Bala Murghab

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Bala Murghab
Bala Murghab, Murghab District, Badghis Province
Bala Morghab.JPG
Bala Murghab is located in Afghanistan
Bala Murghab
Bala Murghab
Location in Afghanistan
Coordinates: 35°34′49″N 63°19′40″E / 35.58028°N 63.32778°E / 35.58028; 63.32778Coordinates: 35°34′49″N 63°19′40″E / 35.58028°N 63.32778°E / 35.58028; 63.32778
Country  Afghanistan
Province Badghis Province
District Murghab District
 • Type Tribal
 • Chief Muhammad Lewal
Elevation 1,555 ft (474 m)
Time zone + 4.30

Murghab, also called Bala Murghab, is a village in Badghis Province in north-western Afghanistan. It is the district center for the Murghab District, and home of Forward Operating Base Todd.[1] Nearby lie the ruins of the medieval town of Marw al-Rudh.


With a warm and temperate climate, Murghab features a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) under the Köppen climate classification. The average temperature in Murghab is 16.1 °C, while the annual precipitation averages 326 mm.

July is the hottest month of the year with an average temperature of 28.6 °C. The coldest month January has an average temperature of 3.6 °C.

Climate data for Murghab
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.6
Average low °C (°F) −1.4

Key Personalities[edit]

Colonel Amir Shah Naibzada, Afghan Border Patrol[edit]

One of the most controversial political figures in the province, Amir Shah Naibzada, is the commander of the Afghan Border Police Kandak responsible for northern Herat and Badghis. He is allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking. Many eyewitnesses have observed that he used police vehicles for narcotics and drug trafficking. Amir Shah controls Tajik militias in Qades and has close relatives spread across the provincial government and in particular the security forces. His brother is the police chief of Moqur District. Another brother, Wali Shah Naibzada is a senator, and an uncle is the chief of the Criminal Information Department (CID) police unit, with another uncle heading the Ministry of Finance.

There are accounts of Naibzada committing atrocities in Pashtun communities throughout Badghis including the rape and murder of 20-40 Pashtun women in Akazai in 2002 when he was police chief. Amir Shah is the commander of the Bala Murghab mafia. He is half-Pashtun on his mother’s side. Recently, he sponsored a benefit for the father of Mohammad Amin, the former district governor, connecting himself with the Pashtuns in Murghab District.

Murder and corruption charges were brought against Amir Shah, the biggest case was that of MSF staff, which claimed that the attack was organized and instructed by him while he was acting as Chief of police in Badghis. He was also alleged of murder, rape and assault of Bala Marghab people during the early period of Afghanistan's Transitional Government. However, once the word of the charges reached Kabul, Amir Shah used his power and personal connections in the Parliament to nullify the allegations in Badghis. Around 50 elders from Bala Murghab waited months to speak with Hamid Karzai about Amir Shah’s severe corruption. Karzai has taken steps to suspend him from his position and also directed the subordinate authorities to surrender him to justice.

Haji Mulawi Ramazan[edit]

From the Buzi tribe, the very influential Mulawi Ramazan does not openly support the Taliban. He is considered a spiritual leader in the Bala Murghab region. His village is Nowabad, of which he is the elder. He was said to have been the driving force behind the temporary peace treaty in early 2009.

Haji Mullah Ramatullah (Mullah Rahmat)[edit]

The district governor before Mohammad Amin, Mullah Ramatullah, is the spiritual leader in the Murghab River Valley and a very influential person. Mullah Ramatullah is such a powerful person, it is said that the youth will kiss his hand. Further, he has the ability to act as a facilitator between disparate groups. He is from Pa’in Panerak Village.

Zaqari Waliz[edit]

An influential spiritual and political figure in the Morghab river valley between the years 2008 and 2009. Little is known about his ethnic background or region of origin. Waliz is such a powerful person, it is said that Mullah Rahmat kisses his hand. This may be in part due to the popular idea that he lived in the wild with the Kuchi tribes of the region. It is said the Kuchi believed he was born of a great rock that fell from the sky into the Sigma Mountain, and that they revered him as a holy man and miracle worker.

Rumored to have been a coalition operative, some have speculated that his presence in the valley was a ruse on the part of Coalition Forces to infiltrate the Taliban infrastructure. The primary purpose behind this was allegedly to get closer to and assassinate Ghulam Dastagir (a Taliban instigator who had been released from prison and escaped to the remote Morghab region). After Dastagir was killed in spring 2009 (on official record as by a coalition air strike), Waliz was not seen again. It is said that he lived within Forward Operating Base Todd. Most believe he has since left the valley. He is said to have fathered many children during his time there.

Sharifullah Sharif[edit]

Sharif is an interpreter working in Bala Murghab. He is from an ambiguous mountain tribe of goat herders. Unable to pronounce western names, he is known to call all coalition service members in the valley "Jacques".[3][4][5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  • Wallace, Kevin (2013). "To hell and back: The Bala Murghab saga" (First ed.). Idaho: U.S. Air Force. 
  • Golembesky, Michael (2014). Level zero heroes: the story of U.S. Marine Special Operations in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan (First ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781250030405. 

External links[edit]