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Note: This material has been taken from "Provincial Development Plan, Kandahar Provincial Profile" prepared by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), 2007.




Kandahar province is located in the southern region of the country and has borders with Zabul in the East, Uruzgan in the North, Helmand in the West and an international border with the Balochistan Province of Pakistan in the South. The province covers an area of 47676 km2. More than four-fifths of the area is made up of flat land (84.5%) while nearly a tenth of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain (7.6%) as the following table shows:

Topography type

Flat Mountainous Semi Mountainous Semi Flat Not Reported TOTAL
% 84.5% 2.6% 5.0% 6.8% 1.1% 100.0%

Source: CSO/UNFPA Socio Economic and Demographic Profile

The province is divided into 16 official and 2 unofficial districts. The provincial capital is Kandahar which has a population of 468200.


Demography and Population

Kandahar has a total population of 990100. There are approximately 14445 households in the province, and households on average have 7 members. The following table shows the population by district.

Population by District

District Male Female Total
Kandahar City 243600 224600 468200
Daman 12700 12100 24800
Arghistan 14800 14100 28900
Arghandab 26400 25200 51600
Panjwai 42400 40400 82800
Maywand 20900 19800 40700
Khakrez 9900 9300 19200
Ghorak 4100 3900 8000
Spin Boldak 21000 20000 41000
Shorabak 4900 4700 9600
Registan 800 800 1600
Maruf 14200 13500 27700
Shah Wali Kot 18700 17700 36400
Zherai 25500 2400 49500
Niesh 5800 5500 11300
Miyanasheen 6500 6100 12600


(Source UNAMA / CSO data)


Around 68% of the population of Kandahar lives in rural districts while 32% lives in urban areas. Around 51% of the population is male and 49% is female. The major ethnic group living in Khandahar province is Pashtoons. This includes major tribes such as Barakzai, Popalzai, Alkozai, Noorzai and Alezai. Pashtu is spoken by more than 98% of population and in more than 98% of villages. Dari is spoken in six villages by 4000 people and Balochi is spoken by 8000 people in two villages. 19000 people in nine villages speak some other unspecified language.

Kandahar province also has a population of Kuchis or nomads whose numbers vary in different seasons. In winter 79,949individuals, or 3.3% of the overall Kuchi population, stay in Kandahar. Only one percent of them are short-range partially migratory, and 51% are long-range partially migratory and the remaining 48% are settled. In the winter, migratory Kuchi households stay in one place and don’t move around during the season. In the summer season, long range migratory Kuchi households go to Ghazni, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces. The Kuchi population in the summer is 39,082 individuals.



Infrastructure and Natural Resources

The provision of basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation, energy, transport and communications is one of the key elements necessary to provide the building blocks for private sector expansion, equitable economic growth, increased employment and accelerated agricultural productivity. In Kandahar province, on average only 64% of households use safe drinking water. This rises to 99% in the urban area, and falls to 50% in rural areas. More than four fifths (87%) of households have direct access to their main source of drinking water within their community, however one in ten households has to travel for up to an hour to access drinking water (10%), as the table below shows:

Time required accessing main source of drinking water

In community Less than 1 hour 1-3 hours 3-6 hours
% 87 10 3 0
Source: NRVA 2005


On average only 22% of households have access to safe toilet facilities. The situation is better in the urban area where 57% of households have safe toilets, but this is true for only 7% of rural households. The following table shows the kinds of toilet facilities used by households in the province:

Toilet facilities used by households

None/ bush open field/ Dearan / Sahrah (area in compound but not pit) Open pit Traditional covered latrine Improved latrine Flush latrine
% 6 20 3 49 19 3
Source: NRVA 2005


On average 27% of households in Kandahar province have access to electricity with the majority of these relying on public electricity. Access to electricity is much greater in the urban area where 85% of households have access to electricity, however this figure falls to just 2% in rural areas, and only half of these (1%) have access to public electricity.

