Ghōr Province

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Ghōr
غور
Minaret of Jam, Shahrak District
Minaret of Jam, Shahrak District
Map of Afghanistan with Ghor highlighted
Map of Afghanistan with Ghor highlighted
Coordinates (Capital): 34°N 65°E / 34°N 65°E / 34; 65Coordinates: 34°N 65°E / 34°N 65°E / 34; 65
Country  Afghanistan
Capital Chaghcharan
Government
 • Governor Abdullah Hewadwal
Area
 • Total 36,479 km2 (14,085 sq mi)
Population [1]
 • Total 657,200
 • Density 18/km2 (47/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-GHO
Main languages Dari
Hazaragi
Uzbeki
Pashto

Ghōr (Pashto/Persian: غور‎), also spelled Ghowr or Ghur, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in central Afghanistan, towards the north-west. The province contains ten districts, encompassing hundreds of villages, and approximately 657,200 settled people.[1] Chaghcharan serves as the capital of the province.

The name "Ghor" is a cognate to Avestan gairi-, Sanskrit giri- and Middle Persian gar, in modern Persian koh-, Sogdian gor-/gur-, in later developed Bactrian language as g´wrao- (also paravata), meaning "mountain", in modern Pashto as ghar-, in Pamir languages as gar- and ghalcca- ("mountain").

History[edit]

Further information: History of Afghanistan

Mandesh is the historical name by which the mountain region of Ghor was called.[2]

The inhabitants of Ghor were completely Islamized during the Ghurids era. Before the 12th century, the area was home to pagans, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Muslims and a small number of Jews. Remains of the oldest settlements discovered by Lithuanian archaeologists in 2007 and 2008 in Ghor date back to 5000 BC.[3] Ruins of a few castles and other defense fortifications were also discovered in the environs of Chaghcharan. A Buddhist monastery hand-carved in the bluff of the river Harirud existed in the first centuries during the prevalence of Buddhism. The artificial caves revealed testimony of daily life of the Buddhist monks.[4]

The rise to power of the Ghurids at Ghur, a small isolated area located in the mountain vastness between the Ghaznavid empire and the Seljukids, was an unusual and unexpected development. The area was so remote that till the 11th century, it had remained a pagan enclave surrounded by Muslim principalities. It was converted to Islam in the early part of the 12th century after Mahmud raided it, and left teachers to instruct the Ghurids in the precepts of Islam. Even then it is believed that paganism, i.e. a variety of Mahayana Buddhism persisted in the area till the end of the century.[5]

Various scholars and historians such as John McLeod attribute the conversion of the Ghauris to Islam at the hands of Mahmud Ghazni who converted them to Islam after his conquest of Ghor: a people from central Afghanistan who had been converted to Islam by Mahmud.[6]

Traditional Muslim historians such as Istakhri and Ibn Haukal attest to the existence of the non-Islamic enclave of Ghor prior to the time of Ghazni, who is attributed with converting its population to Islam.

Ghor - Also called Ghoristan. The mountainous country between Hirat and Ghazni. According to Istakhri and Ibn Haukal it was a rugged mountainous country , bounded by the districts of Hirat, Farrah, Dawar, Rabat, Kurwan, and Gharjistan back to Hirat, which were all Muhammadan countries. Ghor itself was a country of infidels, containing only a few Musulmans, and the inhabitants spoke a language different from that of Khurasan.[7]

Minhaju-S-Siraj records the strife between the non-Muslim and Muslim populations.

It is said that Amir Suri was a great king and most of the territories of Ghor were in his possession. But as most of the inhabitants of Ghor of High and low degree had not yet embraced Islam, there was constant strife among them. The Saffarians came from Nimroz to Bust and Dawar, Yakub Lais overpowered Lak-Lak, who was the chief of Takinabad, in the country of Rukhaj. The Ghorians sought the safety in Sara-sang and dwelt there in security but even among them hostilities constantly prevailed between the Muslims and the infidels. One castle was at war with another castle, and their feuds were unceasing; but owing to the inaccessibility of the mountains of Rasiat, which are in Ghor no foreigner was able to overcome them, and Shansbani Amir Suri was the head of all the Mandeshis.[8]

