Zaranj

Zaranj

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Zaranj'
Start a new discussion about 'Zaranj'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Zaranj or Zarang is a border town
Border town
A border town is a town or city close to the boundary between two countries, states or regions. Usually the term implies that it is one of the things the town is most famous for. Border towns can have highly cosmopolitan communities, a feature they share with port cities...

 in south-western 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...

, with a population of approximately 49,851 people as of 2004. It is the capital of Nimruz province
Nimruz Province
Nimruz is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the south-west of the country on the borders of Iran and Pakistan. The name Nimruz means "mid-day" or "half-day" in Persian. Nimruz covers 41,000 km² and has a population of 149,000...

 and is situated next to Milak, Iran. It is linked by highways with Lashkar Gah to the east, Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

 to the north and Zabol
Zabol
Zabol is a city in and the capital of Zabol County, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran. Zabol lies on the border with both Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the 2006 census, its population was 130,642, in 27,867 families....

 in Iran to the west. Zaranj serves as the border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran, which is of significant importance to the trade-route between Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Demographics & population


Like in the rest of Afghanistan, no exact population numbers are unavailable. The 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...

 (MRRD) along with UNHCR and Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Afghanistan estimated the population of the district to be around 49,851 (2004). According to the same sources, Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 make up 44% of the total population followed by 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...

 at 34% and Tajiks at 22%.

History


Zaranj is an ancient city which derives its name from Old Persian Zaranka ("waterland"; cf. Pashto dzaranda). In Greek, this word became Drangiana
Drangiana
Drangiana or Zarangiana was a historical region of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around lake Hâmûn, wetlands in endorheic Sīstān basin on the Irano-Afghan-Pakistan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in nowadays southwestern Afghanistan and the "Nok Kondi" of...

. Other historical names for Zaranj include Zirra, Zarangia, Zarani etc.

Per Arab geographers, prior to Zaranj the capital of Sistan was Ram Shahristan
Ram Shahristan
Ram Shahristan was the ancient capital of Sistan, in what is now southwestern Afghanistan and southeastern Iran.Per Arab geographers, prior to Zaranj the capital of Sistan was Ram Shahristan...

 (Abrashariyar). Ram Shahristan had been supplied with water by a canal from the Helmand River, but its dam broke, the area was deprived of water, and the populace moved three days' march to found Zaranj.

In 661, a small Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 garrison reestablished its authority in the region after having temporarily lost control due to skirmishes and revolts.

In the 9th century Zaranj was the capital of the Saffarid dynasty
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...

, whose founder was Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari.

A Nestorian Christian community is recorded in Zaranj in the sixth century, and by the end of the eighth century there was a Jacobite diocese of Zaranj.

Recent developments


A new highway called Route 606
Route 606 (Afghanistan)
Route 606 is a 218 km road from Delaram District of Nimruz Province in Afghanistan heading south to Zaranj and into Iran. It is one of the busiest roads in Afghanistan and provides an important trade route between India and the rest of Asia.-Route:...

 was built between Zaranj and Delaram by the Indian Government's Border Roads Organization at a cost of about US $136 million to open up a link between the deep sea port at Chabahar
Chabahar
Chah Bahar is a city in and capital of Chah Bahar County, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran. Chah Bahar is a free port on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. At the 2006 census, its population was 71,070, in 13,837 families...

 in 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...

 to Afghanistan's main ring road highway system which connects 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...

, Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, 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...

, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz
Kunduz
Kunduz also known as Kundûz, Qonduz, Qondûz, Konduz, Kondûz, Kondoz, or Qhunduz is a city in northern Afghanistan, the capital of Kunduz Province. It is linked by highways with Mazari Sharif to the west, Kabul to the south and Tajikistan's border to the north...

. The 215-km long highway, a symbol of India's developmental work in the war-ravaged country, was handed over to Afghan authorities by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is the current Finance Minister of India and leader of the current Lok Sabha.Mukherjee is a senior member of the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, Prices, Security, Unique Identification Authority of India,...

 on 22 January 2009 in the presence of 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...

 and Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. "Completion of the road reflects the determination of both India and Afghanistan that nothing can prevent or hinder collaboration between the two countries," Mukherjee said at a function to mark this handover. On the occasion, Karzai said, the completion of the project is a message to those who want to stop cooperation between India and Afghanistan. "Our cooperation will not stop". The Taliban was opposed to this project and launched frequent attacks on the construction workers in an attempt to force the winding up of the work. A total of six Indians, including a Border Roads Organisation driver and four ITBP soldiers, and 129 Afghans were killed in these attacks.

The province has been one of the 7 (Nimruz
Nimruz Province
Nimruz is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the south-west of the country on the borders of Iran and Pakistan. The name Nimruz means "mid-day" or "half-day" in Persian. Nimruz covers 41,000 km² and has a population of 149,000...

, Helmand
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

, Kandahar
Kandahar Province
Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

, Oruzgan
Oruzgan Province
Orūzgān or Urōzgān , also spelled Uruzgan or Rōzgān , is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the center of the country, though the area is culturally and tribally linked to Kandahar in the south. Its capital is Tarin Kowt...

, Ghazni
Ghazni Province
Ghazni is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni is also known as Zabulistan It is in the east of the country. Its capital is Ghazni City...

, Paktika
Paktika Province
Paktika is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the south-east of the country. Most of the population is Pashtun. Its capital is Sharan.-Political and military situation:...

 and Zabul
Zabul Province
Zabul is a historic province of Afghanistan. Zabul became an independent province from neighbouring Kandahar in 1963, with Qalat being named the provincial capital. It should not be confused with the city Zabol, on the Iranian side of the border with Afghanistan.- Political and security situation...

) where the Taliban have been recently regrouping.

Due to its proximity to Iran, Persian artifacts and carpets or other merchandise are available in Zaranj. In addition, Iran recently received permission from the Afghan
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...

 government to excavate the site of the Saffarid capital in Zaranj.

The city or town is served by Zaranj Airport
Zaranj Airport
Zaranj Airport is an airport serving the city of Zaranj in Nimruz Province, Afghanistan.It provides numerous domestic flights into Afghanistan and one scheduled bus route into Iran....

.