Kapisa Province

Kapisa Province

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Kapisa is one of 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....

. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Mahmud-i-Raqi
Mahmud-i-Raqi
The town of Mahmud Raqi is the capital of Kapisa Province and center of Mahmud Raqi District in Afghanistan....

, and other districts include Kohistan
Kohistan
Kohistan, also transliterated Kuhistan, Kuhiston, Quhistan , may refer to:in Afghanistan*Kohistan, Kapisa Province, Kapisa Province, a town and administrative center of Hesa Awal Kohistan District...

, Nijrab
Nijrab
Nijrab is a village and the center of Nijrab District, Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It is located at at 1,613 m altitude. There are a medical clinic, schools and radio station in the village....

 and Tagab
Tagab
Tagab District is one of the 29 districts of Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. It was created in 2005 from part of Fayzabad District and has a population of approximately 22,000 residents. The Karaste Canal is located in Tagab District....

. The population of Kapisa is estimated to be 364,900, although there has never been an official estimate. The area of the province is 1,842 km².

History






The earliest references to Kapisa appear in the writings of fifth century BCE Indian scholar Pāṇini. Pāṇini refers to the city of Kapiśi, a city of the Kapisa kingdom. Pāṇini also refers to Kapiśayana, a famous wine from Kapisa. The city of Kapiśi also appeared as Kaviśiye on Graeco-Indian coins of Apollodotus I
Apollodotus I
Apollodotus I Soter was an Indo-Greek king between 180 and 160 BCE or between 174 and 165 BCE who ruled the western and southern parts of the Indo-Greek kingdom, from Taxila in Punjab to the areas of Sindh and possibly Gujarat.-Ruler of the Indo-Greek...

 and Eucratides.

Archeological discoveries in 1939 confirmed that the city of Kapisa was an emporium for Kapiśayana wine, bringing to light numerous glass flasks, fish-shaped wine jars, and drinking cups typical of the wine trade of the era. The grapes (Kapiśayani Draksha) and wine (Kapiśayani Madhu) of the area are referred to in several works of ancient Indian literature. The epic Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 also mentions the common practice of slavery in the city.

According to the scholar Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, the city of Kapiśi (also referred to as Kaphusa by Pliny's copyist Solinus and Kapisene by other classical chroniclers) was destroyed in the sixth century BCE by the Achaemenid emperor Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 (Kurush) (559-530 BC). Based on the account of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited in AD 644, it seems that in later times Kapisa was part of a kingdom ruled by a Buddhist kshatriya
Kshatriya
*For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

 king holding sway over ten neighboring states, including Lampaka, Nagarahara, Gandhara, and Banu. Hiuen Tsang notes the Shen breed of horses from the area, and also notes the production of many types of cereals and fruits, as well as a scented root called Yu-kin.

Just like the rest of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, many historical sites in Kapisa have also been looted by smugglers and then sold abroad. During 2009 to 2010 twenty-seven relics were discovered by the National Security forces; these included ancient relics belonging to 2BC and 4BC mostly from Kohistan
Kohistan
Kohistan, also transliterated Kuhistan, Kuhiston, Quhistan , may refer to:in Afghanistan*Kohistan, Kapisa Province, Kapisa Province, a town and administrative center of Hesa Awal Kohistan District...

 district.

Geography


Kapisa province is located 80 km north east of Kabul. It is bordered from the north by Panjsher province, from the east by Laghman
Laghman
Laghman can refer to:* Laghman Province in Afghanistan* Laghman, a place in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan* Lamian and variants thereof as soup...

, from the south by Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 province and from the south west by Parwan province. The province covers an area of 1,842 km²; that makes it the smallest province in all of Afghanistan. Kapisa Province's terrain is a mixture of high peaks, mountainous river valleys, and shallow central plains; the highest points of the province are in the east, on the borders with Panjsher and Laghman Provinces.

Politics and security


In July 2007 Abdul Sattar Murad
Abdul Sattar Murad
Abdul Sattar Murad was the Governor of Kapisa Province in Afghanistan from 2004 - 2007. He was removed from office in July 2007 by President Hamid Karzai, and a replacement has not yet been named...

, was removed from office by President 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...

, and his replacement was Ghulam Qawis Abubaker
Ghulam Qawis Abubaker
Ghulam Qawis Abubaker is the current governor of Kapisa, Afghanistan. He succeeded Abdul Sattar Murad, who was dismissed after critical comments in Newsweek regarding the central government's ineffectiveness in remote areas of the province....

. The ostensible reason for Murad's removal was 'ineffective governance', but it was widely believed by press sources that Murad was removed because of critical comments he made in a Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 interview regarding the central government's ineffectiveness in remote areas of the province.

Insurgent activity in the province increased in 2006 and 2007. Southern areas of the province, in particular the Tagab
Tagab District (Kapisa Province)
The Tagab District is situated in the eastern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders with Parvan Province to the West, Mahmud Raqi and Nijrab to the North, Alasay District to the East and Kabul Province to the South-East. The population is 71,700 - Pashtun and some Pashayee...

 district, have been the site of repeated clashes between U.S. and Afghan forces and insurgent groups.