According to Minhahu-S Siraj, Amir Suri was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni, made prisoner along with his son and taken to Ghazni, where Amir Suri died.[9]

The region had previously been conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni, and the population converted to Islam.[10]

It was also the last stronghold of an ancient religion professed by the inhabitants when all their neighbors had become Muhammadan. In the 11th century AD Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the prince of Ghor Ibn–I-Suri, and made him prisoner in a severely contested engagement in the valley of Ahingaran. Ibn-I-Suri is identified a Hindu by the author, who has recorded his overthrow.[11]

The Minaret of Jam built by the Ghurid Dynasty

In the following year AH 401 (AD 1010), Mahmood led his army towards Ghoor. The native prince of the country, Mahomed, occupied an entrenched camp with 10000 men. Mahmood was repulsed in repeated assaults which he made from morning to noon. Finding that the troops of Ghoor defended their entrenchments with such obstinacy, he caused his army to retreat in apparent confusion, in order to lure the enemy out of his fortified position. The Ghoorians, deceived by the stratagem, pursued the army of Ghizny; when the king, facing about, attacked and defeated them with great slaughter. Mahommed Soor, being made prisoner was brought to the king, but having taken poison, which he always kept under his ring, he died in a few hours; his country was annexed to the dominions of Ghizny. The author of the Towareekh Yumny affirms, that neither the sovereigns of Ghoor nor its inhabitants were Mahomedans till after this victory; whilst the author of the Tubkat-Nasiry, and Fukhr -ood -Deen Moobarik Shah Lody, the latter of whom wrote a history of the Kings of Ghoor in verse, both affirm, that they were converted many years before, even so early as the time of Ally.[12]

In 1011, 1015 and 1020, both Mahmud and Mas'ud I led expeditions into Ghur and established Islam in place of the indigenous paganism. After this, Ghur was considered a vassal state of the Ghaznavid empire.[13] During the reign of 'Abd ar Rashi and the usurper Toghrul, Ghur and Gharchistan gained autonomy.[14]

Ghor was also the centre of the Ghurid dynasty in the 12th and 13th century. The remains of their capital Firuzkuh, which was sacked and destroyed by the Mongols in 1222, includes the Minaret of Jam, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On June 17, 2004, hundreds of troops of Abdul Salaam Khan, who had rejected the Afghan government's plan to disarm regional militias, attacked Chaghcharan and took over the city in an afternoon-long siege. Eighteen people were killed or wounded in the fighting and province governor Mohammed Ibrahim fled. Three days later the Afghan government announced that it would not retake Chaghcharan. Khan and Ibrahim began negotiations soon after, but reached no agreements. Khan's troops left Chaghcharan on June 23, a day ahead of the arrival of an Afghan National Army battalion, led by Lieutenant-General Aminullah Paktiyanai, arrived with the support of about twenty U.S. soldiers.

NATO presence and the Karzai administration[edit]

A Lithuanian contingent of the International Security Assistance Force is stationed in the province.

The base in Chaghcharan is called FOB Whiskey. The Coalition Force there is composed of Ukrainians, Georgians, Swedes, Lithuanians and a few other individual assignees from other nations who rotate in and out. There is also a small semi-permanent US Contingent stationed there.

Politics and governance[edit]

The current Governor of the province is Abdullah Hewadwal. His predecessor was Sayyed Mohammad Eqbal Munib. The town of Chaghcharan is the capital of Ghor province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the NATO-led forces.

Transportation[edit]

Further information: Chaghcharan Airport

As of May 2014, Chaghcharan Airport, located at the provincial capital of Chaghcharan, had regularly scheduled flights to Kabul and Herat.

