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Home >>  Culture & Conflict Studies  >>  Khost Province

Khost Province

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Khost Map

Governor Arsala Jumal

Abdul Jabbar Naeemi

Provincial Overview (PDF)

In the News

  • Weapons recovered in Khost, Pajhwok Afghan News, October 11, 2011:
    “A huge quantity of weapons and ammunitions was seized during a joint operation in the Musakhel district of southeastern Khost province.”

Khost Province is located in eastern Afghanistan, on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border. The province is dominated by the Khost Valley and the mountains that surround it. Rangelands run from Gorbuz district in the south to Jaji Maydan district in the north. Khost Valley and Bak areas sustain rain fed and intensively irrigated crops. Natural forests run along the border with Pakistan and Paktia.

The population of approximatley 487,000 are primarily Pashtun, with 1% Tajik and other various minorities. Governor Arsala Jumal was appointed governor in August 2006; he previously served as Chief Program Coordinator for Water and Sanitation at the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development.  There are over 1200 provincial aid projects in Khost with a planned cost of US$ 17 million.

Governor Arsala was appointed in 2006, he previously served as Chief Program Coordinator for Water and Sanitation at the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development.

In 2008, Arsala Jamal was replaced by Hamidullah Qalandarzai, an ethnic Pashtun. Currently, Abdul Jabar Naeemi (also an ethnic Pashtun) serves as governor of Khost province. Naeemi had served as the governor for Wardak province and gained much recognition for reducing opium cultivation in the province. He is also a follower of the Pashtun spiritual leader Pir Sayed Ahmed Gailani, and a member of Gailani's National Islamic Front party (NIFA).

Human Terrain:
Khost Tribal Map Click to view tribal map
Click to view Tribal Map
Various factions of the Khostwal tribe are dominant in the Tanai, Musa Khel, Mandozai, Tirzaye, Sabari and Bak districts.  Historically, the Khostwal tribal groups have combined with the Wazirs against their traditional enemies the Turi.  The Khostwal consider themselves Pashtun.

Pashtun tribe, located in Jaji Maydan district.  History of rebelling against local governors and appointees of the central government.[2] Mangal Tree (PDF)

Pashtun tribe, primarily located in Pakistan.  The Waziris in Khost live in the Garboz, Qalandar, and Nadar Shah Kot districts.

Suleimankhel (Sulimankhel):
Ghilzai Pashtuns; largest of the tribal clans in Paktika.   In Khost, the Suleimankhel reside in Spira district along with members of the Zadran tribal group.  See entry on Suleimankhel in Paktika Provincial Overview for more details. Suleimankhel Tree (PDF)

Pashtun tribe which resides in the Spira district with the Suleimankhel and in the Nadar Shah Kot and Qalandar districts with the Waziris.  Pacha Khan Zadran, is a one of the most famous of the Zadran tribe, who controls the area near the Khost road.  Jalaluddin Haqqani, another ACM leader (the Haqqani Network), is another influential member of the Zadran tribe.  The Zadran also live in Paktika province.[3]

The Kharoti clan are located in Shomal district of Khost.   Notable members of the Kharoti clan include Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Harakat, both of Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG).  

Primary Political Parties:
Hezb-e Islami Khalis (HiK):
Originally a mujahideen group which broke away from 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 Afghan Millat (Afghan Nation Party):
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 who is a Kharoti Ghilzai.  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.[4]  Harakat, the second most influential member of HiG, is also a Kharoti Ghilzai as well.

1. Adamec, Vol. 6, 427.
2. Adamec, Vol. 6, 550.
3. US State Department Gardez Provincial Reconstruction Team Political Officer Reporting, 2004.
4. Chris Mason, Tora Bora Nizami Mahaz

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