Asadabad, Afghanistan

Chaghasarai (چغسرای)
Asadabad view
Asadabad view
Asadabad is located in Afghanistan
Location in Afghanistan
Coordinates: 34°52′27″N 71°9′10″E / 34.87417°N 71.15278°E / 34.87417; 71.15278Coordinates: 34°52′27″N 71°9′10″E / 34.87417°N 71.15278°E / 34.87417; 71.15278
827 m (2,713 ft)
 • Total48,400
Time zone+ 4.30

Asadabad (Dari: اسعدآباد), also called Chaghasarai (چغسرای), is the capital city of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It is located in the eastern-northeastern portion of the country. The city is located within a valley at the confluence of the Pech River and Kunar River between two mountain ridgelines running along both sides of the valley from Northeast to Southwest.

Asadabad is in a mountainous region of the Hindu Kush mountains about 13 km (eight miles) northwest of the Pakistani border and 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Asadabad deals with a moderate amount of trade goods. Nawa Pass, that lies about 16 km (10 miles) south of Asadabad, is the next major border crossing point north of the Khyber Pass for the region. The pass is under constant observation due to its relative ease to cross for commerce and its potential usage for smuggling and Taliban insurgents.[2]

On 14 August 2021, Asadabad was seized by Taliban fighters, becoming the twenty-first provincial capital to be captured by the Taliban as part of the wider 2021 Taliban offensive.[3]


The surrounding Kunar Province lies near the historic routes connecting Central Asia, India, and Iran, such as the Silk Road and the Grand Trunk Road through the Khyber Pass, as well as routes through the Hindu Kush mountains. Asadabad lies at the confluence of the two major rivers of the area, the Kunar and the Pech. The region would have come under the borders of various empires of the ages, including the Achaemenid Persians, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, etc. It was very close to the paths Alexander the Great passed by on his way from conquering Persia to invading India. Asadabad is also on the eastern boundary of what was Kafiristan - part of Afghanistan not converted to Islam until the 1890s.[4][5][6][7][8]

In the past, the area near Asadabad was called "Chagha Sarai", with various spellings (Chaga Serai, Chagasaray, Chigur Serai, Chughansuraee).

Emperor Babur (late 15th century/early 16th century) claims to have taken over the town as part of his military campaigns in the area. He describes it very briefly in his book, Baburnama. He also mentions relations with the Kaffirs, whom he claims helped defend the town against him.[9]

In the late 19th century/early 20th century the capital of the region was moved from Pushoot/Pasat/Pasad to the present Asadabad location. Over the 20th century, various technical improvements were made such as roads, a shopping area, schools, a bridge, a gas station, etc.[10]

Soviet Afghan war

In the opening times of the Soviet Afghan war (1979-1988), Kunar province saw some of the first rebellions against the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. As punishment, PDPA troops with Soviet advisors massacred the males of the nearby village of Kerala, burying their bodies in a field near the Pech river.[4] Asadabad was later linked to a Soviet military base during the war, which included Spetsnaz.[11] Several Russian websites, like, contain discussions and photos regarding this era.

In January 1979, a large guerrilla force, reported by the contemporary press - estimated - at 5,000 strong, attempted to capture the town, which was the headquarters of the Afghan Army's 9th Division.[12]

In 1985, in the Battle of Maravar Pass the Afghan Mujahideen killed 31 Soviet troops in an ambush.

Mujahideen control

The rebel Mujahideen later took over the town from the Soviets. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami, one of the Peshawar Seven groups, had heavy influence in the area. Osama bin Laden also spent time in Asadabad.[13]

On 20 April 1991, the marketplace of Asadabad was hit by two Scud missiles, that killed 300 and wounded 500 inhabitants. Though the exact toll is unknown, these attacks resulted in heavy civilian casualties.[14] The explosions destroyed the headquarters of Islamic leader Jamil al-Rahman, and killed a number of his followers.[11]

2001-2021 war

In 2001 the War on Terror began with the invasion of Afghanistan, including Kunar Province. Forward Operating Base Camp Wright was set up a few kilometres south of Asadabad. According to an Army article, the camp was originally built by the Soviets.[15] The city was captured by the Taliban on 14 August 2021, as part of the wider 2021 Taliban offensive.[3]


Asadabad has a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa), bordering on a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification system. The average annual temperature in Asadabad is 18.1 °C (64.6 °F). About 960 mm (37.80 in) of precipitation falls annually.