The transport infrastructure in Kandahar is well developed, with 76.8% of roads in the province able to take car traffic in all seasons, and 19.1% able to take car traffic in some seasons. However, in a very small area of the province (3.3%) there are no roads at all, as shown in the following table:

Road Types

Name of District Cars all season Cars some seasons No roads Not Reported
Arghandab 93.2% 6.8% .0% .0%
Khakreez 97.1% 1.4% 1.4% .0%
Mivand 72.4% 23.1% 3.8% .6%
Jheri 88.2% 10.0% 1.8% .0%
Panjvaei 85.5% 13.6% .9% .0%
Sepin Boldek 56.7% 34.5% 6.9% 2.0%
Total 76.8% 19.1% 3.3% .7%
Source: CSO (Analysis by AIRD)


The following table indicates road travel times between the provincial capital, Kandahar City and the major district centres in the province, and other key provincial centres in the region.

Road Travel Times
From To Time Road Condition
Kandahar City Spin Boldak Approximately 2 hrs 150 kms Excellent/good (Route 4 – bitumen road)
Kandahar City Qalat Approximately 2 hrs 190 kms Excellent/good (Route 1 – bitumen road)
Kandahar City Lashkergah Approximately 2 hrs 200 kms Excellent/good (Route 1 – bitumen road)
Kandahar City Tirin Kot Approximately 3 hrs 200 kms Good (hard packed gravel)
Source: UNAMA


As far as telecommunication is concerned, the three main mobile networks, AWCC, Roshan and Areeba are accessible in Kandahar City and on Main Roads.


Economic Governance and Private Sector Development

Creating the conditions in which a dynamic and competitive private sector can flourish, is key to promoting economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction. Kandahar is both an agricultural and an industrial province. The majority of commercial activity in Kandahar is related to trade and services, and agricultural and livestock products.

Agriculture is a major source of revenue for 28% of households in Kandahar province, including 38% of rural households and 8% of households in the urban area. Thirty two percent of rural households and 1% of urban households own or manage agricultural land or garden plots in the province. However, just under half of households in the urban area (43%) and a little more than one quarter of households in rural areas (29%) derive some income from trade and services. More than a third of households in rural areas (37%) and more than one quarter of households in urban areas (27%) earn income through nonfarm related labour. Livestock also accounts for income for less than one tenth of rural households (8%) as the following table shows:

Sources of income reported by households
Source of income Rural (%) Urban (%) Total (%)
Agriculture 38 8 28
Livestock 8 1 8
Opium 6 1 4
Trade and Services 23 43 29
Manufacture 3 2 2
Non-Farm Labour 37 27 34
Remittances 7 0 5
Other 5 21 10

Source: NRVA 2005

In 2005 there were 109 Agricultural cooperatives active in Kandahar involving 4700 members. This was five times more people than in 2003 when the figure was only 942 members. In 2005 agricultural cooperatives controlled a total of 37015 Ha of land and achieved a surplus of products for sale of 45,000 tons. As a result of this, each member held a share in the capital of the cooperative to the value of 2,640,700Afs.

The major industrial crops grown in Kandahar are tobacco produced in 82 villages, cotton in 59 villages, and sugar extracts in 24 villages. Maiwand District is the major producer of all these products particularly cotton and tobacco. Spin Boldak, Kandahar, and Panjwayee produce Tobacco. Sugar extracts are concentrated in Zherai and Maiwand.

The sector of small industries is almost absent in the province. Three villages in Zherai District produce honey and karakul and sugar candy is produced in Panjwayee. Handicrafts is not a well-developed sector either. Jewellery and rugs are mentioned in this regard. Out of 61 villages producing jewellery, forty one are in Zherai District and out of 10 villages producing rugs, three are in Zherai and three others are in Maiwand Districts.

In 2005, 33% of households in Kandahar reported taking out loans. Of these households, a small percentage used these loans to invest in economic activity such as business investment (6%), agricultural inputs (5%) and buying land (1%).


Agriculture and Rural Development

Enhancing licit agricultural productivity, creating incentives for non-farm investment, developing rural infrastructure, and supporting access to skills development and financial services will allow individuals, households and communities to participate licitly and productively in the economy. As agriculture represents the major source of income for more than a quarter of the households in the province, rural development will be a key element of progress in Kandahar. The most important field crops grown in Kandahar province include wheat, potatoes, melon and watermelon and maize as well as opium. The most common crops grown in garden plots include grapes (54%) and fruit and nut trees (34%). Wheat (4%) and vegetables (3%) are also sometimes grown in garden plots in the province.

