Herat Province

Herat Province

Overview
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan
Provinces of Afghanistan
The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions of Afghanistan. As of 2004, there are thirty-four provinces in the country. Each province is further divided into smaller districts....

; together with Badghis
Badghis Province
Bādghīs is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in northwestern Afghanistan, between the Murghab and Hari rivers, extending as far northward as the edge of the desert of Sarakhs. It includes the Chul formations through which the Turkmen-Afghan boundary runs...

, Farah
Farah Province
Farah is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Farah. Farah is a spacious and sparsely populated province that lies on the Iranian border...

, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country. Its primary city and administrative capital is also named Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

.

The region of Herat was historically part of Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 and was controlled by the Tahirids
Tahirid dynasty
The Tahirid Dynasty, was a Persian dynasty that governed from 820 to 872 over the northeastern part of Greater Iran, in the region of Khorasan . The dynasty was founded by Tahir ibn Husayn, a leading general in the service of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun...

 followed by the Saffarids
Saffarid dynasty
The Saffarids or the Saffarid dynasty was a Persian empire which ruled in Sistan , a historical region in southeastern Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan...

, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

s, Timurids
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

, and Saffavids until the early-18th century when it became part of the Afghan Hotaki dynasty followed by the Durrani Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

.

The province was one of the first major battlegrounds in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and remained an active area of guerrilla warfare throughout, with local military commander and mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan is a politician and former mujahideen commander from Afghanistan. Born in the western Afghan city of Herat, he rose to become a powerful rebel commander during in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance until finally becoming the Governor of Herat...

 leading resistance to Soviet rule from 1979 until the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 (see the article on the city of Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 for further details).
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Encyclopedia
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan
Provinces of Afghanistan
The provinces of Afghanistan are the primary administrative divisions of Afghanistan. As of 2004, there are thirty-four provinces in the country. Each province is further divided into smaller districts....

; together with Badghis
Badghis Province
Bādghīs is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in northwestern Afghanistan, between the Murghab and Hari rivers, extending as far northward as the edge of the desert of Sarakhs. It includes the Chul formations through which the Turkmen-Afghan boundary runs...

, Farah
Farah Province
Farah is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Farah. Farah is a spacious and sparsely populated province that lies on the Iranian border...

, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country. Its primary city and administrative capital is also named Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

.

The region of Herat was historically part of Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 and was controlled by the Tahirids
Tahirid dynasty
The Tahirid Dynasty, was a Persian dynasty that governed from 820 to 872 over the northeastern part of Greater Iran, in the region of Khorasan . The dynasty was founded by Tahir ibn Husayn, a leading general in the service of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun...

 followed by the Saffarids
Saffarid dynasty
The Saffarids or the Saffarid dynasty was a Persian empire which ruled in Sistan , a historical region in southeastern Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan...

, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

s, Timurids
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

, and Saffavids until the early-18th century when it became part of the Afghan Hotaki dynasty followed by the Durrani Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

.

Overview


The province was one of the first major battlegrounds in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and remained an active area of guerrilla warfare throughout, with local military commander and mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan is a politician and former mujahideen commander from Afghanistan. Born in the western Afghan city of Herat, he rose to become a powerful rebel commander during in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance until finally becoming the Governor of Herat...

 leading resistance to Soviet rule from 1979 until the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 (see the article on the city of Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 for further details). When the Soviets withdrew, Ismail Khan became the governor of the province, a position he retained until the Taliban took control of the province in 1995. Following the ousting of the Taliban in 2001 by the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and coalition forces as well as the Afghan Northern Alliance, Khan once again became governor of Herat. (See U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

).

The province was ruled more or less autocratically by Khan, despite some attempts by the interim central government (headed by Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

) to weaken the power of local strongmen. Khan's rule has engendered some controversy, though Herat has remained largely free of the violence that has plagued some other regions of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

In March 2003, the Endowment and Islamic Affairs Department of the provincial government began steps to restrict what it saw as un-Islamic vices, on March 1, 2003 banning the sale and public screening of movies and the performance of music in public, and on March 5, 2003 banning the viewing of movies entirely, as well as the possession and sale of satellite dish
Satellite dish
A satellite dish is a dish-shaped type of parabolic antenna designed to receive microwaves from communications satellites, which transmit data transmissions or broadcasts, such as satellite television.-Principle of operation:...

es.

