Khost

Khost

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Khost or Khowst is a city in eastern 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...

. It is the capital of Khost
Khost Province
Khost is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the east of the country. Khost province used to be part of Paktia province in the past...

 province, which is a mountainous region near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. The population of Khost is about 160,000 people and the whole province has over one million.

During the nine-year Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 in the 1980s, the town was besieged
Siege of Khost
The Siege of Khost: during the nine-year Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the subsequent Afghan civil war, the town of Khost was besieged for more than eleven years. Its airstrip's 3 km runway served as a base for helicopter operations by Soviet forces.Operation Magistral was an...

 from July 1983 to November 1987. Khost Airfield
Khost Airfield
The Khost Airfield is situated 2 miles southeast of the town of Khost, Afghanistan and 9 miles northeast of the Pakistan border in a valley surrounded by high terrains from West and East.- Accidents :...

, with its 9000 feet (2,743.2 m) runway, served as a base for helicopter operations for the Soviet military.

American forces have used the Khost Airfield since as early as at least January 2007 during the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
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...

 that commenced in October 2001.

Khost is the home of Khost University
Khost University
Khost University is located in the border town of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. It was established in the year 2000. It was shifted from its previous temporary location in Peshawar, Pakistan, where it was named "Afghan University Peshawar" by special order of President Hamid Karzai.Khost...

.

Geography


Khost is located about 150 kilometers south of 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...

 and 100 kilometers from Gardēz, in Khost Province
Khost Province
Khost is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the east of the country. Khost province used to be part of Paktia province in the past...

 in eastern Afghanistan. The town of Khost is located on a plateau of minimally 1000 metres (3,280.8 ft) altitude that extends to the East for about 40 kilometres (25 mi) until the Pakistan border. Thirty km to the North the peaks start up to 2500 to 3000 m (8,202.1 to 9,842.5 ft) right next to the frontier, while 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the South, near the border, the average is around 1,800 m. The valley of Khost is closed to the west with a long mountain chain with peaks that go over 3000 metres (9,842.5 ft). Through this runs for about 90 kilometres (56 mi) the road to Gardez, which is considered extremely dangerous due to the risk of ambush.

Climate


Khost has a semi-arid climate (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSk though very close to qualifying as BSh) though most unusually for Afghanistan it receives a substantial proportion of its annual rainfall of 475 millimetres (19 in) from the South Asian monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 because it is open to the southeast from which the moist winds come. Nonetheless, for a large proportion of the year Khost remains hot and dry, and in many years there is no significant rain during the summer. Winters are milder than in most of Afghanistan due to the town’s relatively lower altitude than other surrounding cities like Gardez or Urgun, though frost
Frost
Frost is the solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air. It is formed when solid surfaces are cooled to below the dew point of the adjacent air as well as below the freezing point of water. Frost crystals' size differ depending on time and water vapour available. Frost is also usually...

s are still frequent during the morning.

Soviet war in Afghanistan



During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Khost was the object of a siege which lasted for more than eight years. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, Afghan guerillas took control of the only land route between Khost and Gardez, effectively putting a stop to the Soviet advance.

During the assault on the Zhawar Kili Cave complex, the Soviets used the Khost Airfield
Khost Airfield
The Khost Airfield is situated 2 miles southeast of the town of Khost, Afghanistan and 9 miles northeast of the Pakistan border in a valley surrounded by high terrains from West and East.- Accidents :...

 as an initial staging ground to insert troops into the combat zone, using Mil Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 armed helicopter transport ships.

2001-present war in Afghanistan


Khost has been in American control since the 2001 US led 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...

. Due to its location in eastern Afghanistan, it was a hotbed for insurgent
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

 activity attempting to dislodge the American forces there. Like most every other province, Khost is home to maneuver forces and a 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...

 (PRT). Maneuver forces wage war against insurgents and assist the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 and the Afghan National Police
Afghan National Police
The Afghan National Police - ANP - is the primary national police force in Afghanistan. It serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan police force was first created with the establishment of the Afghan nation in the early 18th century...

 in operations while the PRT handles the reconstruction aspects.

In early 2007, Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

 Scottie Custer of the 82nd Airborne Division saw that the best way to limit insurgent activity in Khost was to forward deploy some 187 paratroopers under his command to Force Protection Facilities in Khost's various district centers next to the sub-governors mansions so they could both protect them and maintain a visible presence in population centers as well as help mentor Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police units operating across Khost.

The FPF's brought a broader sense of security and prosperity to surrounding areas. Bazaars, shops, and gas stations have improved the quality of life for local residents. The Mandozai Force Protection Facilities in Khost include a medical clinic attached to further assist Afghans in need of basic medical assistance. The offices of Khost's various sub-governors had experienced increased activity as Afghans went there to settle disputes and voice concerns instead of going through traditional tribal channels and bribes cutting down on sectarian suspicion and strife.

Throughout 2007 and 2008 roads had been improved, businesses were springing up and schools were being built, at least 50 in 2007 alone with another 25 planned for 2008. A new airport was under construction as the Khost Airfield was used by the US Military
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 creating new opportunities and jobs.
  • May 2009 battle

On May 12, 2009, several teams of armed militants stormed Khost prompting a heavy six-hours battle with US and Afghan National Army forces. Reportedly the attack involved 10 suicide bombers, of whom seven were able to detonate and three were shot by security forces. Coalition Forces, aided by the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police took the lead in repelling the attack.
  • Attack on CIA base

On 30 December 2009, a suicide bomber attacked Forward Operating Base Chapman, a major CIA base in Khost, and killed seven CIA officers, including the chief of the base.

On 18 February 2011 a suicide car bomber targeted targeted a police checkpoint and killed 11 people.

Sport


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 growing in popularity in Khost, with the sport being introduced by newly returned refugees from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Afghanistan batsman  Noor Ali
Noor Ali
Noor Ali Zadran is an Afghan cricketer. Ali is a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler who currently plays for the Afghanistan national cricket team...

 was born in Khost. Nawroz Mangal, the captain of the Afghanistan team for ODI
ODI
ODI has various meanings, including:* Office for Disability Issues - UK public body* One Day International cricket match* Overseas Development Institute - UK think tank on international development....

 and test matches, also belongs to the Khost Province
Khost Province
Khost is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the east of the country. Khost province used to be part of Paktia province in the past...

.

See also

  • List of airports in Afghanistan
  • Shkin, Paktika
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    Central Intelligence Agency
    The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...


External links