More than one third of households with access to fertilizer use this on field crops (38%) and to a higher degree, nearly half of households use fertilizer on garden plots (48%). One in six (15%) households uses fertilizer on both field and garden. The main types of fertilizer used by households in the province are shown in the following table:

Main Types Of Fertilizer Used By Households
Human Animal Urea
% % % Average Kg per Household % Average Kg per Household
47 48 81 234.0 Kg 65 128.4Kg
Source: NRVA 2005


On average 46% of households in the province have access to irrigated land. The figure is much higher in the urban areas where all households (100%) have access to irrigated land as opposed to only 45% of rural households whereas one sixth of rural households (17%) have access to rainfed land as shown in the following table:

Households (%) access to irrigated and rainfed land

Rural Urban Average
Access to irrigated land 45 100 46
Access to rainfed land 17 0 17
Source: NRVA 2005


Fifty five percent of rural households, 91% of Kuchi households and 1% of households in urban areas in the province own livestock or poultry. The most commonly owned livestock are sheep, goats, donkey, camel and cattle as the following table shows:

Households (%) owning poultry and livestock
Livestock Kuchi Rural Urban Average
Cattle 15 29 1 15
Oxen 0 8 1 3
Horses 15 1 0 5
Donkey 76 18 0 31
Camel 48 1 0 16
Goats 73 27 1 33
Sheep 76 35 1 37
Poultry 73 51 1 42

Source: NRVA 2005



Ensuring good quality education and equitable access to education and skills are some of the important ways to raise human capital, reduce poverty and facilitate economic growth. The overall literacy rate in Kandahar province is 16%, however, while more than a quarter of men are literate (26%), this is true for just one twentieth of women (5%). In the population aged between 15 and 24 the situation for men is slightly lower with 22.5% literacy, whereas for women the figure if halved to just 2.7%. The Kuchi population in the province has particularly low levels of literacy with just 3% of men and no women (0%) able to read and write.

On average 23% of children between 6 and 13 are enrolled in school, however, the figure is around one third of boys (33%) and just over one tenth of girls (12%). Amongst the Kuchi population, none of the boys or girls attend school in either the winter or the summer months in Kandahar province.

Overall there are 271 primary and secondary schools in the province catering for 150342 students. Boys account for 82% of students and 97% of schools are boys’ schools. There are nearly 2478 teachers working in schools in the Kandahar province, less than one tenth of whom are women (7.4%).

Primary and Secondary Education

Schools Students Teachers

boys girls boys girls male female
Primary 192 2 113102 25862 - -
Secondary 70 7 10877 501 - -
Total 262 9 123979 26363 2294 184
271 150342 2478

Source: CSO Afghanistan Statistical Yearbook 2006

Primary schools are the most easily accessible for students followed by secondary schools and high schools. Around forty percent of students have a primary school located less than five kilometers away, but 28% of students have to travel more than 10 kilometers to reach their closest primary schools. Over a quarter of students have to travel up to five kilometers to reach their nearest secondary schools and for forty percent this distance is more than ten kilometers. Accessiblilty to high schools is even more limited with only 12% of students having their closest high schools less than 5 kms away. Two-thirds of students, on the other hand, have to travel more than ten kilometers to reach their closest high schools.

Kandahar province also has a number of higher education facilities. The University of Kandahar has four faculties including medicine, engineering, agriculture and training and education. In 2005 there were 808 students enrolled at the university 795 men (98.4%) and 13 women (1.6%). Of those, 151 students were in their first year. These included 150 men (99.4%) and 1 woman (0.6%). Six hundred and forty male students live in dormitories provided by the University.

There is also a teacher training institute which had 72 students in 2005, 70% of whom were men and 30% women. Nineteen new teachers graduated from Kandahar teacher training institute in 2005, of which 58% were women and 42% were men.



