Balkh Province is located in the North West of Afghanistan. The name “Balkh” came from an ancient city Balkh near the modern town. The total area of the province is 17,249 km² with an estimated population of 1.58 Million and the province is divided in 15 districts, along with this, Mazar-i-Sharif serves as the capital of the province.
66% of the total population live in rural districts while 34% live in urban areas, the male population in the province is 51% and 49% of the population is female. Tajiks and Hazars are the major ethic groups living in Balkh province, followed by other small groups of Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Turkomen, Arabs & Sunni Hazara. The language which dominates the province is Persian, while the second most frequent language spoken is Uzbeki & Turkmeni.
The province was a part of various historical regions in history; the famous blue mosque is also located in this province which is also quite popular among the tourists.
The province serves as the second main gate to Central Asia. The city of Mazar-i-Sharif is an important stop on the trade routes from the far East to the Middle East, the Mediterranean & Europe. The Mazar-i-Sharif International airport is located on the eastern edge of the city.
The province shares it border with three countries; Turkmenistan in the north-west, Uzbekistan in the north & Tajikistan in north-east. On the other hand it also share its borders with local provinces – like on its east is the Kunduz Province, Samangan Province in south-east, Sar-e-Pol province in south-west & Jowzjan province in the west.
Ishaq Rahgozar serves as the current governor of the province. The border of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Tajikistan is monitored by the Afghan Border Police(ABP) ,while all the law enforcement activities throughout the province is monitored by Afghan National Police(ANP). Both ABP & ANP is led by a provincial police chief who represents Ministry of the Interior in Kabul.
The locals of the province take too much pride in their supporting history and culture. On every Persian New Year, lots of supporting events are organised in the region. The most popular support in the province is “Buzkashi” which is also a national support of Afghanistan. It’s a traditional horse riding sport in which the players try to place a goat or calf in a goal. Pehlwani is also a popular support in the province. Since the last 50 years, soccer is also gaining a lot of popularity in the province. That’s why a former football provincial team Simorgh Albortz F.C was established in 2012. They claimed the runner ups position in two years of Afghan Premier League.
The provincial government is working on healthcare industry and the education sector and both of the segments do show a significant improvement with respect of previous years.