Badghis Province

Bādghīs (Dari: بادغیس) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northwest of the country, on the border with Turkmenistan. It is considered to be one of the country's most underdeveloped provinces, with the highest poverty rate.[4] The capital is Qala e Naw, while the most populous city and the district are Bala Murghab. The ruins of the medieval city of Marw al-Rudh, the historical capital of the medieval region of Gharjistan, are located in the province near the modern city of Bala Murghab.

Skyline of Bala Murghab
Skyline of Bala Murghab
Map of Afghanistan with Badghis highlighed
Map of Afghanistan with Badghis highlighed
Coordinates (Capital): 35°0′N 63°45′E / 35.000°N 63.750°E / 35.000; 63.750
Country Afghanistan
CapitalQala e Naw
Largest cityBala Murghab
 • GovernorMaulvi Abdul Sattar[1]
 • Deputy GovernorMolwi Mohibullah Asad[2]
 • Total23,000 km2 (9,000 sq mi)
 • Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
 • Total559,297
 • Density24/km2 (63/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Time)
ISO 3166 codeAF-BDG
Main languagesDari


Badghis Province is located in the isolated hills of northwestern Afghanistan and shares its borders with Herat, Ghor, and Faryab provinces as well as Turkmenistan. The province has a total area of 20,591 km2.[5] Hydrologically, the province is dominated by the Murghab River which is used for irrigation.[6] It contains some mountains but is predominantly characterized by rolling hills divided by ravines.[7]

The province is very windy; the name "Badghis" is a corruption of the Persian compound "bâd-khiz", meaning "wind source", referring to the steppe winds that blow into the province from the north and northwest. Its northern border extends to the edge of the part of the Karakum desert known as the Sarakhs desert. Northern Badghis includes the loess and other aeolian formations, known locally as the "chul",[8] through which the Turkmen-Afghan boundary runs.[9] Across the border in Turkmenistan is the Badhyz State Nature Reserve in the Badkhiz-Karabil semi-desert.[10]


Before the Arab conquest, the province was the center of the Kingdom of Badghis, whose king Tarkhan Tirek resisted an Umayyad invasion in 709 AD. After the Arab conquest, the province was rebellious and it served as a haven for religious dissenters until about 1000 AD.[7] Badghis' excellent grasslands were used as summer pastures by the Timurid dynasty in the fifteenth century. By the late 19th century, the province was devastated by Turkmen raids.[7] In 1964, the province was carved out of portions of Herat Province and Meymaneh Province.

The province was one of the last captured by the Taliban in their military offensive before the American invasion in 2001. The province was quickly retaken by Northern Alliance forces as the United States initiated hostilities.[citation needed] Badghis Province came under complete control of the Taliban in 2021.

In January 2022, the province was struck by a 5.3 earthquake, killing dozens.[11]


Like in the rest of Afghanistan, no exact population numbers are available. The Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation & Development (MRRD) along with UNHCR and the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) of Afghanistan estimates the population of the province to be around 559,297 in 2021.[3][12] Badghis male population in 2013 was 241,200-while the female population accounts for 230,700- the single year for which the data is available at the moment.[13] Tajiks are making around 67% of the province's population. The other is made up of mostly Pashtuns (25%) and smaller Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen.[14]


The major political parties are:[15]

At the province was a Provincial Reconstruction Team, which was led by Spain.[15] In January 2019 a US service member from Texas, serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment, was fatally wounded during a combat operation in the province.[16]


Badghis is counted as one of the most underdeveloped of the country's thirty-four provinces.[17] Not only does it have the little infrastructure, and poor roads, it has a chronic shortage of water.[17][18] Agriculture is the main source of people's income and the existence of the Murghab River makes the available land suitable for cultivation. The province has suffered from severe drought beginning in the late 1990s and continuing. It has caused tens of thousands of residents to flee to refugee camps outside Herat.[19] The drought has been exacerbated by the excessive cutting of forests since 2001.[18] Badghis is the leading province in Afghanistan in pistachio production. It is also one of the carpet-making areas of the country. The province produced Karakul sheep until the late 1970s.[7]


Badghis Province suffers from a lack of adequate transportation. A single airport exists at the provincial seat--Qala i Naw Airport (QAQN), which is capable of handling light aircraft.[20] Work on a 233 km section of the Afghan ring road started up again in 2012.[21] This section would connect Bala Murghab with Herat in the southwest, and Maymana and Mazar-i Sharif in the northeast.


The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 11.6% in 2005 to 1% in 2011.[22] The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 15% in 2005 to 17% in 2011.[22] Official government figures for 2007 indicated that 17% of the Badghis population had access to safe drinking water, while only 1% of births were attended by a skilled person.[23]


According to information from the education department, there are 457 schools with 75 high and the rests are primary and secondary schools. There are as many as 120,000 students, with 35% of them being female students. There is one vocational high school of agriculture and one midwife training Institute in the province as well. However, as of 2007, the overall literacy rate was only 9.5%.[23]


Badghis province is divided into seven districts.[24]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hunger forces Afghans to sell young daughters into marriage". DAWN.COM. 26 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Changing climate parches Afghanistan, exacerbating poverty".
  3. ^ a b "Estimated Population of Afghanistan 2021-22" (PDF). National Statistic and Information Authority (NSIA). April 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  4. ^ "New Afghan Multidimensional Poverty Report | MPPN". 31 March 2019.
  5. ^ Bosworth, C. E.; Balland, D. "BAÚD¨GÚÈS". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. United States: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2 January 2009.
  6. ^ Shroder, John F. (2016). "Hari Rud – Murghab River Basin". Transboundary Water Resources in Afghanistan: Climate Change and Land-Use Implications. Saint Louis: Elsevier. pp. 410–412. ISBN 978-0-12-801861-3.
  7. ^ a b c d Paul, Jürgen (2010). "Bādghīs". Encyclopaedia of Islam. Vol. 2010–1 (3rd ed.). Brill Publishers. ISBN 9789004183902. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  8. ^ Wily, Liz Alden (2004). "Glossary". Looking for Peace on the Pastures: Rural Land Relations in Afghanistan (PDF). Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. p. ii. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2018.
  9. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Badghis" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  10. ^ "Badkhiz-Karabil semi-desert (PA1306)". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010.
  11. ^ "26 dead in twin Afghanistan earthquakes as rescuers search for survivors". The Independent. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Project Development Plan: Badghis Provincial Profile" (PDF). Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2010.
  13. ^ Badghis - Population, Female. "Badghis Population, Female, 2003-2013". Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Badghis - Program for Culture and Conflict Studies - Naval Postgraduate School". Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Badghis Provincial Overview". United States: Naval Postgraduate School. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018.
  16. ^ US soldier from Texas dies of wounds from attack in Afghanistan Archived 26 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Jan 18, 2019
  17. ^ a b "Background profile of Badghis province". Pajhwok Afghan News. 2014. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Provincial profile for Badghis Province" (PDF). Regional Rural Economic Regeneration Strategies (RRERS). United States: Naval Postgraduate School. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2018.
  19. ^ Sarwar, Mustafa (5 June 2018). "Almost Two-Thirds Of Afghanistan Hit By Drought". Gandhara.
  20. ^ "Qala-i-Naw Airport". Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  21. ^ "Ring Road Construction Restarts After Five Years". Tolo News. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Badghis Province". Civil-Military Fusion Centre. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Badghis Province In A Glance" (PDF). Afghanistan Provincial Health Profile: Situational Analysis of Provincial Health Services. MoPH HMIS Department. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2018.
  24. ^ "Province of Badghis: A Socio-Economic and Demographic Profile" (PDF). UNFPA. 2003. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2018.

External linksEdit