Zabul Province

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An aircraft flies past the Spin Ghar mountains on approach for a routine supply drop in Shah Joy district
Zabul in Afghanistan.svg
Map of Afghanistan with Zabul highlighted
Coordinates: 32°06′N67°06′E / 32.1°N 67.1°E / 32.1; 67.1 Coordinates: 32°06′N67°06′E / 32.1°N 67.1°E / 32.1; 67.1
Country Afghanistan
Capital Qalat
   Governor Bismillah Afghanmal
  Total17,343 km2 (6,696 sq mi)
 (2021) [3]
  Density23/km2 (58/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 code AF-ZAB
Main languages Pashto

Zabul (Pashto/Dari: زابل) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the south of the country. It has a mostly rural population of about 391,000. [3] Zabul became an independent province from neighbouring Kandahar in 1963. Historically, it was part of the Zabulistan region. Qalat serves as the capital of the province.


In 2021, the Taliban gained control of the province during the 2021 Taliban offensive.


Almond trees in Zabul Province Almond trees in Zabul Province of Afghanistan.jpg
Almond trees in Zabul Province

Zabul borders Oruzgan in the north, Kandahar in the west and in the south, Ghazni and Paktika in the east. It borders Pakistan in the east.

The province covers an area of 17293 km2. Two-fifths of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain (41%) while more than one quarter of the area is made up of flat land (28%).

The primary ecoregion of the province is the central Afghan mountains xeric woodlands. Common vegetation is listed as dry shrub-land and pistachio. The high mountains of the northern portion of the province are in the Ghor-Hazarajat alpine meadow ecoregion, which is characterized by meadows, willows, and sea buckthorn. [4]


In 2006, the province's first airstrip was opened near Qalat, to be operated by the Afghan National Army, but also for use by commercial aviation. Twice weekly service was scheduled by PRT Air between Qalat and Kabul. The airstrip is not paved. [5] The ANA Chief in Zabul is Major General Jamaluddin Sayed [6]

Zabul Province is bisected by Highway 1 and travelers going between Kandahar and Kabul via road typically pass through the province. [7]

On 4 September 2016, at least 38 people were killed and 28 were injured during the September 2016 Afghanistan road crash.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 0% in 2005 to 32% in 2011. [8] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1% in 2005 to 5% in 2011. [8]


Bibi Khala School in Qalat Bibi Khala School in Qalat, Afghanistan.jpg
Bibi Khala School in Qalat

The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) increased from 1% in 2005 to 19% in 2011. [8] The overall net enrollment rate (6–13 years of age) fell from 31.3% in 2005 to 5% in 2011. [8]


Ethnolinguistic groups of Afghanistan US Army ethnolinguistic map of Afghanistan -- circa 2001-09.jpg
Ethnolinguistic groups of Afghanistan
Districts of Zabul province Zabul districts.png
Districts of Zabul province

As of 2021, the total population of the province is about 850,000, [3] which is mostly a rural tribal society. According to the Naval Postgraduate School, the population is primarily Pashtun, sprinkled throughout around 2,500 remote villages. Major tribal groups include the Tokhi and Hotaki Ghilji and the Noorzai and Panjpai Durrani.

Pashto is the dominant language in the area. The people of Zabul are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. Primary occupations within Zabul are agriculture and animal husbandry. [9]


Districts of Zabul Province
DistrictCapitalPopulation (2021) [3] AreaNotes
Arghandab 37,580Sub-divided in 2005
Atghar 14,305
Daychopan 45,285
Kakar 27,710Created in 2005 within Arghandab District
Mezana 22,001
Naw Bahar 24,962Created in 2005 from parts of Shamulzayi and Shinkay Districts
Qalat Qalat 45,798
Shah Joy 81,285
Shamulzayi 37,152
Shinkay 32,469
Tarnak Aw Jaldak 22,603


The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket by the Zabul Province cricket team.

See also

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  1. Provinces of Afghanistan on Statoids.
  2. "Afghanistan's Provinces – Zabul at USAID". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Estimated Population of Afghanistan 2021-22" (PDF). National Statistic and Information Authority (NSIA). April 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  4. World Wildlife Fund, ed. (2001). "Central Afghan Mountains xeric woodlands". WildWorld Ecoregion Profile. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08.
  5. First Airstrip in Zabul Province, USAID
  6. Online, Asia Time. "Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan". Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2018.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. "The Back of Beyond: A Report from Zabul Province". Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2018.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. 1 2 3 4 Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  9. "Zabul Province". Program for Culture & Conflict Studies. Naval Postgraduate School . Retrieved 2013-06-16.