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Aerial photo of fields somewhere in Urozgan Province
Map of Afghanistan with Urozgan highlighted
|• Governor||Mohammad Nazir Kharoti|
|• Total||12,640 km2 (4,880 sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||AF-URU|
|Main languages||Pashto and Persian|
Urōzgān (Pashto: اروزګان; Persian: اروزگان), also spelled as Uruzgan or Oruzgan, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Urozgan is in the center of the country, although the area is culturally and tribally linked to Kandahar Province in the south. The population is 333,500, and the province is mostly a tribal society. Tarinkot serves as the capital of the province.
In 2004, the new Daykundi province was carved out of an area in the north, leaving Urozgan with a majority Pashtun population and Daykundi with a majority of Hazaras (see map in infobox for the provincial boundaries that resulted). In 2006, however, Gizab District was taken back from Daykundi and re-annexed to Urozgan, becoming the province's sixth district.
Urozgan province is located in the southern Afghanistan, bordering Zabul and Kandahar to the south, Helmand to the southwest, Daykundi to the north, and Ghazni Province to the east. Urozgan covers an area of 12,640 square kilometres (1,264,000 ha). Much of the province is mountainous or semi-mountainous terrain, while the rest of the area is made up of flat land.
The region was part of ancient Arachosia, and was ruled by the Medes before it fell to the Achaemenids. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great occupied the area but left it to Seleucids to rule. It was later attained and ruled by the Mauryas under Ashoka. By the 7th century, when the Arabs first arrived, it was under the control of the Zunbils before being conquered in the name of Islam by the Saffarids in the 9th century. It fell to the Ghaznavids followed by the Ghurids before the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. The area was ruled by Arghun Khan of Ilkhanate, later by the Timurids, Mughals and Saffavids.
In 1709, the Hotak dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and defeated the Safavids. Then, he took control of entire southern Afghanistan while most of the Durrani Pashtuns were settled in the Herat area at the time. In 1747, one of Nader Shah's commanders, Ahmad Shah Durrani, became leader of the Afghans and the region of Urozgan was one of the first to become part of his new Durrani Empire, which became to what is now the modern state of Afghanistan.
During the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, Urozgan witnessed fighting between pro-Soviet forces and the Mujahideen. One of the most prominent local Mujahideen leaders was Jan Mohammad Khan. In late 1994, Urozgan was captured by the Taliban. They were toppled by US-led forces in late 2001. Hamid Karzai and his followers arrived to Urozgan between October and November 2001 to take over control of the area.
In June 2002 a wedding party in Urozgan was mistakenly bombed by the U.S. Air Force, which resulted in the death of 30 civilians. In the wake of the fall of the Taliban — from January 2002 through March 2006 — the province was governed by Jan Mohammad Khan, a warlord ally of Afghan President Karzai, and a member of the same Popalzai Pashtun tribe. In March 2006 Karzai appointed Maulavi Abdul Hakim Munib, a former Taliban official who had reconciled with the Government of Afghanistan, to replace Jan Mohammad Khan.
In the summer of 2006 insurgents in Urozgan were targeted by a NATO-Afghan military offensive called Operation Mountain Thrust. In September 2007 President Karzai removed Munib, who had become increasingly ineffective.
In August 2006, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) assumed authority for Urozgan from the US-led coalition, as the Netherlands took command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from the US as Task Force Uruzgan. There is also an Australian element under the Dutch command.
Because of security concerns and the Taliban insurgency, only one international aid agency (GIZ) has a permanent presence in Urozgan. NATO's ISAF operates a PRT in Tarinkot. The 1,400 Dutch and 1,090 Australian troops in the area secured only the largest population centres in Urozgan (Dihrawud, Chora, and Tarinkot towns) under the Dutch "inkspot policy". However, the force's area of responsibility included the entire province. Gizab district, Urozgan's most dangerous, had no ISAF presence before. In August 2010, the 1,950 Dutch forces withdrew their forces from Urozgan province, after a political disagreement in the Dutch parliament, leaving the PRT to the US and Australia to continue the mission.
Urozgan's opium poppy crop reached record levels in 2006 and 2007, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as no significant eradication efforts were carried out by the Afghan administration or Dutch forces.
From 15 to 19 June 2007 Dutch, American, Australian and Afghan soldiers defended the town of Chora against an assault by Taliban combatants. Reports in the Dutch, Australian and US press indicated that the battle was one of the largest Taliban offensives of the year. The fighting resulted in the deaths of a Dutch soldier, 1 Australian soldier, 1 American soldier, 16 Afghan policemen, an unknown number of civilians and a large number of Taliban.
In February 2010, near Khod, over ten civilians in a three-vehicle convoy were killed by a combined force of a Lockheed AC-130, Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drones, who misidentified them as Taliban. The air forces were attempting to protect ground troops fighting several km away.
The current governor of the province is Mohammad Nazir Kharoti. The city of Tarinkot is the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and NATO-led forces.
The percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 8% in 2005 to 27% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 6% in 2005 to 14% in 2011.
The population of Urozgan is reported to be around 333,500. The province has an estimated 45,000 households, each with about six members on average. A large portion of Urozgan's settled population belong to ethnic Pashtuns such as Popalzai, Achakzai, Nurzai, Barakzai, Alikozai, and other Durrani sub-tribes. The second largest ethnic group is the Hazara which is mainly found in Tarinkot. There is also a population of Kuchis (nomads), whose numbers vary with the seasons.
|Deh Rawud||Deh Rawood||99,718|
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