On the Districts of Afghanistan page, I had a column of four-digit district codes from the Ministry of the Interior. The first
two digits of those codes correspond with the province. On this page, I added the key to that correspondence.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For Afghanistan, a few codes have been changed in order to match the new
preferred spellings of province names. Before this update, Lowgar was
LOW, and Oruzgan was
The two newest provinces of Afghanistan are Daikondi and Panjshir. A 1990 estimate of the population of Daikondi was 127,661. A
2004 estimate of the population of Panjshir was 307,620. This change is shown in ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-7 (2005-09-13)
and in FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10 (2006-03-23).
The new provinces of Khowst and Nurestan were at least tentatively announced by 1994. They were reported in ISO 3166-2
Newsletter number I-6 (2004-03-08), and in FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9 (2004-10-01).
|Languages||Pashtu (ps), Dari|
The external borders of Afghanistan have remained almost unchanged through the twentieth century. Its division into
provinces, on the other hand, has changed frequently. The tendency has been to create more provinces over the years. Part
of the border with Pakistan is in dispute.
Other names of country:
The formal name of Afghanistan has changed several times recently. The new constitution, adopted on 2004-01-04, changed
the name from "Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan" to "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan". In the past, the country was
known as "Democratic Republic of Afghanistan", "Republic of Afghanistan", "Islamic State of Afghanistan", and (according to
the Taliban) "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan". Some of the languages in the list below may need updating.
- Danish: Afghanistan
- Dutch: Afghanistan, Islamitische Republiek Afghanistan (formal)
- English: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (formal)
- Finnish: Afganistan
- French: Afghanistan, République f islamique d'Afghanistan (formal)
- German: Afghanistan n
- Icelandic: Afganistan
- Italian: Afghanistan m
- Norwegian: Afghanistan, Den islamske stat Afghanistan (formal) (Bokmål), Den islamske staten Afghanistan (formal) (Nynorsk)
- Portuguese: Afeganistão, República f Islâmica do Afeganistão m (formal)
- Pushto: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan (formal)
- Russian: Исламская Республика Афганистан (formal)
- Spanish: Afganistán, República f de Afganistán m (formal)
- Swedish: Afghanistan
- Turkish: Afganistan
Origin of name:
Land of the Afghani (ethnic name)
Afghanistan is divided into 34 velayat (provinces).
|Province||HASC||ISO||FIPS||Code||Pc||Population||Area (km.²)||Area (mi.²)||Capital|
|34||805,500 ||44,059 ||17,011 ||Feyzabad|
|33||420,400 ||20,591 ||7,950 ||Qal'eh-ye Now|
|36||762,500 ||21,118 ||8,154 ||Pol-e Khomri|
|17||1,073,000 ||17,249 ||6,660 ||Mazar-e Sharif|
|16||379,200 ||14,175 ||5,473 ||Bamian|
|42||391,000 ||8,088 ||3,123 ||Khadir|
|31||428,800 ||48,471 ||18,715 ||Farah|
|18||840,400 ||20,293 ||7,835 ||Meymaneh|
|23||1,040,100 ||22,915 ||8,847 ||Ghazni|
|32||585,900 ||36,479 ||14,085 ||Chaghcharan|
|39||782,100 ||58,584 ||22,619 ||Lashgar Gah|
|30||1,544,800 ||54,778 ||21,150 ||Herat|
|19||452,000 ||11,798 ||4,555 ||Sheberghan|
|10||3,071,600 ||4,462 ||1,723 ||Kabul|
|38||990,100 ||54,022 ||20,858 ||Kandahar|
|12||374,500 ||1,842 ||711 ||Mahmud-e-Eraqi|
|25||487,400 ||4,152 ||1,603 ||Khowst|
|28||381,900 ||4,942 ||1,908 ||Asadabad|
|35||833,300 ||8,040 ||3,104 ||Kondoz|
|27||378,100 ||3,843 ||1,484 ||Mehtar Lam|
|14||332,400 ||3,880 ||1,498 ||Pol-e 'Alam|
|26||1,261,900 ||7,727 ||2,984 ||Jalalabad|
|43||138,500 ||41,005 ||15,832 ||Zaranj|
|29||125,700 ||9,225 ||3,562 ||Kamdish|
|41||297,200 ||22,696 ||8,763 ||Tarin Kowt|
|22||467,500 ||6,432 ||2,483 ||Gardez|
|24||369,100 ||19,482 ||7,522 ||Sharan|
|15||130,400 ||3,610 ||1,394 ||Bazarak|
|11||560,800 ||5,974 ||2,307 ||Charikar|
|20||327,700 ||11,262 ||4,348 ||Aybak|
|Sar-e Pol |
|21||472,700 ||15,999 ||6,177 ||Sar-e Pol|
|37||827,500 ||12,333 ||4,762 ||Taloqan|
|13||506,300 ||8,938 ||3,451 ||Maidanshahr|
|40||257,600 ||17,343 ||6,696 ||Qalat|
|34 provinces ||22,097,900||645,807||249,347|
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- Code: Codes from Ministry of the Interior.
