For a period of time during this era, the eastern area of Nuristan was a semi-autonomous region called the Islamic Revolutionary State of Afghanistan, or Dalwat. It was a Wahhibist Islamic state run by anti-Soviet warlord Maulvi Afzal and was recognized by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The Dalwat dissolved under Taliban rule.

Nuristan is one of the poorest and most remote provinces of Afghanistan. As of Summer 2006, no NGO's operate in Nuristan because of a poor security situation and lack of infrastructure. In response to a publicity campaign by Nuristan's governor, Tamim Nuristani, roads are being built between Nangarej to Mandol and Chapa Dara to Titan Dara. Nuristani is also working on a direct road route to Laghman province, in order to not be so dependent on the road through restive Kunar province to the rest of Afghanistan.


Security Situation

Nuristan is extremely poor and ridden with violent ethnic and economic conflicts. Different tribes in the province often engage in high-intensity fighting over economics and resources, especially water and timber. The province's border with Pakistan makes it a historical transit point for insurgents, if not a central base for the Taliban.














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Province of Nurestan


Nurestan   نورستان

Nurestan Highlighted Red

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Capital Kamdish
Population na
Area na km²
Time Zone UTC + 4:30
Main Languages Nurestani

Nurestan (also spelled Nuristan or Nooristan) (Persian/Nuristani: نورستان) is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was formed in 2001 from the northern parts of Laghman Province and Kunar Province. Nuristanis and Pashtuns make up the majority of the population of this province.

Located on the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains in the northeastern part of the country, Nuristan spans the basins of the Alingār, Pech, Landai Sin, and Kunar rivers. Its capital is Nuristan. It is bordered on the north by Badakhshan Province, on the west by Kapisa Province, on the south by Laghman and Kunar provinces, and on the east by Pakistan.

Until the 1890s, the region was known as Kafiristan (Persian: Land of the unbelievers) because of its inhabitants: the Nuristani, an ethnically distinctive people (numbering about 60,000) who practiced animism. The region was conquered by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1895-96 and the Nuristani were forcibly converted to Islam. The region was renamed Nuristan, meaning Land of the Enlightened, a reflection of the "enlightening" of the pagan Nuristani by the "light" of Islam.


Nuristanis is widely believed to be an early offspring from the Proto-Indo-Europeans (sometimes also referred as Aryans). Nuristan is thought to have been the area of land where Alexander of Macedon camped with his men. Therefore there has been a myth circulating among some Westerners suggesting that "the Nuristani people are direct descendants of Alexander".


Nuristan was the scene of some of the heaviest guerrilla fighting during the 1979-89 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces.

The Districts of Nurestan

District Area Population
Bargi Matal n/a n/a
Kamdesh n/a n/a
Mandol n/a n/a
Nuristan n/a n/a
Wama n/a n/a
Waygal n/a n/a

Provinces of Afghanistan

Badakhshan » Badghis » Baghlan » Balkh » Bamyan » Daykundi » Farah » Faryab » Ghazni » Ghor » Helmand » Herat Jowzjan » Kabul » Kandahar » Kapisa » Khost » Konar » Kunduz » Laghman » Lowgar » Nangarhar » Nimruz » Nurestan Oruzgan » Paktia » Paktika » Panjshir » Parwan » Samangan » Sar-e-Pol » Takhar » Wardak » Zabul

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