Panjshir Province

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A view of a valley in the Panjshir Province of Afghanistan in 2009
A view of a valley in the Panjshir Province of Afghanistan in 2009
Map of Afghanistan with Panjshir highlighted
Map of Afghanistan with Panjshir highlighted
Coordinates (Capital): 35°24′N 70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0Coordinates: 35°24′N 70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0
Country  Afghanistan
Capital Bazarak
 • Governor Keramuddin Keram
 • Total 3,610 km2 (1,390 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total 146,100
 • Density 40/km2 (100/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-PAN
Main languages Dari

Panjshir (Persian: پنجشیر‎, literally "Five Lions", also spelled as Panjsher) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. The province contains seven districts, 512 villages, and between 146,100 to 300,000 settled and nomadic people.[1] Panjshir became an independent province from neighboring Parwan Province in 2004. Bazarak serves as the provincial capital.

Panjshir 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.


Further information: History of Afghanistan

The territory was ruled by the Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century. It was given to Ahmad Shah Durrani by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was created in or about 1750, and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, and was untouched by the British during the 19th century Anglo-Afghan wars.

Afghanistan's first wind farm in Panjshir Province.

It remained peaceful until the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at which point the Mujahideen, under Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud, began a rebellion against the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan.

After the collapse of the central Afghan government in 1992 and the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Panjshir, along with Badakhshan Province, served as a staging ground against the Taliban government in the late 1990s. By 2000, the Taliban captured the area and on September 9, 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated reportedly by two al-Qaeda members. Two days later the September 2001 attacks took place in the United States, and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were blamed. When the United State's request to hand over bin Laden and expel all al-Qaeda members was rejected by the Taliban, the United States Armed Forces along with others invaded Afghanistan and began a new war. Many people from Panjshir began moving to Kabul since then. Some have returned while others stayed.

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 bases. In the meantime, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also established bases, a US-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) began operating in Panjshir in late 2000s. As of 2012, security in the province is maintained by the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army.

Politics and governance[edit]

The current Governor of the province is Keramuddin Keram. His predecessor was Haji Bahlol. 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 Kabull. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 16% in 2005, to 17% in 2011. [2] And as many as 23% of births in 2011 were attended to by a skilled birth attendant. [3]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 33% in 2005 to 12% in 2011. [4] The overall net enrolment rate (6-13 years of age) fell from 42% in 2005 to 30% in 2011. [5] Four Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools service the agriculturally-oriented Panjshir Province, including the Shah Masoud 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).


Further information: Demography of Afghanistan
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.

The population of Panjshir Province is approximately 300,000, which includes about 146,100 settled people[1] and the large number of Kuchi nomads who inhabit the province seasonally. According to the Naval Postgraduate School, Tajiks make up the largest ethnic group in the province. [6] Dari (Afghan Persian) is the dominant language in the province. All inhabitants are followers of Islam, with majority being Sunni.

Population by districts[edit]

Districts of Panjshir Province
District Capital Population[7] Area Number of villages
Anaba c. 5,000 164 km2 31[8]
Bazarak Bazarak c. 65,000 378 km2 29[9]
Dara c. 5,500 709 km2 134[10]
Khenj c. 10,000 688 km2 154[11]
Paryan c. 3,902 1270 km2 67[12]
Rokha c. 5,000 144 km2 72[13]
Shotul c. 8,000 55 km2 23[14]

Places of interest[edit]

Notable people from Panjshir[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]