- Pc: First two digits of postal code for province.
- Population: 2006 estimates. Source: Central Statistics Office website.
- Area: Source 
Afghan Post uses four-digit postal codes in which the first two digits represent a province in the range 10-43, and the last
two digits represent a delivery zone, which can be a city if in the range 01-50, or a rural district if between 51 and 99.
See the Districts of Afghanistan page.
Badakhshan province contains the Wakhan (or Vakhan) Corridor, a narrow strip of land extending eastward to China.
The UN LOCODE page for
Afghanistan lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes
for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.
Origins of names:
- Badghis: Persian badkhiz: home of the winds
- Nurestan: = land of the enlightened
- This is a table of the provinces of Afghanistan as of about 1950 (sources  and ).
|Kabul||2,817,234||Kabul||Ghazni, Kabul, Parvan|
|10 provinces||9,997,000|| || |
- Population: 1946 estimate. There were also
an additional 2,000,000 Afghani nomads.
- Current divisions: lists some of the current
provinces located in the territory of the old
- By ~1957, the provinces of Ghazni (capital Ghazni), Girishk (Girishk), and Parvan (Charikar) had been formed.
- ~1958: Sheberghan province was formed.
- By 1964, the provinces of Badghis, Baghlan and Pul-i-Khumri, Bamian, Ghorat, Kalat, Kapisa, Konduz, Kunarha, Laghman,
Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Oruzgan, Paktia, Samangan, Talugan, and Wardak and Maiden had been formed, and Eastern, Kataghan, and
Southern had disappeared in the process.
- 1964-04-30: Names of provinces changed as follows: Baghlan and Pul-i-Khumri became Baghlan; Ghorat became Ghor (Ghowr);
Girishk became Helmand; Kalat became Zabul (Zabol); Kunarha became Konarha (Konar); Maimana became Faryab; Mazar-i-Sharif became
Balkh; Shibarghan became Jowzjan; Talugan became Takhar; Wardak and Maiden became Wardak (Vardak).
- ~1970: Name of capital of Helmand changed from Bost to Lashgar Gah.
- ~1971: In 1966, the geographer of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. State Department wrote, "It has been
proposed that a new province of Katawaz and Urugan be formed from part of Paktia Province." A development plan for Katawaz and
Urugan was underway, so perhaps this proposal was to help administer the project. Katawaz-Urgun province is shown in the Times
Atlas, 1971 edition. In later sources, Paktia province is restored to its original extent.
- ~1972: Name of capital of Ghowr changed from Qala Ahangaran to Chaghcharan; name of capital of Laghman changed from Tigri
to Mehtar Lam; capital of Oruzgan moved from Qala-Hazar Qadam to Tarin Kowt.
- 1973-07-26: Formal name of country changed from Kingdom of Afghanistan to Republic of Afghanistan.
- ~1975: Name of Chakhansur province changed to Nimruz.
- ~1978: Capital of Kapisa moved from Tagab to Mahmud-e-Eraqi. Name of capital of Konar changed from Chigha Sarai to
Asadabad. Formal name of country changed to Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
- ~1982: Paktika province formed from parts of Ghazni and Paktia. The provinces of Afghanistan at that time were as follows.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- Population: 1979-06-23 census, from source .
- Area: Source .
- ~1988: Many provincial boundaries adjusted. For example, northern Samangan, including the city of Kholm, transferred to
- 1988-04: Sar-e Pol province formed from parts of Balkh (former FIPS code
AF04), Jowzjan (
and Samangan (
- 1988-07: Nurestan province formed from parts of Konar (former HASC code
AF.KO, FIPS code
and Laghman (
- ~1995: Khowst province split from Paktia (former
- ~1996: Capital of Lowgar moved from Baraki Barak to Pol-e 'Alam; capital of Paktika moved from Orgun to Sharan; capital of
Vardak moved from Kowt-e-Ashrow to Maidanshahr. Probably later, capital of Baghlan moved from Baghlan to Pol-e Khomri.