On January 19, 2009, coalition military forces led a raid near the village of Inzeri in the Tagab
Tagab District (Kapisa Province)
The Tagab District is situated in the eastern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders with Parvan Province to the West, Mahmud Raqi and Nijrab to the North, Alasay District to the East and Kabul Province to the South-East. The population is 71,700 - Pashtun and some Pashayee...

  district of Kapisa. While coalition forces claimed at least 15 militants were killed (including a local Taliban commander), local villagers claimed that many of those killed were actually civilians. The raid was strongly criticized by Afghan president 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...

, who stated that such raids undermine the national government. The villagers were paid a total of $40,000 in condolence payments, and received an apology for any civilian deaths.

On 17 November 2009, Taliban militants fired rockets on a bazaar in Tagab district where French forces were meeting with tribal elders, killing 10 Afghan civilians and wounding 28.

Wolesi Jirga Elections


Kapisa is allocated four seats in the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan's lower house of Parliament, one of which is reserved for female candidates. In the 2010 Wolesi Jirga contest 45,271 votes were cast in the province. Only one incumbent candidate, Mohammad Iqbal Safai was re-elected, coming in second place in the contest. Mirdad Khan Nijrabi came in first place in the contest, Agha Jan come in third, and Tahira Mujadidi, the winning female candidate, came in fourth.

Districts


align=center style="background:#BFD7FF"| Districts of Kapisa Province
District District Center Population Area Notes
Alasay
Alasay District
The Alasay District is situated in the eastern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders Tagab District to the South and East, Nejrab District to the North and Laghman Province to the East. The population is 33,500...

 
Hesa Awal Kohistan  Created in 2005 within Kohistan District
Kohistan District, Kapisa
Kohistan District was a district in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. The district center was Kohistan. The population was 100,200 , mostly Tajik. The Kohistani Tajiks were the most powerful and best organized groups that fought against the British occupation of Kabul in 1879 to 1880....

Hesa Duwum Kohistan
Hesa Duwum Kohistan District
Hesa Duwum Kohistan District is a district in the southern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. The center is the village of Keshektan. The population is 39,900 and is mostly composed of Tajik. The district is famous for its sweet mulberries, grapes, apricots and pomegranates. Yearly, hundreds of...

 
Created in 2005 within Kohistan District
Kohistan District, Kapisa
Kohistan District was a district in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. The district center was Kohistan. The population was 100,200 , mostly Tajik. The Kohistani Tajiks were the most powerful and best organized groups that fought against the British occupation of Kabul in 1879 to 1880....

Koh Band
Koh Band District
Koh Band District is situated in the northwestern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders Kohistan District to the west, Parvan Province to the north, Nejrab District to the east and Mahmud Raqi District to the south. The population is 20,800...

 
Mahmud Raqi
Mahmud Raqi District
Mahmud Raqi District is located in the western part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders with Parvan Province to the south and with other districts from Kapisa Province: Nejrab District and the former Kohistan District to the north and Tagab District to the southeast. The district center is...

 
Nijrab
Nijrab District
Nijrab District, also called Nijraaw, is situated in the central part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It is located in a valley about 120 km north of Kabul. It borders Mahmud Raqi and Koh Band districts to the west, Parvan Province to the north, Laghman Province and Alasay District to the...

 
Tagab
Tagab District (Kapisa Province)
The Tagab District is situated in the eastern part of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. It borders with Parvan Province to the West, Mahmud Raqi and Nijrab to the North, Alasay District to the East and Kabul Province to the South-East. The population is 71,700 - Pashtun and some Pashayee...

 

Demographics


The population of the province is around 406,200 people. The major ethnic groups are Tajik (50+%), 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...

 (40%) and Pashai
Pashai
Pashayi or Pashai are a Dardic ethno-linguistic group living primarily in eastern Afghanistan and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Their total population is estimated to be 500,000. They are mainly concentrated in the northern parts of Laghman and Nangarhar provinces and eastern Kapisa...

 (10%). There is also a sizable minority of Hazara and Nuristanis.

Economy


Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 is the largest portion of the economy. One particular crop, saffron
Saffron
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel...

, has been introduced as a major trade commodity in the province.

Once a week, a trade day (called a Mela
Mela
Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'gathering' or 'to meet' or a Fair. It is used in the Indian subcontinent for all sizes of gathering and can be religious, commercial, cultural or sports. In rural traditions melas or village fairs were of great importance...

) occurs. The concept of the mela is ancient, and translates to "party" in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, as the event is as much a social event as a trade day.

Sport


The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket tournaments by the Kapisa Province cricket team.

Amenities


Kapisa is home to Al Biruni university, named after the Islamic scholar Alberuni who was from this region. The University offers programs in Agriculture, Engineering, Islamic Studies, Law, Medicine and Literature and is located in Kohistan district, the university was built by Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Currently, there is one hospital in the province. Previously, the province contained a textile company and cinema, which were both destroyed during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Provincial Reconstruction Team


The Kapisa province is served by the Kapisa Provincial Reconstruction Team
Provincial reconstruction team
A Provincial Reconstruction Team is a unit introduced by the United States government, consisting of military officers, diplomats, and reconstruction subject matter experts, working to support reconstruction efforts in unstable states. PRTs were first established in Afghanistan in late 2001 or...

 located at Forward Operating Base Morales-Frazier in Nijrab District.

Footnotes