Home Page
bullet Program for Culture & Conflict Studies Home
bullet About Us
bullet Provincial Overview
bullet Afghanistan
bullet Pakistan
bullet Central Asia
bullet Journal
bullet Research
bullet CCS People
bullet Contact Us
bullet Featured Links



Culture& Conflict Studies Banner
Home >>  Culture & Conflict Studies  >>  Nangarhar Province

Nangarhar Province

Note: Selecting from this drop down menu will either open a web page or a pdf file.
Nangarhar Map
Governor Gul Agha Shirzai
Governor Gul Agha Shirzai
Source: US State Department








Leader Profile | Provincial Overview (PDF)

In the News

  • Afghan Government Forces Shaky Truce In Tribal Land Dispute, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, October 27, 2011.
    “Heavily armed young fighters vacated their respective trenches early on October 27 in eastern Afghanistan, honoring a truce demanded by the local government and halting a tribal land dispute that has claimed more than 100 lives over the last two years.”
  • India talking to Taliban?, Reuters, March 30, 2010.
    “India's willingness to talk to the Taliban would represent a seismic shift in strategy for New Delhi and underlines the concern that the Congress-led government has over Pakistan's influence in any Afghan end game.”

Nangarhar Province is located in eastern Afghanistan, on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border. It is bordered by Kunar and Laghman provinces in the north, Pakistan in the east and south, and Kabul and Logar provinces in the west. Spin Ghar and Safed Mountain Ranges reside along the southern border; belts of forests are in the southern mountain ranges and in Dara-I-Nur District in the north. Khyber Pass is in Mahmund Dara District in the east. The topography is composed of rangeland, bare soil, and rocky outcrops dominate throughout the center of the province.

The 1.2 million Afghans are of primarily Pashtun ethnicity, with Tajiks, Arabs, Pashai, and other minority groups residing within the province. The primary occupations of the residents are agriculture, animal husbandry, day labor, and poppy trade. Their are over 2,000 provincial aid projects in the region with nearly $20 million in planned costs.

Governor Gul Agha Shirzai has a history of opposition to the Taliban.  Prior to the rise of the Taliban, Shirzai was Governor of Kandahar.  In 1994, the Taliban forced him into exile in Quetta, Pakistan.  Shortly after, the Northern Alliance seized Kabul. In 2001 Shirzai led a force of 200 to 1,000 men from Quetta into Afghanistan.  Once his forces regained control of Kandahar he reclaimed the office of Governor and was eventually reappointed officially.
Nangarhar Tribal Map Click to View Tribal Map
Click to view Tribal Map

Human Terrain Analysis
Located primarily in Chaparhar, Dih Bala, Achin, Shinwar, Nazyan, and Dur Baba districts.  Feud with Khogiani.  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. Shinwari Genealogy

Located primarily in Sherzad, Khogiani, and Pachir Wa Agam districts. Feud with Shinwari and Ghilzai.  History of opposing the British.  They are classified as Karlanri and Hill Tribe Pashtuns. Khogiani Tree (PDF)

Located primarily in Rodat, Kot, Bati Kot, Goshta, Lal Pur, Kama, and Muhmand Dara districts.  Classified as Eastern or Sarbani Pashtun.

Located primarily in Dara-I Nur and Kuz Kunar districts. Outside of references to Hazrat Ali, the Pashai are outside of most tribal geneologies. They inhabit northern Nangahar, Lagman, and especially Nuristan. Their native tongue is a Dardic language, Dardic being a language group that extends in the foothills of the Hindu Kush from Afghanistan to India. They are first spoken of by Herodotus as “Dardikae.” They straddle the divide between Pashtun and Nuristani, but most seem to consider themselves Pashtun, and it would be unwise to imply otherwise.
They are also often refered to as Kohistani, Kohistan being districts in Badakshan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. By others they are also occasionally referred to as Shurrhi, a derisive term for “hillbilly”[1]They are not known to be allied with any Pashtuns for anything other than expediency’s sake, and their tradition allies are for the most part their fellow hill-tribes such as the Kohistani.

Located primarily in Hisarak district. Gilzai Genealogy (PDF)

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.

Tora Bora Nizami Mahaz (Tora Bora Military Front):
Led by Anwarul Haq Mujahid.  The faction broke away from HiK following the death of Khalis and the power struggle between Mujahid and Din Mohammad.  The Tora Bora Military Front has openly declared its opposition to US-led forces.  According to the group’s spokesman Qari Sajjad has indicated that the group is under the operational control of Taliban.  For now it appears that the party’s activities are limited to Nangarhar and the surrounding area.

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.[2]

1.Chris Mason, Tora Bora Nizami Mahaz
2. Mirwais Wardak, Idrees Zaman, and Kanishka Nawabi, “The Role and Functions of Religious Civil Society in Afghanistan: Case Studies From Sayedabad & Kunduz,” Cooperation for Peace and Unity, (July 2007): 16, at www.cpau.org.af, accessed 10 August 2007. 

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