A street in Charikar
|Elevation||1,600 m (5,200 ft)|
|o City||96,093 |
|o Urban||96,039 |
Charikar (Persian: ?, pronounced Chârikâr) is the main town of the Koh Daman Valley and the capital of Parwan Province in northern Afghanistan. It has a population of around 171,200, which is a multi-ethnic society.
The city lies on the road 69 km from Kabul to the northern provinces. Travelers would pass Charikar when traveling to Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz or Puli Khumri. Despite the proximity to Kabul, slightly more than half of the land is not built-up. Of the built-up land almost equal parts is residential (37%) as vacant plots (32%) with a grid network of road coverage amounting to 19% of built-up land area. Charikar is at the gateway to the Panjshir Valley, where the Shamali plains meet the foothills of the Hindu Kush. Charikar is known for its pottery and high-quality grapes.
In 1221, the Battle of Parvan was fought near Charikar, in which Jalal ud-Din with an army of 30,000 with 100,000 auxiliaries defeated a column of 30,000 men of the invading Mongol army to give part of his army enough time to escape into the northern Punjab, and avoid the immediate consequences of the fall of the Khwarezmid Empire.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Charikar became a flourishing commercial town of several thousand inhabitants. Charikar was the location of major battle during the First Anglo-Afghan War. In 1841 a British garrison was massacred. In 1842 the British Army returned to lay waste to the town in their campaign of retribution.
During the Soviet-Afghan War, the region around Charikar was the scene to some of the fiercest fighting. Some areas around Charikar served as a stronghold of the Liberation Organization of the People of Afghanistan (SAMA). Charikar was at the frontline between Ahmad Shah Massoud's Northern Alliance and the Taliban who captured Kabul in 1996. In January 1997 the Taliban took control of Charikar, but Massoud fought back and recaptured it by July. In August 1999 the Taliban launched an offensive and briefly captured Charikar, before Massoud counterattacked and drove them out again.
On August 14, 2011, a team of about six suicide bombers attacked the governor's palace in Charikar. The Governor Abdul Basir Salangi survived but 19 people were killed to which the Taliban claimed responsibility.
The main ethnic groups are Pashtuns and Tajiks, but there are small numbers of Uzbeks, Qizilbash and Hazaras as well.