Urozgan Province

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Uruzgan
Pashto: روزګان or اوروزګان‎
Province
Aerial photo of fields somewhere in Uruzgan Province
Aerial photo of fields somewhere in Uruzgan Province
Map of Afghanistan with Uruzgan highlighted
Map of Afghanistan with Uruzgan highlighted
Coordinates (Capital): 32°48′N 66°00′E / 32.8°N 66.0°E / 32.8; 66.0Coordinates: 32°48′N 66°00′E / 32.8°N 66.0°E / 32.8; 66.0
Country  Afghanistan
Capital Tarinkot
Government
 • Governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada
Area
 • Total 12,640 km2 (4,880 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total 333,500
 • Density 26/km2 (68/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-ORU
Main languages Pashto

Uruzgan (Pashto: روزګان or اوروزګان‎, Persian: اروزگان‎ ; sometimes spelled as Oruzgan, Urōzgān, or Rōzgān) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the center of the country, although the area is culturally and tribally linked to Kandahar Province in the south. The population is 333,500, and the province is mostly a tribal society.[1] Tarinkot serves as the capital of the province.

In 2004, the new Daykundi province was carved out of an area in the north, leaving Urozgan with a majority Pashtun population and Daykundi with a majority of Hazaras (see map in infobox for the provincial boundaries that resulted). In 2006, however, Gizab District was taken back from Daykundi and re-annexed to Oruzgan, becoming the province's sixth district.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

Uruzgan province is located in the southern Afghanistan, bordering Zabul and Kandahar to the south, Helmand to the southwest, Daykundi to the north, and Ghazni Province to the east. Uruzgan covers an area of 12,640 km2 (1,264,000 ha). Nearly three-quarters (around 72pc) of the province is mountainous or semi-mountainous terrain, while a little more than one-fifth (around 21pc) of the area is made up of flat land.[citation needed]

History[edit]

The region was part of ancient Arachosia, and was ruled by the Medes before it fell to the Achaemenids. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great occupied the area but left it to Seleucids to rule. It was given to Mauryas later and ruled under Ashoka. By the 7th century, when the Arabs first arrived, it was under the control of the Zunbils before being conquered in the name of Islam by the Saffarids in the 9th century. It fell to the Ghaznavids followed by the Ghurids before the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. The area was ruled by Arghun Khan of Ilkhanate, later by the Timurids, Mughals and Saffavids.

In 1709, the Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and defeated the Safavids. Then, he took control of entire southern Afghanistan while most of the Durrani Pashtuns were settled in the Herat area at the time. In 1747, one of Nader Shah's commanders, Ahmad Shah Durrani, became leader of the Afghans and the region of Uruzgan was one of the first to become part of his new Durrani Empire, which became to what is now the modern state of Afghanistan.

During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, Uruzgan witnessed fighting between pro-Soviet forces and the Mujahideen. One of the most prominent local Mujahideen leaders was Jan Mohammad Khan. In late 1994, Uruzgan was captured by the Taliban. They were toppled by US-led forces in late 2001. Hamid Karzai and his followers arrived to Uruzgan between October and November 2001 to take over control of the area.

NATO mission and the Karzai administration[edit]

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) stand by near the Chutu Bridge during a grand opening ceremony for the bridge in December 2008.

In June 2002 a wedding party in Urozgan was mistakenly bombed by the U.S. Air Force, which resulted in the death of 30 civilians.[2] In the wake of the fall of the Taliban — from January 2002 through March 2006 — the province was governed by Jan Mohammad Khan, a warlord ally of Afghan President Karzai, and a member of the same Popalzai Pashtun tribe. In March 2006 Karzai appointed Maulavi Abdul Hakim Munib, a former Taliban official who had reconciled with the Government of Afghanistan, to replace Jan Mohammad Khan.

In the summer of 2006 insurgents in Urozgan were targeted by a NATO-Afghan military offensive called Operation Mountain Thrust. In September 2007 President Karzai removed Munib, who had become increasingly ineffective.

In August 2006, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) assumed authority for Urozgan from the US-led coalition, as the Netherlands took command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from the US as Task Force Uruzgan. There is also an Australian element under the Dutch command.

Soldiers from Australia's Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in Afghanistan making the most of a winter wonderland in December 2009.

