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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 66.


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66


AFGHAN- TURKISTAIN


Afghan-Turkistan, as thus constituted, is bounded on the north by
Bokhara, from which it is separated by the Oxus, and by Russian terri-
tory. Its eastern extremity abuts on Badakhshan. On the south the
same range divides Afghan-Turkistan from the Kabul province. On
the south-west Afghan-Turkistan is bounded by Bamian in the Kabul
province, and by districts of the Herat province, which also form its
western boundary.
The towns of Afghan-Turkistan are AKCHX, MAIMANA, MAZAR-I-
SHARIF, Haibak, Shibarghan, Sar-i-Pul, Andkhui, and Khanabad. A
peculiarity common to nearly all these is that they cover an extensive
area, owing to the mass of orchard suburbs which surround them.
The province is divided into two distinct regions: the one moun-
tainous, the other consisting of a great plain stretching from the foot
of the hills to the Oxus. Along the whole southern
aPhsical boundary, including Wakhan and Badakhshan, is
a region of lofty mountain country. In the east we
have the Hindu Kush rising far into the region of perpetual snow.
One great spur of this range, the Changur Koh, divides Badakhshan
and Afghan-Turkistan proper. From this spur stretches a large plateau,
extending north from the Koh-i-Baba for I40 miles in the direction
of the Oxus, with a breadth of about 80 miles and an elevation of about
7,ooo to Io,ooo feet. It terminates in a range, the Shadian Koh, which
falls almost precipitously to the plains of Turkistan. South of Balkh
is the western prolongation of the Hindu Kush, the great range of
mountains known as the Koh-i-Baba. From a point south of Yak
Walang (in the Kabul province) these mountains fork into three
branches. The northern branch strikes north-west, enclosing the basin
of the Upper Murghab, and dividing it from that of the Band-i-Amir.
Branching right and left, it forms a mass of mountains which are the
natural boundary of this part of Afghan-Turkistan. The western half
of these mountains is known as the Band-i-Turkistan; its elevation
is about II,ooo feet. The eastern range has no one name; its height
is about 10,000 to 12,000 feet. There is a well-marked, and for the
most part an abrupt, transition from the hill country to the plains. The
breadth of the latter is variable, owing to the curves of the Oxus and its
northward trend, but the average is between 40 and 50 miles. The
principal tributaries of the Oxus which drain the province are the
Kokcha and the Kundfiz or Surkhab. The Tashkurghan, the Band-
i-Amir, the Sar-i-Pul, and the Kaisar or Maimana belong to the Oxus
basin, but are either expended in cultivation or lost in the plains before
reaching the Oxus.
The climate varies considerably with the locality. The winter, even
in the plains, is cold ; spring is a season of heavy rain, the amount
of which appears to depend upon the nature of the previous snowfall;



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