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Qardho is one of a series of ancient settlements in northern Somalia. In the Arie valley, mid-way between the city and Iskushuban, once lay a sizable town that had considerable structures with thick walls. Qardho is also situated near the burial place of the immediate forefather of the Marehan Darod clan.
In the post-independence period, Qardho became the official hub of the Qardho District. It is today the fourth largest city in the autonomous Puntland state, which was formed in 1998. Qardho also serves as the capital of the Karkaar sub-region.
Qardho has a number of academic institutions. According to the Puntland Ministry of Education, there are 39 primary schools in the Qardho District. Among these are Al-Xanaan, Shire, Gahayr and Gudcad. Secondary schools in the area include Sheikh Osman, Muntada, Nawawi and Al-Ashar.
On November 25, 2012, the Puntland government opened a new maximum security prison facility in Qardho. Inaugurated by Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole and a delegation of cabinet ministers, senior government representatives and district officials, the institution provides both custodial housing and social rehabilitation programs. The UNDP is also slated to assist in capacity building for the prison's correctional administration and staff.
In April 2013, the Puntland Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources announced plans to open a new fish market within the year in Qardho. The project is part of a larger regional development plan that will also see a similar marketplace inaugurated in Galkayo, in the model of the already launched Garowe fish market.
Air transportation in Qardho is served by the Qardho Airport. In late September 2013, Puntland Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation Abdiqani Gelle announced that the authorities in Somalia's autonomous Puntland region would carry out major renovations at the airport, as well as at the Garowe International Airport in Garowe and the Abdullahi Yusuf International Airport in Galkayo. A tender process for a similar upgrade initiative was concurrently launched at the Bender Qassim International Airport in Bosaso.
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