Maidan Wardak Province
Map of Afghanistan with Wardak highlighted
|Coordinates (Capital): Coordinates:|
|• Chief jehadi Commander and elder||Hakem Ghulam Hazrat Jaghato district (Peer Gaillani and Sayaaf)|
|• Total||9,934 km2 (3,836 sq mi)|
|• Density||54/km2 (140/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||AF-WAR|
|Main languages||Pashto, Dari|
Maidan Wardak Province (also called Maidan Wardag or simply Wardak Province; Pashto: میدان وردګ; Persian: میدان وردک, [Maidan warˈdak]) is one of thirty four provinces of Afghanistan located in the central east region of Afghanistan. It has a population of approximately 540,100. The capital of the province is Maidan Shar. The province is named after the Pashtun tribe of Wardak.
During the communist times, the people of Wardak never gave significant support to the communist government. Wardak Province was significant during the Civil War in Afghanistan, due to its proximity with Kabul and its agricultural lands. Hezb-e Wahdat had significant presence in the area. Most of the area was captured by the Taliban around winter 1995, and after the capture of Kabul, Wardak Taliban were significant in the fight for Parwan Province and Kapisa Province.
Maidan Wardak province is located in the Central (or Central East) region of Afghanistan; bordering Parwan to the Northeast, Kabul and Logar to the east, Ghazni to the south and Bamyan to the west. The capital of Maidan Wardak province is Maidan Shar, which is located about 35 km from Kabul. Maidan Wardak province covers an area of 9,934 km2. The majority of the provincial population (527,750 people) live in rural areas. The most heavily populated areas are along the Kabul – Kandahar Highway. The rest of the province is thinly populated, with villages concentrated in areas with available irrigation and water sources (CSO and UNFPA, 2003).
The provincial population is approximately 540,100. Pashtun and Hazara form the majority of the population in the province. Tajik and Qizilbash form a minority population in some of the districts. Kuchis migrate across parts of Sayadabad, Daymirdad and Nerkh between April and September.
The province is recognized for its strong religious sentiment. Between the 1950s-1970s over 30 study centres were active in the area, run by Shia sect.
Political parties and actors
There is a wide range of political actors operating in Maidan Wardak province. The two key parties are, Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami-e Mardom-e Afghanistan and Hizb-e Harekat-e Islami Afghanistan and two anti government parties like Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan and Taliban. Government appointments were contested after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001 (see above), but have settled into a pattern in which Pashtun related actors have been given significant positions in the police and governor's office.
The Taliban exercised both military and political presence in the province. Taliban forces in Wardak had been estimated at about 800 lightly armed men, split into dozens of different factions (Burke, 2008). However, a Taliban Commander, active in Wardak province, claimed having 6,000 fighters, and claimed that the Taliban controlled three quarters of the province. Although these figures are likely exaggerated, the Taliban are reported to have been freely moving at night, which gives the impression to local people that there is a high level of Taliban presence in the province (BBC, 2008).
The Taliban in Maidan Wardak kept a low profile during 2002, and many fled to Pakistan. By 2005, Taliban forces started to return to the province, focusing on reactivating old networks and exploiting the situation: there were a range of factors favourable to the Taliban, for example anger about civilian casualties caused by the military actions of the international forces, anger of the villagers at the corrupt government, and overall insecurity. The Taliban started preaching against the international forces, and by end of 2007 the Taliban started their recruitment process among the Maidan Wardak population (Burke, 2008). The Provincial Governor has denied that the Taliban have influence in the province, claiming that the government has absolute control and the Taliban do not have the support of the people (Leithead, 2008).
Wardak has 5 representatives in the Wolesi Jirga: two independent, two from the Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami Mardom-e Afghanistan party, and one member is from the Hezb-e Harakat-e Islami Mardom-e Afghanistan. The Maidan Wardak Provincial Council has nine members, eight of whom declared that they were independent. The ninth elected member is Mohammad Hussain Fahimee, who is Hazara from the Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami Mardom-e Afghanistan party.
In the 2004 presidential elections, Hamid Karzai (Pashtun, Independent), received 60.8% of the vote of the province; Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq (Hazara, Independent) received 32.7%; and the Tajik Yonous Qanooni from Hezb-e Nihzat-e Milli Afghanistan received 2.7%. However, it should be noted that Karim Khalili, second vice president and a Hazara from Wardak, has been the force behind Karzai's success in Wardak province and other Hazara populated areas.
The security situation rapidly deteriorated in Maidan Wardak in 2008 and 2009. According to a report by Mohammad Osman Tariq Elias, both Logar and Maidan Wardak, by the end of 2008, were under de facto Taliban control. As of April 2009, the Ministry of the Interior (Afghanistan) had listed the entire province as "High Risk."
The northernmost districts of Maidan Wardak are mainly populated by the Hazara and the southernmost are mainly populated by the Pashtun people. The two ethnic groups differ greatly from each other in physical appearance, religion and tradition. This clear difference has created a very strong negative bias between the two groups in the region and throughout the country. Pashtun Kochis—with the help of ethnic cleansing by Abdur Rhman Khan during the late 1800s and religious hatred by Taliban—have come into possession of many Hazara populated lands and properties over time. Due to their nomadic culture and history of strong political and financial backing, Kochis still trespass onto Hazara dominated regions during their seasonal migration, which often results in deadly conflicts between the two. This conflict is a very serious and repeating issue in this region. A viable government intervention is yet to be established for a sustainable peace treaty between the two groups.
Economics and industry
In terms of industry, one marble factory is working in the province, and there are marble mines in the provincial center and Sayed Abad District although no mining is currently undertaken there due to the government ban. The majority of commercial activity in Maidan Wardak is related to trade in agricultural and livestock products, although stone quarrying is also a growing business in the area. The people from Maidan Wardak are also expert in karez cleaning and repair and go to other parts of the country for this purpose. In Maidan Wardak, there are many natural resources like petroleum, iron, rubies, and many historical artifacts that have been found by the people, but have been kept secret.
Agriculture is a major source of revenue for 43% of households in Maidan Wardak province. Four fifths (79%) of rural households own or manage agricultural land or garden plots in the province. However, nearly a quarter (24%) of households in the province derive income from trade and services, and around half (45%) of households earn some income through non-farm related labor.
The overall literacy rate in Wardak province is 25%. There are around 251 primary and secondary schools in the province catering for 105,358 students. There are 2909 teachers teaching in these schools.
|Maidan Shar||35,008||~100% Pashtun, unknown% Tajik|
|Day Mirdad||28,865||~100% Hazara
|Hisa-I-Awali Bihsud||25,079||~80% Hazara
~20% pashtun, unknown% Qizilbash unknown% Tajik
|Markazi Bihsud||94,328||100% Hazara|
- Central Statistics Office of Afghanistan. "Settled Population of country by Provinces and sex for 2006-2009 years". Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- Elias, Mohammed Osman Tariq (2009). "The Resurgence of the Taliban in Kabul, Logar and Wardak". In Giustozzi, Antonio. Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field. Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-85065-961-7.
- Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith. "Face to Face with the Taliban." The Guardian. 14 December 2008. Accessed at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/14/afghanistan-terrorism
- British Broadcasting Corporation. Afghanistan: Security Map. 19 August 2009. Accessed at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8194230.stm Accessed on [28 September 2009]
- "Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development". Mrrd.gov.af. 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Wardak Provincial Profile - MRRD
- Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers
- Ethnic demographic statistics taken from http://www.nps.edu/programs/ccs/MaydenWardak.html
||Bamyan Province||Parwan Province||Kabul Province|
|Ghazni Province||Logar Province|