Zaranj

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Zaranj

زرنج

Zarange
Afghanistan-Iran border in Zaranj, Afghanistan, 2011.jpg
Trucks wait to cross into Iran at the Zaranj border crossing.
Afghanistan adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Zaranj
Location in Afghanistan
Coordinates: 30°57′36″N61°51′36″E / 30.96000°N 61.86000°E / 30.96000; 61.86000 Coordinates: 30°57′36″N61°51′36″E / 30.96000°N 61.86000°E / 30.96000; 61.86000
CountryFlag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan
Province Nimruz Province
District Zaranj District
Elevation
476 m (1,562 ft)
Population
 (2015)
  City49,851
   Urban
160,902 [1]
Time zone UTC+4:30

Zaranj or Zarang (Persian/Pashto/Balochi : زرنج) is a city in southwestern Afghanistan, near the border with Iran, which has a population of 160,902 people as of 2015. [2] It is the capital of Nimruz province and is linked by highways with Lashkar Gah to the east, Farah to the north and the Iranian city of Zabol to the west. Zaranj is a major border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran, which is of significant importance to the trade-route between Central Asia and South Asia with the Middle East. The history of Zaranj dates back over 2500 years and Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar, founder of the Saffarid dynasty, was born in this old civilization.

Contents

History

Modern Zaranj bears the name of an ancient city whose name is also attested in Old Persian as Zranka. [3] In Greek, this word became Drangiana. Other historical names for Zaranj include Zirra, [4] Zarangia, Zarani etc. [5] Ultimately the word Zaranj is derived from the ancient Old Persian word zaranka ("waterland"; cf. Pashto dzaranda).

Achaemenid Zranka, the capital of Drangiana, was almost certainly located at Dahan-e Gholaman, southeast of Zabol in Iran. [6] After the abandonment of that city, its name, Zarang or Zaranj in later Perso-Arabic orthography, was transferred to the subsequent administrative centers of the region, which itself came to be known as Sakastān, then Sijistan [7] and finally Sistān. Medieval Zaranj is located at Nād-i `Alī, 4.4 km north of the modern city of Zaranj. [8] According to the Arab geographers, prior to medieval Zaranj, the capital of Sistan was located at Ram Shahristan (Abar shariyar). Ram Shahristan had been supplied with water by a canal from the Helmand River, but its dam broke, the area was deprived of water, and the populace moved three days' march to found Zaranj. [9] This Zaranj appears on the Peutinger Map of late Antiquity.

The area came under Muslim rule in 652, when Zaranj surrendered to the governor of Khurāsān; it subsequently became a base for further caliphal expansion in the region. In 661, a small Arab garrison reestablished its authority in the region after having temporarily lost control due to skirmishes and revolts. [10] A Nestorian Christian community is recorded in Zaranj in the sixth century, and by the end of the eighth century there was a Jacobite diocese of Zaranj. [11] In the 9th century Zaranj was the capital of the Saffarid dynasty, whose founder was the local coppersmith turned warlord, Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar. [12] It became part of the Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Trimurids, Safavids and others. Defeated by the Samanids in 900, the Saffarids sank to a position of regional importance, until conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1003. [13] Subsequently, Zaranj served as the capital of the Nasrid (1029-1225) and Mihrabānid (1236-1537) maliks of Nīmrūz. [14]

In the early 18th century, the city became part of the Afghan Hotaki dynasty until they were removed from power in 1738 by Nader Shah of Khorasan. By 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani made it part of modern Afghanistan after he united all the different tribes and acquired the territories from northeastern Iran to Delhi in India. Under the modern Afghan governments, the area was known as Farah-Chakansur Province until 1968, when it was separated to form the provinces of Nimruz and Farah. [15] The city of Zaranj became the capital of Nimroz province.

Recent developments

Nimruz Governor's official guesthouse serving official guests visiting Nimruz. Building in Zaranj.jpg
Nimruz Governor's official guesthouse serving official guests visiting Nimruz.

A new highway called Route 606 was built between Zaranj and Delaram in Farah province by the Indian Government's Border Roads Organization at a cost of about US$136 million to open up a link between the deep sea port at Chabahar in Iran to Afghanistan's main ring road highway system which connects Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. The 215-kilometre-long (134 mi) highway, a symbol of India's developmental work in the war-ravaged country, was handed over to Afghan authorities by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in January 2009 in the presence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. "Completion of the road reflects the determination of both India and Afghanistan that nothing can prevent or hinder collaboration between the two countries," Mukherjee said at a function to mark this handover. On the occasion, Karzai said, the completion of the project is a message to those who want to stop cooperation between India and Afghanistan. "Our cooperation will not stop". The Taliban was opposed to this project and launched frequent attacks on the construction workers in an attempt to force the winding up of the work. A total of six Indians, including a Border Roads Organisation driver and four ITBP soldiers, and 129 Afghans were killed in these attacks.[ citation needed ]

The province has been one of the 7 (Nimruz, Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Paktika and Zabul) where the Taliban have been recently regrouping. On 14 August 2012 dozens of civilians were killed in Zaranj by several suicide-bombers in a major terrorist attack on the city. [16]

Due to Zaranj's close proximity to Iran, the city relies mostly on Iranian products. With the increase of trade the Afghan Border Police is dealing with a rise in smuggling, particularly illegal drugs and weapons. The overall economic situation is becoming better for the local population of the city. Hundreds of trucks containing merchandise from the Middle East enter the city on a daily basis.

