Baghlan Province

Baghlan (Persian: بغلانBaġlān) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. As of 2013, the province has a population of about 910,700.[1]


Afghan National Army in Baghlan province
Afghan National Army in Baghlan province
Map of Afghanistan with Baghlan highlighted
Map of Afghanistan with Baghlan highlighted
Coordinates (Capital): 36°N 69°E / 36°N 69°E / 36; 69Coordinates: 36°N 69°E / 36°N 69°E / 36; 69
Country Afghanistan
CapitalPuli Khumri
 • GovernorTaj Mohammad Jahid
 • Total21,118 km2 (8,154 sq mi)
 • Total863,700
 • Density41/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 codeAF-BGL
Main languagesDari (Dari-Persian)

Its capital is Puli Khumri, but its name comes from the other major town in the province, Baghlan. The ruins of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the Surkh Kotal, are located in Baghlan. The lead nation of the local Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) was Hungary, which operated from 2006 to 2015.


Early historyEdit

The name Baghlan is derived from Bagolango or "image-temple", inscribed on the temple of Surkh Kotal during the reign of the Kushan emperor, Kanishka in the early 2nd century CE. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang traveled through Baghlan in the mid-7th Century CE, and referred to it as the "kingdom of Fo-kia-lang".[2]

In the 13th Century CE, a permanent garrison of Mongol troops was quartered in the Kunduz-Baghlan area, and in 1253 fell under the jurisdiction of Sali Noyan Tatar, appointed there by Möngke Khan. Sali Noyan's position was later inherited by his son Uladu, and grandson Baktut.[3] These Turco-Mongol garrison troops (tamma) formed the Qara'unas faction, and by the 14th Century had allied with the Chaghataite Khanate. Under the rule of Temür the Qara'unas were given to Chekü Barlas, and then to his son Jahānshāh. Forbes Manz notes that these Kunduz-Baghlan forces appear to have remained cohesive and influential throughout the Timurid period, though under different leaders and different names, up until the Uzbek invasion.[when?][4] By the Islamic year 900 (1494-1495 CE), the area was noted in the Baburnama as ruled by a Qipchaq emir.[4]

20th centuryEdit

In the mid-20th Century, as Afghanistan became the target of international development from both the Western and Soviet world, agricultural-industrial projects were initiated in Baghlan. These included factories for the production of sugar from sugar beets (initiated by Czech experts in the 1940s[5]) and for vegetable oil.[6] Czech expertise also figured heavily into the development of Baghlans' coal-mining industry,[7] centred at Baghlan's Karkar Valley, the only coal mine in Afghanistan to remain operational up through 1992.[8]

The modern Baghlan Province was created out of the former Qataghan Province in 1964.[9]

During the Soviet–Afghan War, the Soviets in 1982 established the Kayan military zone in southern Baghlan. The area was defended by 10,000 Ismaili militiamen, increasing to 18,000 by 1992, who sided with the Soviets due to differences with the Islamist opposition.[10] Afghan Ismailis overall were inclined to support the Communists, though a local Ismaili leader, Sayed Manuchehr, lead a partisan movement against the Communists until Ismaili leader Sayed Mansur Naderi accepted Soviet support.[11]

Large portions of Baghlan and neighbouring Samangan Province were under the sway of the Soviet-aligned Naderi clan, the hereditary Ismaili Sayeds (spiritual leaders) of Kayan. Under their jurisdiction, was largely quiet and societally functional throughout the 1980s, with hospitals, schools, and administrative services, funded by the communist central government. Despite the Naderi's alliance with the Communists, they also maintained positive relations with the Mujahideen as well, permitting them to move through the area provided they refrained from attacks.[12]

One of the Soviets' three primary bases in Afghanistan, Kiligai, was located in Baghlan Province, and served as the "largest military supply and armoury centre of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan."[13]

Recent historyEdit

As the 2001 Afghan War commenced, Ismaili leader Sayed Mansoor Naderi attempted to retake Baghlan from the Taliban. Naderi was aligned with Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Jumbesh-e Milli party, and the competing Tajik-dominated Jamiat-e Islami party was also keen to seize control of Baghlan as Taliban power eroded. The Jamiat were able to seize the capital of Pul-i Khumri before Naderi, who despite his strong backing among the Afghan Ismailis and Shia Hazaras, was unable to rally enough supporters to control the province. Naderi failed to retake the capital in 2001 and 2003, in the latter event he negotiated a power-sharing agreement with the dominant Andarabi militias and made the Ismaili bastion of the Kayan Valley his base.[14]

On 13 June 2012, two earthquakes hit Afghanistan and there was a major landslide in Burka District of Baghlan Province. The village of Sayi Hazara was buried under up to 30 meters of rock, killing an estimated 71 people.