As of 2013 the roads in the province remained largely undeveloped, unpaved and often lacked bridges over rivers.[15]

Economy[edit]

Agriculture and animal husbandry are the primary economic activities in Ghor Province.[16] According the United Nations, many young men were forced to leave the province to find work in Herat or Iran and a small percentage of the population were teachers, government officials, carpet weavers, carpenters and tailors. Over half of the population could not cover their basic needs with their level of income.[17] Opium production had returned to the region following the Taliban's departure as locals attempted to increase their incomes by farming a more economically lucrative crop.[17]

Healthcare[edit]

The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 14% in 2005 to 9% in 2011. [18] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant fell from 9% in 2005 to 3% in 2011. [19]

Education[edit]

The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) increased from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2011. [20] The overall net enrolment rate (6-13 years of age) increased from 28% in 2005 to 47% in 2011. [21]

Demographics[edit]

Districts of Ghor prior to the 2005 subdivision of Chaghcharan District.

The population of the province is estimated at 657,200 people as of 2013,[1] According to a Naval Postgraduate School report: The population consists of Tajik, Hazara, Aimak, Uzbek, Pashtun and a variety of other ethniciites of lesser representation.[22]

Religiously, about 70% of the population of the province follow Sunni Islam and the remaining 30% are Shias.[23]

Geography[edit]

Ghor occupies the end of the Hindu Kush mountains. Ghor is 2,500 metres above sea level and heavy snowfalls often block many of its rugged passes from November to April. It is also a drought-prone area in the summer.

Districts[edit]

Districts of Ghor Province[24]
District Capital Population[22] Area Notes
Firozkooh (Chaghcharan) 131,800 Sub-divided in 2005
Charsada 26,600 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District
Dawlat Yar 31,800 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District
Du Layna 35,100 Created in 2005 within Chaghcharan District and Shahrak District
Lal Wa Sarjangal 108,900
Pasaband 92,200
Saghar 33,700
Shahrak 58,200
Taywara 88,900
Tulak 50,000

Sport[edit]

Football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, taekwondo and karate are all official sports of the province. In July 2010, the Ghor Province cricket team was founded and will represent the province in future domestic tournaments.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Settled Population of Ghor province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13". Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Central Statistics Organization. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  2. ^ E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Volume 7 By Martijn Theodoor Houtsma Page 161
  3. ^ Province hides monuments some of which date back to 5000 BC, Quqnoos.com, 22 May 2008
  4. ^ Lithuanian archeologists make discovery in Afghanistan, The Baltic Times, May 22, 2008; Archaeologists make new discoveries about ancient Afghan cultures, Top News, 05/23/2008.
  5. ^ Medieval India Part 1 Satish Chandra Page 22
  6. ^ The history of India By John McLeod Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 Page 34
  7. ^ The History of India as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson, Volume 2 page 576
  8. ^ The History of India as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson, Volume 2 page 284
  9. ^ The History of India as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson, Volume 2 page 286
  10. ^ S.A.A. Rizvi, The Wonder that was India, Vol. II, (Picador India), page 16.
  11. ^ The Kingdom of Afghanistan: a historical sketch By George Passman Tate Edition: illustrated Published by Asian Educational Services, 2001 Page 12 ISBN 81-206-1586-7, ISBN 978-81-206-1586-1
  12. ^ Ferishta -Translation John Briggs page 28 vol 1
  13. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids, (Columbia University Press, 1977), 68.
  14. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids, 69.
  15. ^ NATO Channel, Discover Afghanistan - The Minaret of Jam, August 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F8SREfehZ4
  16. ^ Ghor Province by Naval Postgraduate School, http://www.nps.edu/Programs/CCS/Ghor/Ghor.html
  17. ^ a b District Profile, UNHCR, http://www.aims.org.af/afg/dist_profiles/unhcr_district_profiles/western/ghor/chaghcharan.pdf
  18. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre, https://www.cimicweb.org/AfghanistanProvincialMap/Pages/Ghor.aspx
  19. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre, https://www.cimicweb.org/AfghanistanProvincialMap/Pages/Ghor.aspx
  20. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre, https://www.cimicweb.org/AfghanistanProvincialMap/Pages/Ghor.aspx
  21. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre, https://www.cimicweb.org/AfghanistanProvincialMap/Pages/Ghor.aspx
  22. ^ a b "Ghor Province". Program for Culture and Conflict Studies. Retrieved 15 Aug 2013. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers
  25. ^ Ghor cricket team founded

External links and Additional Reading[edit]