Ghor (or Ghour) is located in the central part of Afghanistan. It is surrounded by the provinces of Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Sar-i-Pul, Bamyan, Uruzgan, Helmand and Farah. Its capital is Chighcheran.

Ghor is composed of 10 districts: Chighcheran, Duleena, Dawlatyar, Char Sada, Pasaband, Shahrak, Lal Wa Sarjangal, Taywara, Tulak and Saghar. It is a mountainous province and some of its districts and villages can be isolated for months because of heavy snowfall.


The Central Statistics Organization (CSO) estimates that 713,158 people live in Ghor in 2017. Among them, 365,826 are men, and 347,332 are women.

The population is mainly rural, with 705,719 people living in rural areas and only 7,439 in cities.

The largest ethnic groups living there are the Taimani and Firuzkohi. There are also many inhabitants of Tajik descent. 

The latest figures for the literacy rate of the province were gathered by the CSO in 2012. 26 percent of children above 10 years old were literate, and 29.1 percent of people between 15 and 24 years old were literate. In this age cohort, 42 percent of men were literate, while 15.8 percent of women were literate. The education system in the province is said to be in peril after the closure of many schools.

The Minaret of Jam (Minar-e-Jam) is a UNESCO world heritage site, and has stood in the Shahrak District since the twelfth century.


Ghor is mainly an agricultural province. 74 percent of its working population is employed in the agricultural sector. Farms mainly produce wheat, barley and maize. Farmers also cultivate potatoes, onions and walnuts.

Artisanal handicrafts are another source of income for the province. 13 percent of the working population are craft and related trade workers, including 63 percent of women. They mainly produce handmade rugs.  

14 percent of the working population is employed in the services sector.

The unemployment rate in 2012 was 52.7 percent.


The governor of Ghor is Ghulam Nasir Khaze. He is said to be close to Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from the National Coalition of Afghanistan. In December 2015, Ghulam Nasir Khaze replaced Sima Joyenda as Governor of Ghor. Joyenda was appointed in June 2015, but had to resign later that year because she faced protests and pressures from various religious and military groups.

Warlords supposedly govern most of the province. About 40 warlords are said to rule militias there. They stemmed from factions that fought against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan in the 1980s. They are supported by political parties, Jamiat-e Islami being the most influential of them. The Taliban also claim to occupy some parts of the province.

Some former Taliban groups have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, and have conducted attacks on civilians in Ghor on its behalf.


Suggested Readings:

A guide to Government in Afghanistan (2004) Manning N., Evans A., Osmani Y., and Tully A., World Bank Publications

Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan (2011) Adamec L. W., Scarecrow Press; 4 ed