(This information is somewhat conjectural.)
- 2004-03-28: Daikondi province split from Oruzgan (former
- 2004-04-13: Panjshir province split from Parvan (former
AF22). It includes the Panjshir
Valley, north of Kabul. The formation of these two provinces was an administrative decision and has not been ratified by
- 2004-06: According to the Afghanistan Information Management Service (AIMS, a UNDP offshoot), the president's office
announced a change in administrative units from 32 to 34 provinces (addition of Daikondi and Panjshir), and from 329 to 397
districts. Several districts moved from one province to another.
Other names of subdivisions:
- Place names in the vernacular are written in Arabic characters. There are various methods for transliteration from Arabic
to Latin alphabets, producing fairly predictable variant names.
- Badakhshan: Badahan (variant); Badakhchão (Portuguese); Badakhschan (German)
- Badghis: Badghes, Badghisat, Badgis (variant)
- Baghlan: Baglan, Bughlan (variant); Kataghan (obsolete +)
- Balkh: Balh (variant); Mazar-i-Sharif, Mazar (obsolete +)
- Bamian: Bamiyan (French); Bamyan (variant)
- Daikondi: Daikundi, Daykondi, Daykundi (variant)
- Faryab: Fariab (variant); Maimana, Meymaneh (obsolete +)
- Ghazni: Gazni (variant)
- Ghowr: Gawr, Ghore, Ghour, Ghur (variant); Ghor (French)
- Helmand: Girishk (obsolete); Hilmand, Hilmend (variant)
- Herat: Hirat (variant)
- Jowzjan: Jaozjan, Jawzjan, Jozjan, Juzjan (variant); Jouzjan (French); Shibarghan (obsolete +)
- Kabul: Cabul (Portuguese); Kâbil (Turkish); Kabol (variant); Kaboul (French)
- Kandahar: Qandahar (obsolete)
- Kapisa: Kapesa (variant)
- Khowst: Khost (variant)
- Konar: Konarha, Kunar, Kunarha (variant)
- Kondoz: Konduz, Kunduz, Qonduz, Qunduz (obsolete)
- Laghman: Lagman (variant)
- Lowgar: Lawghar, Loghar (variant); Logar (French)
- Nangarhar: Nangerhar, Ningrahar (variant); Eastern Province (obsolete)
- Nimruz: Neemroze, Nimrod, Nimrooz, Nimroze (variant); Nimroz (French); Chakhansur (obsolete)
- Nurestan: Nooristan, Nuristan (variant); Nuristão (Portuguese)
- Oruzgan: Urozgan (variant); Uruzgan (French)
- Paktia: Paktiya (variant); Paktya (French variant); Southern Province (obsolete)
- Panjshir: Panjsher (variant)
- Parvan: Parwan (French); Charikar (obsolete +)
- Sar-e Pol: Sar-e Pul, Saripol, Sari Pul (variant)
- Takhar: Taher, Takar (variant)
- Vardak: Maydan-Wardak, Meydan-Wardag, Verdak, Wardag, Wardak (variant); Wardak and Maiden (obsolete)
- Zabol: Zabul, Zubul (variant); Zaboul (French variant)
+ = (name applied to a larger area containing the province)
-  "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", Beijing, 2001.
-  "Afghanistan: A Shredded
Tapestry ", Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, London, 2001, says that the spelling
Konduz is obsolete and Kondoz should now be used, and that the capital of Nurestan is Kamdish.
-  http://www.pcpafg.org/map_data/databases/Population_estamit.xls, retrieved 2005-04-01, is a spreadsheet with population
data attributed to "LGA(CSO) CENSUS 1979" (CSO is probably Central Statistics Office).
-  Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers , a
webpage of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, is an interface to Programme Management Information System (ProMIS). To
find province areas, click on "Administration" in the navigation bar, then "32 Provinces", then "Provinces", then click on one
of the provinces shown on the map.
-  Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, Chicago, 1957.
-  Kratkaya Geograficheskaya Entsiklopediya, Moscow, 1960.