In the last decade, the U.S. Marines and others of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been visiting Zaranj city. The US Marines and other U.S. officials are involved with the Afghan government in major development projects. This includes improvement made to the irrigation network of the city, building of Afghan military and Afghan National Police barracks as well as a hospital and a school.

The city is served by Zaranj Airport, which is also being improved by the United States. US Marines assigned to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing have been visiting Zaranj since US Marine Base Forward Operating Base Delaram was built in Delaram district of Zaranj. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing built two concrete helicopter landing zones on western side of the gravel runway of Zaranj Airport to ease the landing of USMC V-22 Osprey helicopters from 3rd Battalion 4th Marines. The helipads now serve all helicopters landing at Zaranj airport.

Climate

Zaranj has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with very hot summers and cool winters. Precipitation is very low, and mostly falls in winter. Temperatures in summer may approach 50 °C (122 °F); the highest reliably recorded temperature is 49.6 °C (121.3 °F), and the lowest is −13.2 °C (8.2 °F). [17]

Climate data for Zaranj
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)24.1
(75.4)
30.6
(87.1)
37.0
(98.6)
45.0
(113.0)
51.0
(123.8)
49.7
(121.5)
49.3
(120.7)
50.0
(122.0)
49.7
(121.5)
42.0
(107.6)
36.0
(96.8)
27.8
(82.0)
51.0
(123.8)
Average high °C (°F)14.3
(57.7)
18.7
(65.7)
25.0
(77.0)
32.6
(90.7)
37.3
(99.1)
42.8
(109.0)
42.5
(108.5)
41.3
(106.3)
37.0
(98.6)
31.2
(88.2)
23.1
(73.6)
17.7
(63.9)
30.3
(86.5)
Daily mean °C (°F)6.5
(43.7)
10.0
(50.0)
15.7
(60.3)
23.3
(73.9)
29.1
(84.4)
33.4
(92.1)
35.0
(95.0)
32.3
(90.1)
27.2
(81.0)
21.9
(71.4)
13.1
(55.6)
8.7
(47.7)
21.3
(70.4)
Average low °C (°F)0.1
(32.2)
2.9
(37.2)
7.7
(45.9)
14.7
(58.5)
20.0
(68.0)
25.2
(77.4)
27.3
(81.1)
24.9
(76.8)
18.5
(65.3)
12.3
(54.1)
4.8
(40.6)
0.7
(33.3)
13.3
(55.9)
Record low °C (°F)−13.2
(8.2)
−8.2
(17.2)
−5.2
(22.6)
1.0
(33.8)
5.0
(41.0)
16.0
(60.8)
18.4
(65.1)
13.2
(55.8)
3.9
(39.0)
−2.7
(27.1)
−7.1
(19.2)
−8.8
(16.2)
−13.2
(8.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches)19.7
(0.78)
9.9
(0.39)
11.2
(0.44)
2.4
(0.09)
0.6
(0.02)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
1.2
(0.05)
1.4
(0.06)
5.1
(0.20)
51.5
(2.03)
Average rainy days32220000001111
Average relative humidity (%)55504440352928293341495441
Source: NOAA (1969-1983) [18]

Demographics

According to the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) along with UNHCR and Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Afghanistan, the population of Zaranj was around 49,851 in 2004. The ethnic groups are as follows: Baloch 44%, Pashtun 34% and Tajik 22%. [19]

The city of Zaranj has a population of 160,902 people. [20]

There are 17,878 residential dwellings in Zarat and 1,759 hectares of agricultural land. [21] Commercial land use is clustered on the main road to Iran.

Notable people

Route 606: Delaram-Zaranj Highway

The Delaram–Zaranj Highway, also known as Route 606, is a 217-km or 135-mile-long two-lane road built by India in Afghanistan, connecting Delaram in Farah Province with Zaranj in neighbouring Nimruz Province near the Iranian border. [22] It connects the Afghan–Iranian border with the Kandahar–Herat Highway in Delaram, which provides connectivity to other major Afghan cities via A01, including to India's planned mining operation in Hajigak mining concession. Route 606 reduces travel time between Delaram and Zaranj from the earlier 12–14 hours to just 2 hours. India-Iran signed an agreement in May 2016 to connect it to Port of Chabahar with rail and road links.

