Herat Province

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This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Herat Province

Western province of Afghanistan, bounded on the north by Russian territory ; on the west by Persia ; on the south by the province of Kandahar \ on the east by Afghan-Turkistan and by the province of Kabul, from which it is divided by the watershed between the Farrah Rud and Helmand basins. The province is drained by the Murghab, the Hari Rud, the Adraskan, and the upper affluents of the Farrah Rud. On the east Ue the Hazara mountains, on the west the Khorasan deserts. On the south the country is open ; and the great trade routes from Kandahar to Seistan lead through the broad space between the 1 aimani hills and the Persian deserts.

The most populous and fertile part of the province is that comprised in the districts of Herat, Ghorian, Obeh, and Karokh. North of this fertile tract is the Siah Biibak range, known to the Greeks as the Paropamisits, a prolongation of the middle branch of the Koh-i-Baba. North of Herat city, and east, the hills are of some height, the peaks rising to 4,000 or 5,000 feet above the valley. North again of the Siah Bubak is the district of Badghis, for the most part an expanse of rolling downs, becoming more mountainous towards the east. East of the Herat valley and Badghis is a wild mountainous country, inhabited by Firoz Kohis and Taimanis, with a few Hazaras. This is a region of barren, rugged mountains, whose peaks rise to 10,000 and 12,000 feet. Here are the three branches of the Koh-i-Baba, the northern known as the Band-i-Turkistan ; the central as the Siah Bubak or Koh Siah ; and the southern as the Band-i-Baian or Safed Koh. Between the two first is the country of the Firoz Kohis ; between the two last is the Hari Rud valley, which is also occupied in the upper part by Firoz Kohis ; and south of the Band-i-Baian is the Taimani country. South of Herat city Hes the open country of the Sabzawar district.

The province is divided into the following administrative divisions, the sub-governors of which are subordinate to the governor of Herat : the city of Herat, with the Nan Bulak ; Ghorian ; Sabzawar ; Karrukh ; Obeh ; Siibah-i-Sarhaddi, including all the minor districts north of the Koh Siah ; Chakcharan ; Shaharak ; and Ghorat. The population of the whole province has been estimated at about half a million. The great majority are Heratis, i. e. Persian-speaking people of Iranian origin ; but large numbers of Afghans (Durranis, Ghilzais, and Kakars) have during the lust twenty years been settled on the northern frontier. Chahar Aimak is a collective name given to the Jamshedis, Firoz Kohis, Taimilris, and Taimanis. They number about 180,000. The Jamshedis and Firoz Kohis are of Persian origin. The Taimanis are also in the main of Persian stock, differing from the others in that they have a strong section, to which the chief belongs, of Afghan-Kakar descent. The Kila Nao Hazaras are descended from fragments of various Hazara clans removed to their present lands by Nadir Shah. All are semi-nomadic in habit, and all si)cak dialects of Persian. For history and trade see Herat City.

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