Ensuring the availability of basic health and hospital services, and developing human resources in the health sector, is essential to reduce the incidence of disease, increase life expectancy and enable the whole population to participate in sustainable development. A basic infrastructure of health services exists in Kandahar province. In 2005 there were 20 health centers and 8 hospitals with a total of 375 beds. There were also 140 doctors and 288 nurses employed by the Ministry of Health working in the province, which represented nearly twice as many doctors (up from 77) and 50% more nurses (up from 188) since 2003. The major health facilities in the province are shown in the following table:

Health Services (Hospitals and Clinics by District)
District No. Of Health posts Basic Health Center Comprehensive Health Center Provincial/ District Hospital
Kandahar City 0 9 2 1
Spin Boldak 17 3 0 1
Takhta Pul 5 0 1 0
Dand 28 2 1 0
Daman 11 1 1 0
Arghistan 16 0 1 0
Khakrez 6 1 0 0
Ghorak 0 1 0 0
Neish 4 0 1 0
Shorabak 0 0 0 0
Registan 0 0 0 0
Arghandab 10 1 2 0
Panjwai 14 0 1 0
Maiwand 14 0 1 0
Zherai 13 0 1 0
Shah Wali Kot 27 1 1 0

Source: UNAMA


The province also has 94 pharmacies of which 92 are owned privately and 2 are run by the government. Drugstores are present only in 46 villages and 45% of the population has to travel more than ten kilometers to reach to the nearest drugstore.

The majority of communities do not have a health worker permanently present in their community. Thirty nine percent of men’s shura and 59% of women’s shura reported that there was no community health worker present, and both groups most commonly said that a basic health center or clinic without beds is their nearest health facility. Only 3.5% of the population has a health center and 4.2% has a dispensary within their village. Around half the population seeking medical attention must travel more than ten kilometers (55% for health centers and 51% for dispensaries).


Social Protection

Building the capacities, opportunities and security of extremely poor and vulnerable Afghans through a process of economic empowerment is essential in order to reduce poverty and increase self-reliance. The level of economic hardship in Kandahar is reasonably high. Around one third of households in the province report having problems satisfying their food needs at least 3 – 6 times a year (33%), and more than a fifth of households face this problem up to three times a year (22%), as the following table shows:

Problems satisfying food need of the household during the last year

Never Rarely (1-3 times) Sometimes (3-6 times) Often (few times a month) Mostly (happens a lot)
Households (%) 38 22 33 4 3
Source: NRVA 2005


Around a third of the population in the province is estimated to receive less than the minimum daily caloric intake necessary to maintain good health. This figure is smaller for the rural population (26%) than for people living in the urban area (37%). In both rural and urban areas nearly three quarter of households (73%) has low dietary diversity and poor or very poor food consumption as shown below:

Food consumption classification for all households

Low dietary diversity Better dietary diversity
Households (%) Very poor food consumption Poor food consumption Slightly better food consumption Better food consumption
Rural 28 36 22 15
Total 26 47 20 17

Source: NRVA 2005


In 2005, 91% of the population of Kandahar province received allocations of food aid, which reached a total of 870938 beneficiaries. In addition, of the 33% of households who reported taking out loans, 58% said that the main use of their largest loan was to buy food. A further 11% used the money to cover expenses for health emergencies. In the same year more than forty percent of households (41%) in the province reported feeling that their economic situation remained the same compared to a year ago, and the same number (40%) felt that it had got worse or much worse as the following table shows:

Comparison of overall economic situation compared to one year ago

Much worse Worse Same Slightly better Much better
Households (%) 14 26 41 18 1
Source: NRVA 2005


In 2005 around half of all households in the province report having been negatively affected by some unexpected event in the last year, which was beyond their control (48%). Rural households were much more vulnerable to such shocks, with 55% of households affected, as opposed to urban households with only 32%. People living in urban areas were most vulnerable to shocks related to natural disasters and insecurity, whereas those in rural areas were most at risk from drinking water problems and natural disasters, as the following table shows:

Households experiencing shocks in the province (%)
Types of shocks Rural Urban Average
Drinking water 41 6 34
Agricultural 33 3 27
Natural disaster 40 30 38
Insecurity 23 29 24
Financial 14 14 14
Health or epidemics 17 3 14
Source: NRVA 2005


Of those households affected, around two thirds reported that they had not recovered at all from shocks experienced in the last 12 months (63%), and more than one third said they had recovered only partially (35%).



For more detail information please take a look at "A Socio-Economic and Demographic Profile, Household Listing -2003 (Central Statistics Organization)"




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