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Tāloqān is the capital of Takhar Province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

, in northern 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 located in the Taluqan District
Taluqan District
Taluqan District is a district of Takhar Province, northern Afghanistan. It contains the capital, Taloqan....

. The population was estimated as 196,400 in 2006.


The old city to the west on the riverside was described by Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 in 1275 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

"a castle called Taikhan, where there is a great corn-market, and the country round is fine and fruitful. The hills that lie to the south of it are large and lofty. They all consist of white salt, extremely hard, with which the people for a distance of thirty days' journey round, come to provide themselves, for it is esteemed the purest that is found in the world. It is so hard, that it can be broken only with great iron hammers. The quantity is so great that all the countries of the earth might be supplied from thence."

In 1603, Taloqan ("Talhan") was visited by another European explorer, Bento de Góis, who was traveling with a caravan from 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...

 to Yarkand (then the capital of Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...


Recent history

Taloqan was the last major city to fall to the Taliban, in January 2001, after a bloody siege which claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians. Its capture by the Taliban also triggered a mass exodus in the population, with civilians fleeing towards Imam Sahib and the Panjshir Valley
Panjshir Valley
The Panjshir Province is a valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 km north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush mountain range. Located in the Panjshir Province it is divided by the Panjshir River...

. Irregular Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
The Afghan Northern Alliance is a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996.Northern Alliance may also refer to:*Northern Alliance , a Canadian white supremacist group...

 fighters managed to stop the Taliban advance to the north and to the east of the city, but weren't able to retake it. When Taloqan was liberated in November 2001 by Northern Alliance fighters, a mass grave
Mass grave
A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

containing the bodies of 70 women and children was found, reportedly the remaining families of captured/killed taleban soldiers and of ethnic Pashtuns.

Taloqan in Islamic sources

The testament of islamic Prophet Mohammad indicates that the first Mahdi is called “Ahmad”, and then we look into the narrations that refer to Al-Yamani, such as the narrations of the black standards, the treasures of Taloqan, the standards of Khurasan and the standards of the east, because there are no narrations that describe them as being disobedient or insubordinate to the standard of Al-Yamani, for he who revolts against him (Al-Yamani) will be cast into the Fire, and all the narrations confirm that those standards will fight to pave the way for the advent of Imam Al-Mahdi.

Following the same narrative chain, Al-Baqir narrated the following on the authority of Jabir: [Allah Almighty has a treasure in Taloqan; it is of neither gold nor silver but consists of twelve thousand (men) in Khurasan, having “Ahmad Ahmad” for emblem. They will be lead by a Hashemite young man riding a gray mule and wearing a red headband. I can almost see him crossing the Euphrates; should you hear of his coming, rush to him even if you have to crawl over the snow.].

Taloqan (a region in Afghanistan) that at that place are treasures of Allah, but these are not of gold and silver but consist of people who have recognised Allah as they should have. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p.59)


Taloqan is dominated by Tajiks (60%). The second largest group are the Uzbeks (32%), followed by Pashtuns and Kyrgyz people.

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