Because of security concerns and the Taliban insurgency, only one international aid agency (GIZ) has a permanent presence in Urozgan. NATO's ISAF operates a PRT in Tarinkot. The 1,400 Dutch and 1,090 Australian troops in the area secured only the largest population centres in Urozgan (Dihrawud, Chora, and Tarinkot towns) under the Dutch "inkspot policy". However, the force's area of responsibility included the entire province. Gizab district, Urozgan's most dangerous, had no ISAF presence before. In August 2010, the 1,950 Dutch forces withdrew their forces from Urozgan province, after a political disagreement in the Dutch parliament, leaving the PRT to the US and Australia to continue the mission.

U.S. Army soldier watching Afghans pass during a logistics inspection in Tarinkot.

Urozgan's opium poppy crop reached record levels in 2006 and 2007, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as no significant eradication efforts were carried out by the Afghan administration or Dutch forces.

From 15 to 19 June 2007 Dutch, American, Australian and Afghan soldiers defended the town of Chora against an assault by Taliban combatants. Reports in the Dutch, Australian [3] and US press [4][5][6] indicated that the battle was one of the largest Taliban offensives of the year. The fighting resulted in the deaths of a Dutch soldier,1 Australian soldier, 1 American soldier, 16 Afghan policemen, an unknown number of civilians and a large number of Taliban.

In September 2008 Rozi Khan, the leader of Urozgan's Pashtun Barakzai tribe, and a longtime rival of Popalzai leader Jan Mohammed Khan, was killed in a firefight in Chora District.

Gizab District was temporarily cleared of the Taliban by ISAF forces in late April 2010 and attributed to help from the uprising of the townspeople.[7][8]

In February 2010, near Khod, over ten civilians in a three-vehicle convoy were accidentally killed by a combined force of Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and drones, who mistook them for Taliban. The air forces were attempting to protect ground troops fighting several km away.[9][10]

Politics and governance[edit]

The current governor of the province is Amir Mohammad Akhundzada. The city of Tarinkot is the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and NATO-led forces.

Demographics[edit]

A U.S. soldier socializing with local children in the Darafshan Valley in 2012.
Districts of Uruzgan province

The population of Uruzgan is reported to be around 333,500.[1] The province has an estimated 45,000 households, each with about six members on average. A large portion of Urozgan's settled population is from ethnic Pashtun tribes such as Popalzai, Achakzai, Nurzai, Barakzai, Alikozai, and other Durrani sub-tribes.[11] The second largest ethnic group is the Hazara which is mainly found in Tarinkot.[11] There is also a population of Kuchis (nomads), whose numbers vary with the seasons.[11]

Population figures are from the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, the Central Statistics Office Afghanistan, and the Liaison Office study 2009.[12]

Districts[edit]

Districts of Urozgan Province
District Capital Population[13] Area[14] Notes
Chinartoo 86,100
Chora 73,750
Deh Rawud Deh Rawood 50,718
Gizab 75,503
Khas Urozgan 37,888
Tarinkot Tarinkot 104,476

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Settled Population of Urozgan province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13". Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Central Statistics Organization. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  2. ^ BBC News (2002-07-01). "'Scores killed' in US Afghan raid". BBC News, 1 July 2002. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2079565.stm.
  3. ^ Aussie troops backed Dutch against Taliban | NEWS.com.au
  4. ^ Over 100 die in southern Afghan battle - USATODAY.com
  5. ^ Dutch military chief says Taliban executed civilians during fighting with NATO forces - International Herald Tribune
  6. ^ FOXNews.com - Over 100 Militants, Civilians and Police Killed In Massive Afghan Battle - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News
  7. ^ AAP (2010-04-29). "Aussies help reclaim Afghan town". SMH, 29 April 2010. Retrieved from http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/aussies-help-reclaim-afghan-town-20100429-twli.html.
  8. ^ ADF (2010-04-29). "From gunfire to governance in Gizab". ADF, 29 April 2010. Retrieved from http://www.defence.gov.au/media/DepartmentalTpl.cfm?CurrentId=10211.
  9. ^ Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy, David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2011
  10. ^ Drone operators blamed in airstrike that killed Afghan civilians in February, Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, Sunday, May 30, 2010
  11. ^ a b c "Uruzgan Province" (PDF). Program for Conflict and Culture Studies. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  12. ^ The Liaison Office, Three Years Later: A Sociopolitical Study of Uruzgun Province from 2006 to 2009
  13. ^ "Uruzgan Province". United Nations. Afghanistan's Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. 2006-2007. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  14. ^ Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers