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Home >>  Culture & Conflict Studies  >>  Kunar Province

Kunar Province

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Kunar District map

Governor Haji Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi
Governor Haji Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi







Leader Profile (PDF) | Provincial Overview (PDF)

In the News

  • Afghan governor escapes terror attempt, PressTV, March 17, 2011:
    “The governor of Afghanistan's northeastern province of Kunar has survived an assassination attempt after his convoy was targeted in a rocket attack.”
  • The Afghan solution lies in the valley, Asia Times Online, April 20, 2010:
    “Locals join guerrilla bands not out of ideology or religious fervor, but out of the desire to expel those deemed as having brought war into their district. The exit of US troops from the Korengal Valley will undermine this basis of insurgent support there, with portentous implications…Most fighters served to expel the foreigners and, having done that, they went home in numbers.”

Kunar Province is located in eastern Afghanistan, on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border. The population of approximatley 380,000 is primarily Pashtun, with 5% Nuristani and other minorities. Owing to its unique geographical location, Kunar province is very important from the geo-political point of view. It has 175 kilometers long border with Pakistan at the south and southeast. The Kunar Valley is surrounded by Kabul Tsappar range on the east and southeast and the Kashmund range on the northeast. The Korengal Valley, to the west of the provincial capital Asadabad, lies a key infiltration/exfiltration route used by insurgents transitioning through Kunar. On the south side of the Hindu Kush on the Kunar River lies a glacier.

Governor Hajji Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi assumed office as Governor of Kunar on November 18, 2007. Wahidi describes himself as a social worker, not a politician, with a background in inter-agency and inter-organizational coordination. Wahidi has worked in the humanitarian relief and assistance fields in Afghanistan for over 25 years.  Within Kunar, there are over 800 provincial aid projects in the region totaling approximately US $7 million.

Human Terrain:
Kunar Tribal Map Click to view Kunar Tribal Map
Click to view Tribal Map
Located primarily in Chaparhar, Dih Bala, Achin, Shinwar, Nazyan, and Dur Baba districts.  History of opposing the British and the central government in Kabul.  A major thorn in the side of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan during the 1880s.  They are classified as Eastern, Sarbani Pashtuns.  Adamec suggests they were forcibly settled in valley above Narang by Abdur Rahman.[1] Shinwari Genealogy (PDF)

Safays (Safis):
Kunar Safays are the largest and most powerful of the province’s Pashtun tribes and live primarily in the Pech Valley region.  The Safays historically have been one of the most dissident tribes in Afghanistan, with a major uprising against the central government in 1945-1946.  The tribe is divided into three clans, the Gorbuz, the Massoud and the Wadir.  The three clans were divided politically during the communist era.  In large part the Wadir Safays were aligned with the communists and served in the government.  Many Safay mujahideen leaders came from the Gorbuz clan.  The Massoud clan, however, was split between both sides.[2]

Pashtun tribe in Marawara District.[3]

Nuristanis comprise a minority in parts of Kunar.  The Kom group of Nuristanis extend down into the Kunar Valley.[4] Nuristani Genealogy (PDF)

Major Political Groups:
Wahabis or Ahl-e-Hadith:

Originally a mujahideen group which was split with Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami under the leadership of Yunus Khalis.  HiK was dominant in Nangarhar. Khalis died in 2005 or 2006, resulting in an internal power struggle for control of the party between Khalis’ son Anwarul Haq Mujahid and Haji Din Mohammad.  It appears that Mohammad was successful in consolidating his control over much of the party.  Recent and active political players in Nangarhar have connections to HiK.  Led by Haji Din Mohammad, current governor of Kabul.

Hezb-e- Islami:
National Pashtun party, led by Finance Minister Dr. Anwar Ul-haq Ahadi.  Over 10,000 members in Nangarhar.  Platform based on unity, security, and creating an Islamic version of democracy.  Maintains a muted, ethno-nationalist rhetoric.

Nazhat-e Hambastagi Milli (National Solidarity Movement/National Islamic Front):
Led by Pir Ishaq Gailani.  Party promotes national unity, security and a national development plan.  Tied to the Maraboutic Sufi order; has considerable influence over the Khugiani tribesmen.

Hezb-e Afghanistan Naween (New Afghanistan Party/Qanuni):
Led by Mohammad Yunus Qanuni.  Part of a political alliance called Jabahai Tafahim Millie or National Understanding Front.  Qanuni was the primary contender against Karzai for the presidency.  He is a Tajik who has been a mujahideen, spokesman for Ahmed Shah Masoud, and Minister of Interior and Education.  He was elected to parliament in 2005 and was chosen to lead the Wolesi Jirga.  Support for him and his party may be a political counter-weight to Karzai.

Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG):
Mujahideen party active since the Soviet invasion; led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.  Actively opposed to US-led and Afghan national forces.  Politically active in Sherzad, Surk Rod and Pachir Wa districts.  Hekmatyar is a Kharoti Ghilzai and, therefore, less influential than the much more respected and powerful Khugianis, such as Haji Din Mohammad and Anwarul Haq Mohammad.

1. Adamec, Vol. 6, 459-469.
2. US Department of State Asadabad Provincial Reconstruction Team Political Officer Reporting, 2005
3. Adamec, Vol. 6, 459-469.
4. Adamec, Vol. 6, 355.
5. Chris Mason, Tora Bora Nizami Mahaz.

To contact us about our program:  ccsinfo@nps.edu | Last Updated: 15 November 2011.