Kunar Province, located in northeastern Afghanistan, covers some 3,742 square miles and has a population of about 250,000. It is dominated by Nuristanis in the north and west and Pashtuns in the south and east. The territorial integrity of the province was altered by the Kabul government in 1970 when it was absorbed into Nangarhar, but Kunar was again designated as a province in 1977. Following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the Kabul government created Nuristan from parts of Kunar and Laghman Provinces, with the residue again being incorporated into Nangarhar Province.
The revolt of the mujahideen began in Kunar Province in 1978. Nearly all of the mujahideen groups were present in Kunar, and the bulk of the government bases in the province were captured. However, the two main groups at the beginning of
the revolt were those led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Maulawi Husain Jamilurrahman. The latter declared an Islamic amirate after a break with Hekmatyar. However, an explosion in Jamilurrahman’s headquarters at Asadabad decimated
the leadership and enabled an alliance of mujahideen forces to expel the Wahhabis, who were backed by volunteer fighters from Arab states.
The province’s economy is based on subsistence agriculture (which is, in turn, reliant on irrigation) and timber, being one of only two wooded provinces in the country, the other being Paktia. Kunar shares a border with Pakistan, and its administrative center, Asadabad, is renowned as the birthplace of Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani, the founder of the concept of pan-Islam propagated as a counter to Western imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century.
- Conflict in Afghanistan Frank A. Clements
- Adamec, Ludwig. 1972–1985. Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan. 6 vols. Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-u Verlagsansalt.
- Emadi, Hajizullah. 1990. State, Revolution, and Superpowers in Afghanistan. New York: Praeger.