Panjshir Province

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A view of a valley in the Panjshir Province of Afghanistan in 2009
A view of a valley in the Panjshir Province of Afghanistan in 2009
Map of Afghanistan with Panjshir highlighted
Map of Afghanistan with Panjshir highlighted
Coordinates (Capital): 35°24′N 70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0Coordinates: 35°24′N 70°00′E / 35.4°N 70.0°E / 35.4; 70.0
Country  Afghanistan
Capital Bazarak
 • Governor Keramuddin Keram
 • Total 3,610 km2 (1,390 sq mi)
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 146,100
 • Density 40/km2 (100/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+4:30
ISO 3166 code AF-PAN
Main languages Persian

Panjshir (Persian: پنجشیر‎, literally "Five Lions", also spelled as Panjsher) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. The province is divided into seven districts and contains 512 villages. As of 2013, the population of Panjshir province is about 146,100.[1][2] Bazarak serves as the provincial capital.

Panjshir became an independent province from neighboring Parwan Province in 2004. It is surrounded by Baghlan and Takhar in the north, Badakhshan and Nuristan in the east, Laghman and Kapisa in the south, and Parwan in the west.


The Panjshir region was well defended during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and home town to Afghan National Hero, Ahmed Shah Massoud[3] also known as Lion of Panjshir. [4]

After the collapse of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in 1992 the area became part of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. By late 1990s, Panjshir and neighboring Badakhshan province, served as a staging ground for the Northern Alliance against the Taliban government. Panjshir was never captured by soviet or the Taliban and on September 9, 2001, National Hero, Defense Minister Massoud was assassinated by two al-Qaeda operatives.[5] Two days later the September 2001 attacks occurred in the United States and this led to the start of a major U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

Containing the Panjshir Valley, in April 2004 Panjshir District of Parwan Province was turned into a province under the Karzai administration. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) established several bases in the province. In the meantime, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also established bases, a US-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) began operating in Panjshir in the late 2000s. As of 2012, security in the province is maintained by the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army.

Politics and governance[edit]

Governor Keramuddin Keram in 2011

The current Governor of the province is Keramuddin Keram. His predecessor was Haji Bahlol. Bazarak is the capital of Panjshir province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). A provincial Police Chief is assigned to lead both the ANP. The Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces.


Further information: Health in Afghanistan

The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 16% in 2005, to 17% in 2011. [6] And as many as 23% of births in 2011 were attended to by a skilled birth attendant. [7]


Further information: Education in Afghanistan

The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 33% in 2005 to 12% in 2011. [8] The overall net enrolment rate (6-13 years of age) fell from 42% in 2005 to 30% in 2011. [9] Four Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools service the agriculturally-oriented Panjshir Province, including the Shah Masoud TVET. The school was established with the help from the Hilfe Paderborn and German Foreign Office and has about 250 students and 22 staff members (as of August 2014).


Further information: Demography of Afghanistan
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Abraham Jara hands out first aid kits to Afghan locals during a first aid class at a school in the Dara district of Panjshir province.

The population of Panjshir province is about 146,100 settled people[1] According to the Naval Postgraduate School, the ethnic groups of the province are as follows: Tajik, Hazara "Tajiks form the majority of the population, but there are small numbers of Hazaras."[2]

Persian is the dominant language in the province. All inhabitants are followers of Islam, with majority being Sunni.[2]

Population by districts[edit]

Districts of Panjshir Province
District Capital Population[10] Area Number of villages
Anaba c. 5,000 164 km2 31[11]
Bazarak Bazarak c. 65,000 378 km2 29[12]
Dara c. 5,500 709 km2 134[13]
Khenj c. 10,000 688 km2 154[14]
Paryan c. 3,902 1270 km2 67[15]
Rokha c. 5,000 144 km2 72[16]
Shotul c. 8,000 55 km2 23[17]

Places of interest[edit]

Notable people from the province[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Settled Population of Panjsher province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13" (PDF). Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Central Statistics Organization. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  2. ^ a b c "Panjshir Province". Understanding War. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "The Spy Who Quit". PBS - Frontline. January 17, 2011. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  6. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  7. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  8. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  9. ^ Archive, Civil Military Fusion Centre,
  10. ^ "Panjshir Province". Government of Afghanistan and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  11. ^ Onaba District (Re-elected)
  12. ^ Bazarak District (Re-elected)
  13. ^ Dara District (Re-elected)
  14. ^ Khenj District (Re-elected)
  15. ^ Pariyan District (Re-elected)
  16. ^ Rukha District (Re-elected)
  17. ^ Shotol District (Re-elected)

External links[edit]