Baghlan Province

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The location of Baghlan Province within Afghanistan
The location of Baghlan Province within Afghanistan
Coordinates: 36°N 69°E / 36°N 69°E / 36; 69Coordinates: 36°N 69°E / 36°N 69°E / 36; 69
Country Afghanistan
Capital Puli Khumri
 • Total 21,118 km2 (8,154 sq mi)
Population [1]
 • Estimate (2011-2012) 848,500
ISO 3166 code AF-BGL
Languages Dari Persian

Baghlan (Pashto/Persian: بغلانBaġlān) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Puli Khumri, but its name comes from the other major town in the province, Baghlan. The ruins of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the Surkh Kotal, are located in Baghlan. The lead nation of local Provincial Reconstruction Team is Hungary since 2006.


Ancient history[edit]

The name Baghlan is derived from Bagolango or "image-temple", inscribed on the temple of Surkh Kotal during the reign of the Kushan emperor, Kanishka in the early 2nd century CE. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang traveled through Baghlan in the mid-7th Century CE, and referred to it as the "kingdom of Fo-kia-lang".[2]

Middle Ages[edit]

In the 13th Century CE, a permanent garrison of Mongol troops was quartered in the Kunduz-Baghlan area, and in 1253 fell under the jurisdiction of Sali Noyan Tatar, appointed there by Möngke Khan. Sali Noyan's positiion was later inherited by his son Uladu, and grandson Baktut.[3] These Turco-Mongol garrison troops (tamma) formed the Qara'unas faction, and by the 14th Century had allied with the Chaghataite Khanate. Under the rule of Temür the Qara'unas were given to Chekü Barlas, and then to his son Jahānshāh. Forbes Manz notes that these Kunduz-Baghlan forces appear to have remained cohesive and influential throughout the Timurid period, though under different leaders and different names, up until the Uzbek invasion.[when?][4] By the Islamic year 900 (1494-1495 CE), the area was noted in the Baburnama as ruled by a Qipchaq emir.[5]

20th century[edit]

In the mid-20th Century, as Afghanistan became the target of international development from both the Western and Soviet world, agricultural-industrial projects were initiated in Baghlan. These included factories for the production of sugar from sugar beets (initiated by Czech experts in the 1940s[6]) and for vegetable oil.[7] Czech expertise also figured heavily into the development of Baghlans' coal-mining industry,[8] centred at Baghlan's Karkar Valley, the only coal mine in Afghanistan to remain operational up through 1992.[9]

The modern Baghlan Province was created out of the former Qataghan Province in 1964.[10]

Soviet-Afghan War[edit]

During the Soviet-Afghan War, the Soviets in 1982 established the Kayan military zone in southern Baghlan. The area was defended by 10,000 Ismaili militiamen, increasing to 18,000 by 1992, who sided with the Soviets due to differences with the Islamist opposition.[11] Afghan Ismailis overall were inclined to support the Communists, though a local Ismaili leader, Sayed Manuchehr, lead a partisan movement against the Communists until Ismaili leader Sayed Mansur Naderi accepted Soviet support.[12]

Large portions of Baghlan and neighbouring Samangan Province were under the sway of the Soviet-aligned Naderi clan, the hereditary Ismaili Sayeds (spiritual leaders) of Kayan. Under their jurisdiction, was largely quiet and societally functional throughout the 1980s, with hospitals, schools, and administrative services, funded by the communist central government. Despite the Naderi's alliance with the Communists, they also maintained positive relations with the Mujahideen as well, permitting them to move through the area provided they refrained from attacks.[13]

One of the Soviets' three primary bases in Afghanistan, Kiligai, was located in Baghlan Province, and served as the "largest military supply and armoury centre of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan."[14]


As the 2001 Afghan War commenced, Ismaili spiritual leader Sayed Mansoor Naderi attempted to retake Baghlan from the Taliban. Naderi was aligned with Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum and his Jumbesh-e Milli party, and the competing Tajik-dominated Jamiat Islami party was also keen to seize control of Baghlan as Taliban power eroded. The Jamiat were able to seize the capital of Pul-i Khumri before Naderi, who despite his strong backing among the Afghan Ismailis and Shia Hazara, was unable to rally enough supporters to control the province. Naderi failed to retake the capital in 2001 and 2003, in the latter event he was forced by the dominant Andarabi militias to fall back to the Ismaili bastion of the Kayan Valley, and then to flee the region.[15]

