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NORTHEASTERN AFGHANISTAN

MAZAR-E-SHARIF

To Delhi Darbar (600m); Military Hospital (600m)

INFORMATION

32

Charahi Sidiqyar

Charahi Haji

Ayoub

7

To Transport to Shiberghan (1km); Balkh (18km);

Shiberghan (130km); Andkhoi (205km); Maimana (300km)

1 6

21

Chowk-e Mandayi

13 3 19 22 9 15

Charahi Darwaza- ye Balkh

18 17 2 5 30 29 8

Chowk-e Shadian

31 14 24 26 25

20 4

23

Chowk-e Mukharabat

27

28

EATING

Tashkent.................................... C2 Royal Oak Hotel Restaurant.....(see 19) Pisarni Hamidi Restaurant.......... C3 Nasrat Supermarket................... C3 Juice Stands............................... C3 Ice Cream.................................. C2 Ibn Sina Restaurant.................... A3 Grilled Chicken........................(see 20) Fruit & Vegetable Market........... C2 Bahaar Restaurant...................... C2

21 20

26 25 24 23 22

27 SHOPPING

Carpet Shops............................. D3

TRANSPORT

28

Taxis to Balkh............................. B1 Taxis........................................(see 10) Taxis.......................................... C3 Kabul bus ticket offices.............. C3 Herat/Maimana transport office... C3

31 30 29

32

10 11 16 12

To Ah Deh Transport Depot (1km); Airport (8km); Kunduz (310km); Kabul (430km)

Shahin Net Café.......................(see 17) Post Office................................. D2 Police Station............................... B4 Moneychangers........................... C3 Mazar Hospital............................. C1 Kam Air........................................ C2 Kabul Bank................................... B3 Iranian Consulate......................... C2 Indian Consulate.......................... A3 Dunya Internet Club................(see 14) Bakhtar Internet........................... B3 Ariana Afghan Airlines................. C2

2 1

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

Uzbekistani Consulate................ F2 Turkmenistani Consulate............ E2

12 11

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

Shrine of Hazrat Ali....................13 C3

SLEEPING

Royal Oak Hotel........................ A3 Mazar Hotel............................... B3 Farhat Hotel............................... B3 Barat Hotel................................ D2 Aria Hotel.................................. C4 Amo Hotel................................. C3

19 18 17 16 15 14

MAZAR-E SHARIF &

0 0

400 m 0.2 miles

150 MAZAR-E SHARIF

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eventually eclipsed Balkh, and was declared the capital of Afghan Turkestan in 1866. Although Mazar-e Sharif was one of the birthplaces for the political parties that would eventually form the Northern Alli- ance, it was a Soviet stronghold during the 1980s. The flat plains surrounding the city made it easily defensible, and the shops and garrisons were well stocked with goods from across the Soviet border, only 60km away. After the Russians pulled out, the defence

of Mazar-e Sharif was entrusted to the semi- autonomous Uzbek militias led by General Abdul Rashid Dostum ( p145 ). When Dos- tum mutinied against the government in 1992, setting up shop as the local power broker, he quickly gained control over most of north Afghanistan and prompted the fall of Kabul into the bargain. Mazar-e Sharif was the capital of Dostum’s

private kingdom, bankrolled by the north’s gas reserves and with a line of credit from newly independent Uzbekistan. He only left to play kingmaker in Kabul, and then shelled it when his plans came to naught. Mazar-e Sharif remained an oasis of peace in the anarchy of the 1990s. By mid-decade its population had swelled to nearly two million by refugees from other parts of the country, as well as those fleeing the civil war in nearby Tajikistan. Balkh University opened, soon the only university offering higher education to women. The Taliban were soon knocking on the

door. They cut a secret deal with one of Dos- tum’s generals and swept into the city in May 1997. This event triggered the Taliban’s in- ternational recognition as the legitimate gov- ernment of Afghanistan by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. But just a day later the population (led largely by Hazara militia) rose in revolt and drove them out. Having sat out nearly 20 years of war, Mazar-e Sharif started to slide into chaos. The Taliban were back within the year with revenge on their minds. Hazaras were rounded up and sum- marily executed; their bodies were left lying in the street for five days to be eaten by dogs. Around 5000 people were killed. Mazar-e Sharif was the first city to be abandoned by the Taliban in the US-led at- tacks of November 2001. Dostum returned again, this time on the US payroll. His old fort on the outskirts of the city, Qala-e Jangi, was the site of a notorious Taliban

Mazar-e Sharif

MAZAR-E SHARIF

••

Orientation 151

prisoner revolt. In response, his troops packed subsequent Taliban prisoners into shipping containers, asphyxiating as many as 3000 men. But years in exile had returned a dimin- ished figure in Dostum. Mazar-e Sharif was parcelled up by the resurgent Northern Al- liance, and it soon became clear that the Tajiks had the upper hand. Dostum has now ceded control of the city and province to the Tajik governor, Atta Mohammed.

ORIENTATION

Sitting in a large park in the centre of the city, the Shrine of Hazrat Ali dominates Mazar-e Sharif. Four main roads radiate out from the shrine to the cardinal points. Most amenities for travellers can be found within a kilometre of the shrine. Mazar-e Sharif has no historic quarter to speak of; the old bazaars that surrounded the shrine were torn down in the 1960s when the area was redeveloped.

The airport is 10km east of Mazar-e

Sharif. Transport to Kabul and all points south and east leave from the Ah Deh depot 3km east of the centre. Transport west de- parts from a series of smaller stands on the road to Balkh.

INFORMATION

Emergency

ANSO North (x070 030 064/079 9404 617) Fire Brigade (x079 9202 420) ISAF (x079 9639 135) Police (x079 9255 000)

Internet

Expect to pay around 60Afg per hour.

Bakhtar Net (Darwaza-ye Balkh)

Dunya Internet Club (Chowk-e Shadian) In same build- ing as Amo Hotel. Shahin Net Café (behind Farhat Hotel, Darwaza-ye Balkh) Very high-speed connection.

Medical Services

Mazar Hospital (x070 503 600; Charahi Sidiqyar) Military Hospital (x070 501 881; Dosad Bistar)

Money

There are moneychangers’ stalls along the street west of the shrine. Currencies for all Afghanistan’s neighbours are available.

Kabul Bank (Darwaza-ye Balkh) Has a branch of Western Union inside.

NORTHEASTERN AFGHANISTAN

MAZAR-E SHARIF &

Kheyaban-e Nasir Khusrau

Darwaza-ye Shadian

Darwaza-ye Balkh

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