Charikar (Persian: چاریکار), officially renamed to Imam Abu Hanifa[3] (Persian: امام ابو حنیفه) or Imam Azam (Persian: امام اعظم, Persian pronunciation: [ɪˈmɑːm azam]),[4] is the main town of the Koh Daman Valley[clarification needed]. It is the capital of Charikar District, and the capital of Parwan Province in northern Afghanistan. It has a population of around 171,200,[5] which is majority Tajik populated.[6][7] The town was officially renamed in December 2022 by the Taliban to honor the Sunni Muslim theologian and jurist Abu Hanifa,[3] who is also sometimes called Imam Azam ("The Great Imam")[4] and was the founder of the Hanafi school of Islamic law.

Imam Abu Hanifa
امام ابو حنیفه
Imam Azam
A street in Charikar during the War in Afghanistan, 2007
A street in Charikar during the War in Afghanistan, 2007
Imam Abu Hanifa is located in Afghanistan
Imam Abu Hanifa
Imam Abu Hanifa
Location in Afghanistan
Coordinates: 35°0′47″N 69°10′8″E / 35.01306°N 69.16889°E / 35.01306; 69.16889
Country Afghanistan
ProvinceParwan Province
DistrictCharikar District
1,600 m (5,200 ft)
 • City96,093[1]
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+4:30
Aerial view of the city

The city lies on the Afghan Ring Road, 69 kilometres (43 mi) from Kabul along the route to the northern provinces. Travelers would pass the city when traveling to Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz or Puli Khumri. Despite the proximity to Kabul, slightly more than half of the land is not built-up. Of the built-up land, almost equal parts are residential (37%) and vacant plots (32%), with a grid network of road coverage amounting to 19% of built-up land area, as of 2015.[8] The city is at the gateway to the Panjshir Valley, where the Shamali plains meet the foothills of the Hindu Kush, and is known for its pottery and high-quality grapes.[9]

As of 2015, the city has a total population of 96,039 people and 10,671 dwellings. It has four police districts (nahias) and a total land area of 3,025 hectares (11.68 sq mi).[8]

History edit

In 1221, the Battle of Parvan was fought near Charikar, in which Jalal ud-Din with an army of 30,000 with 100,000 auxiliaries defeated a column of 30,000 men of the invading Mongol army to give part of his army enough time to escape into the northern Punjab, and avoid the immediate consequences of the fall of the Khwarezmid Empire.[10][11]

At the beginning of the 19th century, Charikar became a flourishing commercial town of several thousand inhabitants.[12] Charikar was the location of major battle during the First Anglo-Afghan War. In 1841 a British garrison was massacred by Afghans led by Mir Masjidi Khan, and the Anglo-Indian army officer Major Eldred Pottinger was badly wounded.[13]

During the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989), the region around Charikar was the scene to some of the fiercest fighting.[9] Some areas around Charikar served as a stronghold of the Liberation Organization of the People of Afghanistan (SAMA). Charikar was at the front line between Ahmad Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance and the Taliban who captured Kabul in 1996. In January 1997 the Taliban took control of Charikar, but Massoud fought back and recaptured it by July.[14] In August 1999 the Taliban launched an offensive and briefly captured Charikar, before Massoud counterattacked and drove them out again.[15]

On 14 August 2011, a team of about six suicide bombers attacked the governor's palace in Charikar. The Governor Abdul Basir Salangi survived but 19 people were killed to which the Taliban claimed responsibility.[16]

On 19 May 2020, gunmen opened fire inside a mosque in Charikar, killing 11 worshippers and injuring 16 others when they were offering the evening prayer after breaking their Ramadan fast. The Taliban denied their involvement in the attack.[17][18][19]

On 26 August 2020, the city was the site of floods that killed at least 92 people.[20]

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, it was announced by the Taliban provincial governor of Parwan province in December 2022 that the name of the city would be changed. One news source said the new name of the town was "Imam Abu Hanifa",[3] while another reported the new name as "Imam Azam".[4] A government official from the former Afghan regime said the renaming was the beginning of an anti-Farsi campaign by the regime.[3]

Climate edit

A street in Charikar (2008)

Charikar has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dsa) with hot summers and cold winters. The winter months are much rainier than the summer months. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 25.0 °C (77.0 °F). January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging −2.9 °C (26.8 °F).

Climate data for Charikar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 3.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −9.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 50
Average relative humidity (%) 51 58 57 51 40 29 25 25 26 33 43 45 40

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The State of Afghan Cities Report 2015". Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  2. ^ "The State of Afghan Cities Report 2015". Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Rezahi, Nizamuddin (17 December 2022). "Massive Reactions to Changing the Name of 'Charikar' into 'Imam Abu Hanifa'". The Khaama Press News Agency. Retrieved 2022-12-24.
  4. ^ a b c "Parwan capital's name changed from Charikar to Imam Azam". Ariana News. 16 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Settled Population of Parwan province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13" (PDF). Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Central Statistics Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  6. ^ "Parwan Province". Program for Culture & Conflict Studies. Naval Postgraduate School. Archived from the original on 2021-11-07. Retrieved 2013-06-16. The population of approximately 560,000 is composed of Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Qizilbash, Kuchi, Hazara, and other minority groups.
  7. ^ "Regional Command East: Parwan Province". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 2013-06-16. The main ethnic groups are Pashtuns and Tajiks, but there are small numbers of Uzbeks, Qizilbash and Hazaras as well.
  8. ^ a b "The State of Afghan Cities Report 2015". Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Charikar". The Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth ed.). Columbia University Press. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  10. ^ Man, John (2005) Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection St.Martin's Press, New York, pages 181–182, ISBN 978-0-312-31444-6
  11. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Volume I ca. 3000 BCE–1499 CE. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-85109-667-1.
  12. ^ Balland, Daniel. "ČĀRĪKĀR". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University.
  13. ^ Weber, George (2001-01-14). "Pioneer Biographies of the British Period to 1947". Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  14. ^ U.S. Conflicts in the 21st Century [3 volumes]: Afghanistan War, Iraq War, and the War on Terror by Spencer C. Tucker
  15. ^ Al-Qaida in Afghanistan by Anne Stenersen
  16. ^ "19 dead in attack on Afghan governor's compound".
  17. ^ "Khalilzad In Kabul For Peace Talks Amid New Deadly Attacks". Rfe/Rl. May 20, 2020 – via
  18. ^ "Afghanistan: 9 killed after gunmen storm at Parwan mosque". May 19, 2020 – via
  19. ^ "Gunmen attack Afghanistan mosque killing many worshippers". May 19, 2020 – via
  20. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Abed, Fahim (2020-08-27). "'I Lost Everyone': Floods Bruise a War-Weary Afghanistan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  21. ^ "Climate: Charikar". Retrieved 13 September 2022.

External links edit