Radio Free Afghanistan
Radio Free Afghanistan
Radio Free Afghanistan is the Afghan branch of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s broadcast services. It broadcasts 12 hours daily as part of a 24 hour stream of programming in conjunction with Voice of America . RFA first aired in Afghanistan from 1985 to 1993 and was re-launched in January 2002...

 (an extension of the United States' Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed"...

 program) reported negatively on these steps, noting that the restrictions were very similar to those that had been in place under the Taliban, and portraying them as a step backwards for the province. Khan reacted angrily to these reports, as well as some citing human rights violations in the province, branding the Radio Free Afghanistan reporters (who were Afghans) "traitors". On March 19, 2003, Ahmad Behzad, one of Radio Free Afghanistan's reporters for the story, was allegedly beaten and detained on Khan's orders. On March 21 Khan issued a threatening statement, saying "those Afghans from our city, through BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and Radio Azadi, harm the dignity of our people... I would like to tell them that just like those who served the Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 and benefited from them, they too will meet the same end."
A war of words followed, with local journalists protesting angrily at what they read as a threat to use violence against dissenting journalists. President Karzai issued several statements largely siding with the journalists and expressing concern at the situation. This culminated in Khan ordering Behzad to leave the province permanently, despite his being a native of the city of Herat. Journalists responded with a cessation of news reporting in protest, beginning on March 24 (joined by the US's Radio Free Afghanistan, the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's BBC service, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

's Dari service, and a number of publishers of local newspapers and weekly news magazines). On March 28, Behzad met with President Karzai, who again expressed his support for the journalists and concern that the situation was affecting reconstruction in Herat and damaging the transitional government.

Khan backed down, claiming to have always supported journalistic freedom, and chalking the entire incident up to a misunderstanding. He released a statement saying, "the recent event that occurred was the result of a misunderstanding, and I hope it will not happen again. We are not against any Afghan or foreign journalist, and the reporters can be assured of their safety in our town, and can report on life in this country any way they wish." Behzad returned to Herat on April 3, 2003, and the local media resumed publishing.

The current governor of the province is Daud Shah Saba
Daud Shah Saba
Dr. Daud Shah Saba is a politician in Afghanistan, who is serving as Governor of Herat Province since August 2010 when his predecessor Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani had resigned from the post.-Early years and education:...

, and before him was Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani
Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani
Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani is a politician in Afghanistan. He was the spokesperson for President Hamid Karzai during the interim administration. Subsequently, he was appointed as Water and Energy during the transitional period of Afghan government. In January 2005, he became First Deputy Minister of...

 followed by Sayed Hussein Anwari
Sayed Hussein Anwari
Sayed Hussein Anwari is a politician in Afghanistan. He is a Shi'ite Hazara and comes from Mohammed Asef Mohseni's Harakat-e Islami ....

, Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai is the current Governor of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in the early 1990s and from 2001 until 2003.-Biography:...

, Sayed Muhammad Khairkhwa and Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan
Ismail Khan is a politician and former mujahideen commander from Afghanistan. Born in the western Afghan city of Herat, he rose to become a powerful rebel commander during in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, and then a key member of the Northern Alliance until finally becoming the Governor of Herat...

, who served before and after the Taliban
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

.

Demographics


The population of the province is estimated at 1,762,157 people. According to Afghanistan's Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development is a ministry of the Afghan government. Its main headquarters is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, but has offices and employees in all the 34 provinces of the country...

:

According to the Naval Postgraduate School
Naval Postgraduate School
The Naval Postgraduate School is an accredited research university operated by the United States Navy. Located in Monterey, California, it grants master's degrees, Engineer's degrees and doctoral degrees...

, the ethnic groups of Herat Province is as follows: Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

, Tajiks, Hazaras, Aimak
Aimak
Aymāq , also transliterated as Aimak or Aimaq, are a collection of Persian-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. They are found throughout the north and northwest highlands of Afghanistan, immediately to the north of Herat, and in the Khorasan Province of Iran...

  and others.

Population by districts


There are 16 districts within the province. These are listed in the table below.
align=center style="background:#BFD7FF"|Districts of Herat Province
District Capital Population (2006) Area
Adraskan
Adraskan District
Adraskan is a district in the central part of Herat Province in Afghanistan. It is bordered to the west by Iran, to the north by Ghoryan District, Zinda Jan District, Guzara District, Pashtun Zarghun District and Obe District, to the east by Farsi District and to the south by Shindand District.The...

