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Balochs and Balochi areas in Afghanistan

Baluchistan International Conference, Washington D.C.Organized by American Friends of Balochistan Nov. 21, 2009

Gulam Lalzad, PhD: Gulam Lalzad, PhD., is a veteran Baluchi language broadcast journalist, now based in Toronto. Mr. Lalzad is originally from Afghanistan. He was with the Baluchi service of All India Radio for 30 years

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, and American friends of Baluchistan,
I’m glad to speak here amongst you the well wishers of Baloch people about the Balochs and Balochi areas in Afghanistan.

Sistaan or Neemroz is one of the earliest abode of Baloch people but today I will talk about recent history of balochs in Neemroz and Afghanistan.

George Peter Teath an English Army Officer who was a member of frontier marking delegation under Mc Mohan, stayed in Sistaan from 1903 to 1905 for two and a half years and wrote a book under title of “Sistaan” with a very accurate information about the ethnic group of the area from Rodbaar and Charburjak in the west to Pozak Hammon (morass) and Khashrod in the east, this book has been published in Calcutta India in 1910.

At those days Neemroz had two districts only. The areas from Salyan of Jowain which is now a district in Farrah province in the north up to Charburjak a district bordering western Balochistan (in the west and north) and eastern Balochistan( in the east) was part of Kang District and the areas and villages of both side of Helmand river up to Khashrod , pozak and Dil Araam were the part of Chekhansoor district.

Teat names the boloch tribes and sects as bellow: Sanjarani, Narowi, Safarzayi,Sargulzayi,Galbabachcha,Rakhshani,Ismaiel zayi,Sher zayi, zahro zayi, Kashani,Sarani,Notani,Bailar,Sarbandi , Aabeel,Reki,Makakki,Gorgej,Gulab zayi,Shaho zayi,Karimdad zayi, Uzbak zayi ,Brahowi,Eisa Zayi,Moosa Zayi,and Kootkhail Zayi.
George Peter Teat in his another book the frontier ob Baluchistan says, in the year 1903 the population of Baluchistan Sistaan was 70,000.

In the year 1857, Abulhassan Shah Hakeembashi Sistaani released a historical document, according to this document there are three main tribes in Sistaan,the First is Balochia with two main branches.

The first one is Towqi and it is belong to Khanjan Khan Baloch,which is now called after his son Abrahim Khan .The resident of Abrahim Khan is the fort of Chekhansoor, which is a very strong fort with moat ,fenced walls and palace. Three hundred families are living inside this fort and two hundred families are living outside it and the other subjects of Abrahim Khan are in Pada,Nadali,Jarroki,Abrahim Abad,Kada fort,Deh Safar,Khadang,Khwaja Ahmad,etc. Though the population of Abrahim Khan’s subjects is very big, but he uses 3.000 armed fighters including horse power, camel riders and infantry men.

The 2nd tribe of Balochia is Narowi whose chieftain was Dost Mohammad Khan who died this year(1857),he was a perfect man, from his forts one is the Nau Alam Khan fort above the ruins of historical Karkoya city, the fire temple of Zoroastrians which is located with in a mile north of Zaranj(Capital of Neemroz),the other forts are: Deh Sharif Khan,(Sharif Khan Village),Burj-e-Kohna( the old tower),Sher Dil Khan’s fort,Dikk-e dela fort,etc.

His subjects are also in big number, but he has a fighting armed force of 1.5oo riders and infantries.

The 3rd tribe is sanjarani , Imam Khan and Kamal Khan are their Sardars or chieftains and from their estates are : Rodbaar,Bandar,Charburjakk,Hussain Abad,Ashkenakk,Fatah fort,Mir Abad,etc.(they are very vast plain areas, for example there is a Balochi poem about Ashkenakk ,which says”sheda shoton ta Aash kenakk=Padani dil botant kadakk”,it means :I went from here up to Ashkenakk =but I got hurted soles with hole and blisters.

Sanjaranis also have a fighting force of 1.500 armed men.
We have Brahowi balochs in Neemroz and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan, their main tribes are Mohammad Hassani and Mengal.

It was a brief history of local Baloch rulers of Afghanistan.You may know that there in Afghanistan we had never a reliable census, all are estimates. In an article I wrote for the South Asian Edition of Encyclopedia Britannica which was published in the year2000, in New Delhi India, as per information from different sources I, estimated the population of Balochs in Afghanistan about One million.

Balochs are in majority in Neemraz province and a big number of them in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. There are Balochs in Farah,heart,Baadghees,Urozgan,Balkh ,Badakhshan and other northern areas of Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah Abdali Brought he Balochs from Nemroz and Helmand to Kabul ,to counter the possible uprising ob Qezelbashs ,the Turkish tribe She’a people from Iran, nowadays in Kabul they are called Balochs of Bibi Mahrow,Balochs of Yakkatoot and Balochs of Paghman a suberb of Kabul. The All Baloch association of Afghanistan’s president General Zolfiqar who is from Balkh province in the north ,says as per my organization collected data from different part of Afghanistan ,there are more than three million Balochs in Afganistan. The Balochi areas of Afghanistan are not called Balochistan, but the Balochs in Afghanistan don’t feel alienation or stranger, the other communities of Afghanistan consider the Balochs as honest and brave people.
It is more than 50 years that the Afghanistan National Radio broadcasts Balochi Programs, there is a daily balochi program telecasts from official Afghan TV also.30 years back a daily news paper by name of Soab, mean success, start publishing from Kabul,Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is the only country where the Balochi language is also an official language. The word Baloch is the first word in Afghan New National anthem and the other ethnic groups are mentioned after that. The first official Inter national conference on Balochi language was held in Zaranj,Neemraz in November last year, one of invitees was Mr.Nader baloch from Toronto, Canada. in Zaranj there is a Balochi house and a Balochi Academy also.

As I, mentioned there is no discrimination against Balochs in Afghanistan, we had a number of Balochs generals in Afgan army in the recent years. General Ghulam Nabi Khan Baloch was a deputy Home Minister and Sattar purdely was the president of All Afghan trade unions during leftist regimes, Karim Brahowi is a Cabinet minister in Karzai government.

In December, 22, 2001, in the SAARC countries authors and poets conference in New Delhi, where I was invited to attend the SAARC’s author’s conference as a first Afghan representative, I compared the Balochs in three parts of Balochistan and asked the countries of Pakistan and Iran to fallow the afghan government examples in regard to their approaches to Baloch people, their problems and demands.
So it was the story of past and present of Baloch people specially in Afghanistan, but if there is an independent united Balochistan, the Balochs will not be called the Balochs of Afghanistan, Balochs of Iran or Pakistan, but the Baloch of their own country Balochistan for which they deserve the most.

Dr.Gulam M.Lalzad

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