Infobox Afghan City
official_name = Gardez
native_name =
province_name = Paktia

image_size = 250px
image_caption = The Bala Hesar fortress in the center of Gardez City
latd = 33.600
longd = 69.217
districts =
population_total = 111,747|population_as_of = 2008
population_footnote =]
population_note =
population_metro =
population_metro_as_of =
population_rank =
population_density_km2 =
area_total_km2 =
elevation_m = 2300
numdistricts =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title_2 =
leader_name_2 =
Main Languages = Pashto

Gardēz is the capital of the Paktiā province of Afghanistan. It is in the southeast of the country. The population of Gardez is 111,747 and are mainly ethnic Pashtun people, specifically of the Ghilzai Suleimankhel tribe [ [ Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at NPS - Home ] ] [ [ - Weather stalls battle with al-Qaeda holdouts ] ] [ [ | The Topeka Capital-Journal | Weather slows forces searching in Afghan mountains 03/10/02 ] ] There is also a tiny population of Tajiks whos leader, Abdullah Mujahid, was sent to Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba by the Americans. [ [ US behind Afghan warlord's rise, fall - The Boston Globe ] ] The Encyclopedia Iranica describes Gardēz as a city "belonging to a network of old isolated Tājīk settlements in southern Afghanistan that are remnants of a time when Pashto had not yet reached the area."Daniel Balland, "Gardēz", in Encyclopaedia Iranica (in regard of the population of Gardēz: with reference to Wiebe, "Strukturwandlungen afghanischer Mittelpunktsiedlungen unter dem Einfluss ausländischer Infrastrukturprojekte", Germany, 1982, p. 76), Online Edition, ( [ LINK] )]

Location and infrastructure

Gardēz is located at 2,300m above sea-level and is not far from the Tora Bora region of caves and tunnels. The city is watered by the upper course of the "Rūd-e Gardēz" ("Gardēz-River"), which ends in the "Āb-e Istāda" lake. Gardēz is located at a junction between two important roads, one linking Pakistan with Ghazni, the other connecting Kabul and Khost. The city is west of Khost and 60 miles south of Kabul.

The "old town", located at the foot of the "Bālā Hesār" fortress, is divided into four districts:

*Bāzār-e Kohna ("old Bazar")
*Qaraye Āhangarān ("district of the blacksmiths")
*Qaraye Arjākhēl ("Arjākhēl district")
*Nawābād ("new town")

... with Nawābād extending into the new residential quarters, new bazar, and administrative center.


Gardēz is an ancient settlement, located in the interior of the Indian Sub-continent or South Asia in the Highlands of the Hindu Kush adjacent to the Great Indian Plains. Unfortunately, its history is only very poorly documented.

Archaeological discoveries, including Indo-Greek, Sassanid, Hephthalite, and Turki-Shāhī coins, as well as several Hindu statues from the 7th century give a small insight into the rich history of Gardēz.

According to the medieval "Tārīkh-e Sīstān", the city was founded by the Kharijite warlord Hamza bin Abdullāh Shārī, although scholars agree that this is probably only a reference to the Islamic conquest of the city. In any case, Gardēz became a center of Kharijite belief for more than a century under the local dynasty of the Aflahids in the distant eastern parts of the Abbasid caliphate.. In 870, the city was conquered by the Saffarid ruler Yaqub bin Layt. In 975, the Ghaznavids took over the city, while the converted Aflahids entered the Ghaznavid nobility. ["Hodūd al-Ālam", ed. Sotūda, p. 71, tr. Minorsky, p. 91; Bivar & Bosworth, 1965, pp. 17 ff.] In 1162, the city fell to the Sultāns of Ghōr.

Renowned for its multi-storied houses - as mentioned by the Central Asian conqueror Babur ["Baburnama", section "qal'a", tr. Beveridge, p. 220] ["Ā'in-e Akbari", tr. Blochmann, II, p. 411] - the city was part of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. However, nothing is known of the town during the subsequent centuries and no building remains.

During the Anglo-Afghan wars, Gardēz was handed over to the newly created country "Afghanistan" and was part of the "buffer-state" between British India and Tsarist Russia.

Today, Gardēz is the administrative center of a district of the Paktiā province, which covers 650 km² and had a total population of 44,000 inhabitants in 1979, but was almost totally depopulated during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

In 1960 the German government had their biggest rural development project with a budget of 2.5 million Deutsch Marks for the development of Paktiā ("Paktiā Development Authority", see above). The project was unsuccessful as the communist regime came to power in the 1979. The communists lost control of most of Paktiā during the 80s as the country plunged in to war with only Gardēz remaining in government control.

Today Paktiā remains one of the most stable provinces in the southeast compared to Khost and Paktikā.

Economy and administration

The city of Gardēz is also a major fuel wood market for Kabul. Many of its natural forests are being cut down to provide fuel wood especially during winter. Gardēz is also the regional center for the southeastern Afghanistan that includes Paktikā, Khost and Ghaznī provinces.

Gardēz is a region embedded in tribal traditions and customary law.

During the 1970s, Gardēz experienced an economic boom as a result of the German-funded "Paktiā Development Authority", established in 1965, and of the asphalting of the road to Kabul. Social services included three schools for boys, one school for girls, a hospital, one teacher training institute, the "Madrasaye Roshānī", two hotels, forty mosques and two Hindu temples. [Radojicic & Nāhez, "Darmasāl", p. 417] Most of these buildings were destroyed during the civil war in the 1980s.

After the fall of the Taliban, the first PRT (provincial reconstruction team) in Afghanistan was established in Paktiā near Gardēz in early March 2003, headed by the US Army along with a US Agency for International Development (USAID) representative. The PRT's now number over 30 in Afghanistan. The continuing challenge to bring electricity, medical clinics, schools and water to the more remote villages in Paktia are a result of ongoing security issues.

Famous people from Gardēz

* Abu Saīd Abdul Hay Dhahhak Gardēzī (Abu Said Gardezi) (died c. 1061) was a geographer and historian of the early 11th century from Gardēz (now in Afghanistan) the author of the general history book, Zayn al-Akhbār or "Tarikh-i Gardezi". Gardēzī's work is of great importance to the history of medieval Afghanistan, Persia, and Central Asia.
*Mohammad Najibullah, the last president of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. After his overthrow, he was murdered by the Taliban on September 27, 1996. He is buried in Gardēz.
*Shah Gardez, an 11th-century Syed saint from Gardez, established himself in Multan, Pakistan.

References And Notes


* S. Radojicic, "Report on Hydrogeological Survey of Paktya Province", Kabul, UNICEF, 1977
* C.E. Bosworth, "Notes on the Pre-Ghaznavid History of Eastern Afghanistan", in "The Islamic Quarterly IX", 1965

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