Kandahar Province

The origin of the name Kandahar is still unclear, there are some rumours that the name of the city was first appeared in history after the area was conquered by Alexander the Great. The previous Arabic name of the city was “Iskandariya” which was later on pronounced as Kandhar in Pashto. Kandahar is located in the southeast of Afghanistan and has a covering area of 54,022 km², the province has 16 districts which are further divided into 1,000 villages. Kandahar is the provincial capital which is located on Arghandab River.

As per estimates the population of the province is 1.470 million which is mostly a tribal and rural society. The province is multi-ethnic where the Pashtun ethnicity dominates the region but there is also a small number of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras & Balochs in the region as well. The main language of the province is Pashto followed by Dari.

The province share its border with neighbouring provinces; on the west it is Helmand, Zabul is in the east and in the north is Uruzgan. It also share it border with neighbouring Pakistan which is on the south of the province.

After the fall of Taliban, Gul Agha Sherzai became the governor of the Kandhar but in 2003 due to criticisms he was replaced by Yousef Pashtun and transferred to Jalalabad. Yousef Pashtun was an intellectual man and was an engineer by profession, so in 2005 he got appointed as the Minister of Urban Development and handed over the governor seat to Asadullah Khalid. Asadullah Khalid remained the governor of the province until August 2008 and then was replaced by Rahmatullah Raufi. Rahamatullah Raufi remained the governor for a short period of time and was replaced by Toryalia Wesa in December 2008. For the next six years, Toryalia Wessa acted as the governor till 2014 when he got replaced by Humayun Azizi who is the present governor of Kandahar province.

All the law enforcement activities in the province are being monitored by Afghan National Police (ANP) which is backed by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Afghan Border Police (ABP) have been assigned to monitor and control all the activities on the neighbouring Pakistan border. Both Afghan National Police (ANP) & Afghan Border Police (ABP) are led by a provincial police chief who represents the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.

The Kandahar Airport was established in the 1960s by United States under the United States Agency for International Development Program on the east of the provincial capital. It is designed for both military and civilian use. Presently it serves the southern population of Afghanistan by providing domestic and international flights. During the Soviet-Afghan war in the1980s and during the NATO led war in 2001, the airport did remain in focus. That’s why after the war United States Army Corps of Engineers had upgraded and expanded it in the last few decades.

Currently the province doesn’t have any railroad structure. Now the government is planning to build a track between city of Kandahar and bordering town Spin Boldak, which in next phase will be connected to Pakistan Railways.

The major part of transportation is being done by road, there are multiple highways that run through the province and connect it with other provinces. Public buses are also being used for moving between towns and villages. The number of private vehicle users has also increased in the last few decades after the importing from the United Arab Emirates started.

Kandhar is an agricultural province and its several districts are being irrigated by Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority. The water needs of the province are fulfilled by Dahla Dam which is located on the north of the capital city. The province has vast irrigated gardens and is famous for grapes, pomegranates and melons which are also being exported to other neighbouring countries.

Kandahar province is leading far behind in the education section and healthcare sector as compare to other provinces. Steps are being taken for the improvement of the education sector. Kandahar University is one of the largest educational institutes in the province; its serves approx. 5,000 students out of which 300 are female. Recently a pilot project has been initiated with the support of the Asia Foundation for promoting women education.

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