ACLED-APW Report Tracking Disorder During Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

Province: Balkh

Location: North 

Balkh is one of the most important and primary provinces in the north, with a latitude of 29 degrees and 31 minutes east and a longitude of 68 minutes north, connecting Afghanistan through the Hairatan trade port with Uzbekistan and subsequently to Central Asian countries.

Balkh province shares borders in the east with (Kunduz and Samangan) provinces, in the west province with (Jawzjan), in the south with (Sar-e-Pul and Samangan) provinces.

Area: 16,186-kilometer squares

Ethnicity: Tajiks, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Balochs, Arabs and other ethnic groups

Languages: Pashto, Dari and Uzbeki

Armed Opposition Group(s): The Taliban, Irresponsible Armed Individuals

Districts Under Control of the Taliban: 30%.

Districts Under Control of the Government: 70%

Contested Districts: 

Government’s Appointed Governor for the Province: Mohammad Ishaq Rahgozar

Taliban’s Distinct Governor for the Province: Mawlawi Qaudratullah Balkhi tajik

Major Security Incident(s): Following the signing of the peace agreement between Afghanistan, the Taliban and the United States, security incidents have also taken place in Balkh province, the most important of which are as follows.

- The Taliban attacked security checkpoints in Dawlatabad district, where security forces were active in the resistance and repulsed the Taliban’s attacks, resulting in Hamidullah, popularly known as Sadis, the deputy district governor Bari Taliban of Dawlatabad district, and Ghani the leader of the Taliban got killed with his 12 insurgents, and Maulvi Noor Mohammad, a Taliban commander, was wounded along with 4 others. (19 Hoot 1399)

- The Taliban attacked checkpoints in the center of Zare district, killing 14 security personnel and wounding 22 others, and the number of Taliban casualties is unknown. (13 Saur 1399)

- A car carrying Qari Mohammad Ibrahim Ilyar, the district governor of Shortapa district, was hit by a Taliban mine in the province, resulting in the death of a total of 5 persons (Qari Ibrahim, district governor of Shortpapa, deputy Sharif commander of civil movements and two civilian soldiers). (20 June 1399 Sun)

Causes of the War:

  • While Balkh is one of the strategic and important economic and trade provinces and has joint security forces, there are several reasons for the war in the province.
  • The centrality of the northern provinces (if the Taliban are active in parts of this province, they will be able to influence the other 4 northern provinces as well.)
  • The Economic and Strategic factors of Balkh Province (Since Balkh Province is one of the economic and strategic provinces and the commercial port of Hairatan is in this province, the Taliban are looking to identify the activities in this province)
  • The province of Balkh is important from a political point of view (Balkh province is the most important political province that has a role to play in the central decision-making, that’s why the Taliban want to reach out there and prove their presence in this strategic province.