Politics and governanceEdit

The town of Puli Khumri serves as the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the NATO-led forces. Taj Mohammad Jahid has been the governor of the province since July 2020.[15]


According to Naval Postgraduate School estimates, Tajiks make up 50% of the population, followed by 27% Pashtun, 10% Hazaras, and 12% Uzbeks.[16] In another source, Tajiks along with Aimaq people and Sayyid-Tajiks (also known as Tajik Arabs) constitute more than 70% of the provincial population. In addition, a significant number of Hazaras are also counted as part of the Persian-speaking people which makes Persian the overwhelmingly spoken language. Persian-speakers are followed by Pashtuns who make up the majority ethnic group in Baghlani Jadid district, and by Uzbeks and some Tatars.[17]

Baghlan is also home to a small community of Ismaili Muslims of Hazara background, led by the Sayeds of Kayan.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2011.[18] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 5.5% in 2005 to 22% in 2011.[18]


The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) increased from 21% in 2005 to 24% in 2011.[18] The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) increased from 29% in 2005 to 62% in 2011.[18]



Baghlan's primary crops (as of 1974) were cotton and sugar beets, industrial sugar production having begun under Czech supervision in the 1940s. The area also produced grapes, pistachios, and pomegranates. The primary livestock is Karakul sheep.[19]

Other productsEdit

The province also produces silk, and coal is mined in the Karkar Valley.[19]


Districts of Baghlan Province before 2005, when Kahmard District was moved to Bamyan Province
Districts of Baghlan Province
District Capital Population[1] Area Notes
Andarab 24,800 Sub-divided in 2005. Tajik Dominated
Baghlani Jadid Baghlan 120,200 75% Pashtun, 10% Tajik, 5% Hazara, Uzbek 10%
Burka 52,200 mix
Dahana-I-Ghuri 57,300 60% Pashtun, 30% Hazara, Uzbek 10%
Dih Salah 31,100 Created in 2005 within Andarab District Tajik Dominated
Dushi 85,000 Hazara Dominated, 90% Hazara, others 10%
Farang Wa Gharu 16,100 Tajik Dominated, Created in 2005 within Khost Wa Fereng District
Guzargahi Nur 9,900 Tajik Dominated, Created in 2005 within Khost Wa Fereng District
Khinjan 29,600 85% Hazara' 15% other
Khost Wa Fereng 61,300 Tajik Dominated, Sub-divided in 2005
Khwaja Hijran 23,200 Created in 2005 within Andarab District
Nahrin 67,200 Tajik Dominated
Puli Hisar 26,800 Created in 2005 within Andarab District
Puli Khumri Puli Khumri 203,600 Tajik 50%, Hazara 30%, Pashtun 15%, Uzbek 5%
Tala wa Barfak 29,400 Hazara Dominated

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Settled Population of Baghlan province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2015-16". Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Central Statistics Organization. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  2. ^ Xuanzang. Record of the Western Regions. translated by Samuel Beal (1884) in Buddhist Records of the Western World, London: Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1884
  3. ^ "The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane - Beatrice Forbes Manz". 1999-03-25. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  4. ^ a b "The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane - Beatrice Forbes Manz". 1999-03-25. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  5. ^ "Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia - Frank Clements". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  6. ^ "Asian Annual: The "Eastern World" Handbook". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  7. ^ "The Far East and Australasia 2003 - Eur". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  8. ^ "Aiding Afghanistan: The Background and Prospects for Reconstruction in a ... - Asger Christensen". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  9. ^ D. Balland; X. de Planhol. "BAGÚLAÚN". In Ehsan Yarshater (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. United States: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  10. ^ Michael V. Bhatia; Mark Sedra (2008). Afghanistan, arms and conflict: armed groups, disarmament and security in a post-war society. Psychology Press. pp. 252–. ISBN 978-0-415-45308-0. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Culture and Customs of Afghanistan - Hafizullah Emadi". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  12. ^ "Empires of Mud: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 - Antonio Giustozzi". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  13. ^ "Summary of World Broadcasts: Far East". 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  14. ^ "Empires of Mud: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 - Antonio Giustozzi". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  15. ^ "Ghani appoints new governors for five provinces of Afghanistan". The Khaama Press News Agency. 2020-07-07. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  16. ^ Baghlan province on NPS
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b c d [1] Archived May 31, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ a b "Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia - Frank Clements". Retrieved 2015-06-18.

External linksEdit