See also

Related Research Articles

Sistan and Baluchestan Province Province in southeastern Iran

Sistan and Balochistan Province is the second largest province of the 31 provinces of Iran, after Kerman Province. It is in the southeast of the country, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and its capital is Zahedan. The province is the second largest province in Iran with an area of 180,726 km2 and a population of 2.5 million. The counties of the province are Chabahar County, Qasr-e Qand County, Dalgan County, Golshan County, Hirmand County, Iranshahr County, Khash County, Konarak County, Nik Shahr County, Saravan County, Sarbaz County, Sib and Suran County, Taftan County, Zabol County, Mehrestan County, Zahedan County, Zehak County, Hamun County, Nimruz County, Bampur County, Mirjaveh County and Fanuj County.

Nimruz Province Province of Afghanistan

Nimruz or Nimroz is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the southwestern part of the country. It lies to the east of the Sistan and Baluchestan Province of Iran and north of Balochistan, Pakistan, also bordering the Afghan provinces of Farah and Helmand. It has a population of about 186,963 people. The province is divided into five districts, encompassing about 649 villages.

Saffarid dynasty Persian dynasty from 861 to 1003

The Saffarid dynasty was a Sunni Persian dynasty from Sistan that ruled over parts of Greater Iran, with its capital at Zaranj, from 861 to 1003. One of the first indigenous Persian dynasties to emerge after the Islamic conquest, the Saffarid dynasty was part of the Iranian Intermezzo. The dynasty's founder was Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, who was born in 840 in a small town called Karnin (Qarnin), which was located east of Zaranj and west of Bost, in what is now Afghanistan. A native of Sistan and a local ayyār, Ya'qub worked as a coppersmith (ṣaffār) before becoming a warlord. He seized control of the Sistan region and began conquering most of Iran and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Yaqub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar Emir of the Safarid Dynasty from 861-879

Ya'qūb ibn al-Layth al-Saffār, or Ya'qūb-i Layth-i Saffārī, was a Persian coppersmith and the founder of the Saffarid dynasty of Sistan, with its capital at Zaranj. Under his military leadership he conquered much of the eastern portions of the Greater Iran consisting of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan as well as portions of western Pakistan and a small part of Iraq. He was succeeded by his brother, Amr ibn al-Layth.

Ahmad Samani Emir of the Samanids

Ahmad ibn Ismail was amir of the Samanids (907–914). He was the son of Ismail Samani. He was known as the "Martyred Amir".

Drangiana

Drangiana or Zarangiana (Greek: Δραγγιανή, Drangianē; also attested in Old Western Iranian as 𐏀𐎼𐎣, Zraka or Zranka, was a historical region and administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around Hamun Lake, wetlands in endorheic Sistan Basin on the Iran-Afghan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in what is nowadays southwestern region of Afghanistan.

Amr ibn al-Layth Amir of the Saffarid dynasty

Amr ibn al-Layth or Amr-i Laith Saffari was the second ruler of the Saffarid dynasty of Iran from 879 to 901. He was the son of a whitesmith and the younger brother of the dynasty's founder, Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar.

Abu'l-Hasan Tahir ibn Muhammad ibn Amr was amir of the Saffarid amirate from 901 until 909. He was the son of Muhammad ibn Amr.

Al-Layth ibn Ali ibn al-Layth was amir of the Saffarid amirate from 909 until 910. He was the son of Ali ibn al-Layth and nephew of the first two Saffarid rulers, Ya'qub ibn al-Layth and Amr ibn al-Layth.

Abu Hafs ‘Amr ibn Ya'qub ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Amr was the Saffarid amir of Sistan for slightly over a year (912–913). He was the son of Ya'qub, the brother of Tahir ibn Muhammad ibn Amr.

Abu'l-Sāj Dēvdād was a Sogdian prince, who was of the most prominent emirs, commanders and officials of the Abbasid Caliphate. He was the eponymous ancestor of the Sajid dynasty of Azerbaijan. His father was named Devdasht.

Kandahar–Herat Highway

The Kandahar–Herat Highway is 557-kilometer (346 mi) section of road that links the cities of Kandahar and Herat in Afghanistan. This highway is part of a larger road network, the "Ring Road", and was first constructed by the Soviets in the 1960s. The Kandahar-Herat Highway is made up of two sections of "National Highway 1": NH0101 runs from Kandahar to Girishk, and NH0102 runs from Girishk to Herat.

Sistan Region straddling Eastern Iran and Southern Afghanistan

Sistān, known in ancient times as Sakastān, is a historical and geographical region in present-day Eastern Iran and Southern Afghanistan. Largely desert, the region is bisected by the Helmand River, the largest river in Afghanistan, which empties into the Hamun Lake that forms part of the border between the two countries.

