of use.


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