 
56,193
Chishti Sharif
Chishti sharif District
Chishti Sharif District is the most easterly district in Herat Province, Afghanistan, situated along the Hari River and one of its northern tributaries. It borders with Obe District to the west, Badghis Province to the north and Ghor Province to the east and south. The population was estimated at...

 
25,428
Farsi
Farsi District
Farsi is a district the west of Herat Province, Afghanistan. It borders on Obe District to the north, Adraskan District to the west, Shindand District to the south and Ghor Province to the south and east. The population was estimated at 26,100 in 2005. The district center is the village of Farsi.-...

 
28,252
Ghoryan  90,201
Gulran
Gulran District
Gulran District is situated in northwestern part of Herat province, Afghanistan and borders Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the north, Kushk District to the east, and Zinda Jan District and Kohsan District to the south. The population is 106,983 . The district center is the village of Gulran....

 
106,983
Guzara
Guzara District
Guzara District is situated in the center of Herat Province, Afghanistan, 10 km south of Herat. It borders Injil District to the north, Pashtun Zarghun District to the east, Adraskan District to the south and Zinda Jan District to the west. The population is 124,900 . The district center Guzara ...

 
135,187
Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 (Capital)
397,456
Injil
Injil District
Injil is a district of Herat Province in northwestern Afghanistan. It surrounds Herat City and borders Kushk District to the north, Karukh District to the east, Guzara District to the south, and Zinda Jan District to the west...

 
224,607
Karukh
Karukh District
Karukh District is situated in the northeastern part of Herat Province, Afghanistan. It borders Kushk District to the northwest, Kushki Kuhna District to the north and Badghis Province to the northeast. To the east is Obe District. To the south is Pashtun Zarghun District and Injil District is...

 
58,594
Kohsan
Kohsan District
Kohsan is a district of Herat province in northwestern Afghanistan. It borders the nation of Iran to the west, Gulran District to the north, and Ghurian District to the south and east. The population of Kosan District is 30,100 , which includes the following ethnic groups: 59.4% Pashtun, 35.3%...

 
57,782
Kushk
Kushk District
Kushk District is situated in the northern part of Herat Province, Afghanistan and may also may be referred to as Rubat-i-Sangin or Rabat-e-Sangi. It borders Turkmenistan to the north, Gulran District to the west, Zinda Jan District, Injil District and Karukh District to the south and Kushki Kuhna...

 
133,446
Kushki Kuhna
Kushki Kuhna District
Kushki Kuhna is a district of Herat province in northwestern Afghanistan. It is situated in the northern part of the province. It borders Kushk District to the west, the nation of Turkmenistan to the north, Badghis Province to the east, and Karukh District to the south...

 
41,642
Obe
Obe District
Obe is a district in the northeast of Herat Province, Afghanistan. It borders on the north with Badghis Province, on the east with Chishti sharif District, on the southeast with Farsi District, on the south with Adraskan District, and on the west with Pashtun Zarghun and Karukh districts.The...

 
75,175
Pashtun Zarghun
Pashtun Zarghun District
Pashtun Zarghun District , formerly known as Posht-e Zirghān or Posht-e Zirghūn , is situated in the central part of Herat Province, Afghanistan in the valley of the Hari River...

 
90,817
Shindand
Shindand, Herat
Shindand is a town and the center of the Shindand District, Herat Province, Afghanistan. It is located at at 1066 m Altitude. Near the town is Shindand Airbase ....

 
185,418
Zinda Jan  54,976

Sport



Football (soccer) is the popular sport in Herat Province, and in recent years cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 is also growing in popularity. The Province is represented in domestic competitions by the Herat Province cricket team. Afghanistan's national sport Buzkashi
Buzkashi
Buzkashi or Kok-boru or Oglak Tartis or Ulak Tartysh is a traditional Central Asian...

 and a number of other sports are also played in the region.

Future



In April 2011 it was announced that the Italian Minister of Economic Development, Paolo Romani, had pledged $85 million towards an upgrade of Herat Airport, along with additional funds to develop a 28 kilometre road within the province. It was hoped that this, along with the standardisation of the airport to allow international flights, would encourage additional foreign investment in the region.

External links