On 13 June 2012, two earthquakes hit Afghanistan and there was a major landslide in Burka District of Baghlan Province. The village of Sayi Hazara was buried under up to 30 meters of rock, killing an estimated 71 people.[16]


Tajiks make up 65% of the population, followed by 15% Pashtuns, 12% Hazaras, 7% Uzbeks, and the remainder are Tatar.[17] In another source Tajiks along with Aimaq people and Sayyid-Tajiks make more than 70% of the provincial population. In addition, a significant number of Hazaras are also counted as part of the Persian-speaking people which makes Persian the overwhelmingly spoken language. Persian-speakers are followed by Pashtuns who make up the majority ethnic group in Baghlani Jadid district, and by Uzbeks and some Tatars.[18]

Baghlan is also home to a small community of Ismaili Muslims led by the Sayeds of Kayan.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2011.[19] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 5.5% in 2005 to 22% in 2011.[19]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) increased from 21% in 2005 to 24% in 2011.[19] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) increased from 29% in 2005 to 62% in 2011.[19]



Baghlan's primary crops (as of 1974) were cotton and sugar beets, industrial sugar production having begun under Czech supervision in the 1940s. The area also produced grapes, pistachios, and pommegranates. The primary livestock are Karakul sheep.[20]

Other products[edit]

The province also produces silk, and coal is mined in the Karkar Valley.[20]


The districts of Baghlan are:

Districts of Baghlan Province
District Capital Population[1] Area[21] Notes
Andarab 24400 Sub-divided in 2005
Baghlan Annexed into Baghlani Jadid District in 2005
Baghlani Jadid 164100
Burka 50400
Dahana-I-Ghuri 56300
Dih Salah 30500 Created in 2005 within Andarab District
Dushi 64000
Farang Wa Gharu 15900 Created in 2005 within Khost Wa Fereng District
Guzargahi Nur 9700 Created in 2005 within Khost Wa Fereng District
Khinjan 29100
Khost Wa Fereng 60300 Sub-divided in 2005
Khwaja Hijran 22800 Created in 2005 within Andarab District
Nahrin 66100
Puli Hisar 26400 Created in 2005 within Andarab District
Puli Khumri 199700
Tala wa Barfak 28800



Further information: List of governors of Baghlan

The current governor of Baghlan is Mohammad Akbar Barakzai, appointed 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Xuanzang. Record of the Western Regions. translated by Samuel Beal (1884) in Buddhist Records of the Western World, London: Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1884
  3. ^ "The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane - Beatrice Forbes Manz". 1999-03-25. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  4. ^ "The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane - Beatrice Forbes Manz". 1999-03-25. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  5. ^ "The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane - Beatrice Forbes Manz". 1999-03-25. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  6. ^ "Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia - Frank Clements". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Asian Annual: The "Eastern World" Handbook". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  8. ^ "The Far East and Australasia 2003 - Eur". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  9. ^ "Aiding Afghanistan: The Background and Prospects for Reconstruction in a ... - Asger Christensen". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  10. ^ D. Balland; X. de Planhol. "BAGÚLAÚN". In Ehsan Yarshater. Encyclopædia Iranica. United States: Columbia University. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  11. ^ Michael V. Bhatia; Mark Sedra (2008). Afghanistan, arms and conflict: armed groups, disarmament and security in a post-war society. Psychology Press. pp. 252–. ISBN 978-0-415-45308-0. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Culture and Customs of Afghanistan - Hafizullah Emadi". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  13. ^ "Empires of Mud: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 - Antonio Giustozzi". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  14. ^ "Summary of World Broadcasts: Far East". 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  15. ^ "Empires of Mud: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 - Antonio Giustozzi". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  16. ^ [2][dead link]
  17. ^ "Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at NPS - Home". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  18. ^ "Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  19. ^ a b c d [3][dead link]
  20. ^ a b "Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia - Frank Clements". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  21. ^ [4][dead link]