Panjshir Province

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Panjshir collage.jpg
A view of the Panjshir valley, a Panjshir River, Tomb of Ahmad Shah Massoud and Panjshir wind farm
Panjshir in Afghanistan.svg
Map of Afghanistan with Panjshir highlighted
Coordinates(Capital): 35°24′N70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0 Coordinates: 35°24′N70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0
CountryFlag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan
Capital Bazarak
  Governor Muhammad Arif Sarwari
  Total3,610 km2 (1,390 sq mi)
 (2021) [1]
  Density48/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 code AF-PAN
Main languages Dari

Panjshir (Dari/Pashto: پنجشیر, literally "Five Lions", also spelled as Panjsher and Panjsheer) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. The province is divided into eightdistricts and contains 512 villages. As of 2021, the population of Panjshir province was about 173,000. [1] [2] Bazarak serves as the provincial capital.


Panjshir became an independent province from neighboring Parwan Province in 2004. It is surrounded by Baghlan and Takhar in the north, Badakhshan and Nuristan in the east, Laghman and Kapisa in the south, and Parwan in the west.


The territory was ruled by the Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century. As Ahmad Shah Durrani's northern Afghanistan conquest began Parwan area which contained today's Panjshir was conquered by Ahmad Shah Durrani and officially accepted as a part of Durranis by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was signed in or about 1750, and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was fully ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, and was untouched by the British during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars. Panjshir was attacked multiple times during the Soviet-Afghan War, against Ahmad Shah Massoud and his forces.

Afghanistan's first wind farm in Panjshir Province. Wind farm in Panjshir Province-2.jpg
Afghanistan's first wind farm in Panjshir Province.

In 1973, Mohammed Daoud Khan took over power in Afghanistan and began threatening to take back Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Pakistan, causing great anxiety to the government of Pakistan. By 1975, the young Ahmad Shah Massoud and his followers initiated an uprising in Panjshir but were forced to flee to Peshawar in Pakistan where they received support from Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto is said to have paved the way for the April 1978 Saur Revolution in Kabul by making Daoud spread the Afghan Armed Forces to the countryside. [3] The Panjshir region was in rebel control from August 17, 1979, after an uprising, [4] and the region was well defended by mujahedeen commanders during the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War against the PDPA government and the Soviet Union.

After the collapse of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1992 the area became part of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. By late 1990s, Panjshir and neighboring Badakhshan province, served as a staging ground for the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. On September 9, 2001, Defense Minister Massoud was assassinated by two al-Qaeda operatives. [5] Two days later the September 2001 attacks occurred in the United States and this led to the start of a major U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

Containing the Panjshir Valley, in April 2004 Panjshir District of Parwan Province was turned into a province under the Karzai administration . The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) established several bases in the province. In the meantime, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also established bases, a US-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) began operating in Panjshir in the late 2000s. As of 2012, security in the province is maintained by the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army.

Politics and governance

The current governor of the province is Kamalludin Nezami. His predecessor was Mohammad Arif Seward and Keramuddin Keram (who raped two members of Afghanistan national women football team in Kabul and then escaped to Panjshir province). [6] Bazarak is the capital of Panjshir province. 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. The police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces.

During the parliamentary elections of 2005, Saleh Mohammad Registani was elected as the only male representative of the Panjsher province to Afghanistan's House of Representatives or Wolesi Jirga.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 16% in 2005, to 17% in 2011. [7] And as many as 23% of births in 2011 were attended to by a skilled birth attendant. [7]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 33% in 2005 to 32% in 2011. [7] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) fell from 42% in 2005 to 40% in 2011. [7] Four Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools service the agriculturally-oriented Panjshir Province, including the Ahmad Shah Massoud TVET. The school was established with the help from the Hilfe Paderborn and German Foreign Office and has about 250 students and 22 staff members (as of August 2014).


U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Abraham Jara hands out first aid kits to Afghan locals during a first aid class at a school in the Dara district of Panjshir province. News Photo 100103-A-6365W-379.jpg
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Abraham Jara hands out first aid kits to Afghan locals during a first aid class at a school in the Dara district of Panjshir province.

As of 2021, the total population of the province is about 173,000. [1]

According to the Institute for the Study of War, "Tajiks form the majority of the population." [2]

Dari (Afghan Persian) is the dominant language in the province. All inhabitants are followers of Islam, and exclusively Sunni while the Hazaras of other parts of Afghanistan are mostly Shias (Shiites). [2]

Population by districts

Districts of Panjshir Province
DistrictCapitalPopulation [1] AreaNumber of villages
Abshar District12,707
Anaba 20,682164 km231 [8]
Bazarak Bazarak 21,629378 km229 [9]
Dara/ also known as (Persian: درۀ هزاره / Dara-ye-Hazara) 15,951709 km2134 [10]
Khenj 45,961688 km2154 [11]
Paryan 17,0331270 km267 [12]
Rokha 26,360144 km272 [13]
Shotul 12,57255 km223 [14]

Places of interest

Notable people from the province

See also

Related Research Articles

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  8. Onaba District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Bazarak District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Dara District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Khenj District (Re-elected)
  12. Pariyan District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Rukha District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Shotol District (Re-elected) Archived 2016-01-24 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "گفت و گو با فرزند احمدشاه مسعود؛ "عملیات ما برای ادبیات‌مان است"". February 24, 2014.