Sistani Persians or Sistanis are an ethnic Persian group, who primarily inhabit Sistan in southeastern Iran and historically southwestern Afghanistan as well. They live in the northern part of Sistan and Balouchistan province, where they form a major minority after the Baloch people. Their descendants in Afghanistan are primarily the Pashtun tribe of the Sakzai who are the largest ethnicity in the South-western parts of Afghanistan. Since recent decades many also have migrated to other parts of Iran such as Tehran and Golestan provinces in northern Iran.The largest city of Sistan region is Zabol. Sistanis speak a dialect of Persian known as Sistani or Zaboli.

Delaram City in Nimruz Province, Afghanistan

Delārām is a city in the northern part of Nimruz Province, in southern Afghanistan. It is a major transportation center, with several major road converging on the area, including Kandahar–Herat Highway, Route 515 to Farah, Route 522 to Gulistan and Route 606 to Iran. The district center contains a large bazaar.

Zaranj District is a district of Nimruz Province, Afghanistan, containing the provincial capital city of Zaranj.

Route 606 (Afghanistan)

Route 606, also known as Delaram-Zaranj Highway or A71 is a 218 km roadway in the Nimruz Province of Afghanistan connecting the Delaram District in Afghanistan to the border of Iran. The opposite way goes towards the south near Zaranj, Afghanistan. It is one of the busiest roads in Afghanistan and provides an important trade route between Iran and the rest of Asia. It was developed by India's Border Roads Organisation.

Muslim conquest of Khorasan was the last phase of the heavy war between the Rashidun caliphate against Sassanid Empire.

Tomb of Yaqub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar

The Tomb of Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar or Yaghub Leys Safari was built by the Saffarid dynasty and this building is located in Gundeshapur in Dezful County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. It is the tomb of Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar, the founder of the Saffarid dynasty.

Muḥammad ibn Waṣīf was an Iranian poet and secretary who flourished in the 9th century in the service of the Saffarid dynasty of Sistan. He is considered to be author of one of the earliest works of poetry in Early New Persian according to the regulations of Arabic quantitative metre.

References

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  2. "The State of Afghan Cities Report 2015" . Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  3. Schmitt, Rüdiger (15 December 1995). "DRANGIANA or Zarangiana; territory around Lake Hāmūn and the Helmand or Hindmand river in modern Sīstān". Encyclopædia Iranica . The name of the country and its inhabitants is first attested as Old Persian z-r-k (i.e., Zranka)in the great Bīsotūn (q.v. iii) inscription of Darius I (q.v.; col. I l. 16), apparently the original name. This form is reflected in the Elamite (Sir-ra-an-qa and variants), Babylonian (Za-ra-an-ga), and Egyptian (srng or srnḳ) versions of the Achaemenid royal inscriptions, as well as in Greek Zarángai, Zarangaîoi, Zarangianḗ (Arrian; Isidore of Charax), and Sarángai (Herodotus) and in Latin Zarangae (Pliny). Instead of this original form, characterized by non-Persian z (perhaps from proto-IE. palatal or *γh), in some Greek sources (chiefly those dependent upon the historians of Alexander the Great, q.v.) the perhaps hypercorrect Persianized variant (cf. Belardi, p. 183) with initial d-, *Dranka (or even *Dranga?), reflected in Greek Drángai, Drangḗ, Drangēnḗ, Drangi(a)nḗ (Ctesias; Polybius; Strabo; Diodorus; Ptolemy; Arrian; Stephanus Byzantius) and Latin Drangae, Drangiana, Drangiani (Curtius Rufus; Pliny; Ammianus Marcellinus; Justin) or Drancaeus (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 6.106, 6.507) occurs.
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  7. “….As for ibn-Samurah, he established his rule over everything between Zaranj and Kishsh of the land of al-Hind, and over that part of the region of the road of ar-Rukhkhaj which is between it and the province of ad-Dhawar”, The origins of the Islamic State, Part II (1924) page 143 by Murgotten, Francis Clark
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  10. Islamic History: A New Interpretation By Muhammad Abdulhavy Shaban
  11. Fiey, Pour un Oriens Christianus, 281
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  14. C.E. Bosworth (2002). "Zaranj". In P. J. Bearman; T. Bianquis; C. E. Bosworth; E. Van Donzel; W. P. Heinrichs (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. p. 459.
  15. Frank Clements. Conflict in Afghanistan: a historical encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2003. ISBN   1-85109-402-4, ISBN   978-1-85109-402-8. Pg 181
  16. Afghan blasts: 'Dozens killed' in Nimroz province
  17. Extreme Temperatures From Around the World
  18. "Zaranj Climate Normals 1969-1983". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved December 26, 2012.
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Bibliography