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Helmand Province

Helmand got its recognition as an independent province in the 20th century when the Afghan Government separated it from the Greater Kandahar region. It is located in the south-west of Afghanistan and has a covering area of 58,584 km². With respect to area the province is considered as the largest province of the country. The province has 13 districts which are further divided into thousands of villages, LashkarGah city is the provincial capital. The capital city also holds its own domestic airport known as Bost Airport.

The approx. population of the province is 1.526 million which is multi-ethnic and mostly a tribal society. Pashtun as an ethnic group dominates the region, with majority of the population, Pashtun are then further divided into following tribes such as Barakzai which are 32% and then Nurzai and Alakozai which are 16% and 9% respectively. Apart from Pashtun there are a small of number of Baloch, Tajiks & Hazaras who are also residing in the region as a minority.

The majority of the population are Sunni Muslims, but there is a small number of Hazaras who are Shia Muslims. Apart from Muslims a small number of Hindus and Sikhs are also running businesses in the provincial capital.

The Helmand River runs from the desert region of the province which provides support in irrigation. The Kajaki dam located in the Kajaki district is one of Afghanistans most important reservoirs.  Helmand is also world’s largest producer of Opium, as per estimates this region alone produces 42% of the total world production of the special crop. Apart from that the province also crops; tobacco, cotton, sugar beets, wheat, maize, nuts, potato, onions, tomato, peanuts grapes and e.t.c. During Afghan war in 2001, Helmand was considered as one of the most dangerous provinces in the whole Afghanistan.

Mohammad Yasin Khan is the present governor of the province. Afghan National Police (ANP) are responsible for all the law enforcement activities in the province, which is backed by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Helmand province also shares its border with neighbouring country Pakistan through the border called Durand line. It connects Helmand with Balochistan. It is one of the most dangerous borders because of the heavy militant activities. The Afghan Border Police (ABP) has been assigned to monitor and protect it. Both Afghan Border Police (ABP) & Afghan National Police (ANP) are led by a provincial police chief who represents Ministry of Interior in Kabul.

For all the domestic flights to other part of country Bost Airport is being used which is specially designed for the civilians. The infrastructure of the province needs a lot of up-grading; there is no proper rail service and even some areas don’t even have roads at all. The primary road that is being used for transportation is the ring road which passes through the province and connects Kandahar to Delaram. Another highway known as “Highway 611” is a north south route which connects Lashkar Gah to Sangin.

Majority of the provincial population earn their living by farming and animal husbandry. Animals like cows, sheep, goats and chicken. The province also has the potential for fishery.

The healthcare and education sector of the province is also not up to the mark and requires immediate attention.

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