Climate data for Asadabad
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.5
Average high °C (°F) 12.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.1
Average low °C (°F) 0.0
Record low °C (°F) −15.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69
Source 1: Nomadseason,[16] NASA Power[17] (Extremes 1990-2021)
Source 2: (Precipitation)[18]


About 10% - 15% of the valley surrounding Asadabad is used for agriculture by using an ancient land development technique called terracing. However, flooding and erosion have been an issue in the past. The primary crops are wheat, rice, sugarcane and vegetables. Multiple international agencies are assisting with these issues and other issues throughout the province.

As of January 2009, growth around Asadabad has been substantial. Examples of development are:

  • Kunar province's main marketplace now has more than 600 stores, up from 100 just three years ago.
  • Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) have constructed 16 schools, 20 medical clinics, and 8 district centers.
  • PRTs completed construction on 13 roads and 11 bridges.
  • Agribusiness Developmental Teams (ADTs) have several evolving projects and over 10 demonstration farms.
  • Jalalabad-Asmar and Pech River roads have cut travel times in half and connected Asadabad centers of commerce with Jalabad.[19]

Law enforcement

The Afghan National Police provide security for the city and district. There is also the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), led by the United States armed forces. It is not only helping the Afghan government to develop the area but is also training the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the Afghan Border Police and the Afghan Armed Forces.


The Kunar Cricket Ground opened in 2018 and has played host to first-class cricket matches in the Ahmad Shah Abdali 4-day Tournament and the Mirwais Nika Provincial 3-Day Tournament. The ground is most notable for a match between Kabul Region and Boost Region in the 2018 Ahmad Shah Abdali 4-day Tournament, when Kabul batsman Shafiqullah scored the fastest double century in first-class cricket. He scored 200 not out from 89 balls,[20] and also scored the most sixes in a first-class match, with 24.[21]

Notable residents and incidents

  • U.S. Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Red Wings, which took place in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad from June to July 2005.
  • US Operations: "Big East Wind" and Operation Mountain Lion
  • A man named Abdul Wali was tortured to death by CIA contractor David Passaro at the nearby US military base in 2003. Wali had brought himself in for questioning regarding the rocket attacks on the base, at the suggestion of the provincial governor, who told him he wouldn't be harmed. Passaro was later convicted of assault after 82nd Airborne Division troops testified against him. He received 8+ years in prison.[22]

Sister cities



  1. ^ "Asadabad (Afghanistan)". Silobreaker. June 14, 2009. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009.
  2. ^ United States Army Sergeant Moeller, Matthew C. Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public Affairs (November 2009). "Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States Agree: Cooperation is the Key to Success Along Border Pass" (PDF). The DISAM Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Seir, Ahmad; Faietz, Rahim; Krauss, Joseph (14 August 2021). "Taliban approach capital's outskirts, attack northern city". Associated Press News. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b Girardet, Edward (August 8, 2012). Killing the Cranes. Chelsea Green. ISBN 9781603583190 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Edwards, David B. (2002). Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad. The Regents of the University of California. University of California Press. Part II. ISBN 9780520926875 – via UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004.
  6. ^ Bearden, Milton; Risen, James (2004). The Main Enemy. Random House. ISBN 9780345472502 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society". 42. Royal Geographic Society. 1872: 190 – via Google Books. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Burnes, Sir Alexander (1843). Cabool: A Personal Narrative of a Journey To, and Residence in that City, in the Years 1836, 7, and 8. J. Murray – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Beveridge, Annette Susannah (1922). The Babur-nama: Memoirs of Babur. Luzac & Co. – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ "Asadābād". Encyclopædia Iranica. August 16, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Adamec, Ludwig W. (November 10, 2011). Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan. Scarecrow Press. entry Spetsnaz on page 403. ISBN 9780810878150.
  12. ^ Urban, Mark (1988). War in Afghanistan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-333-43263-1. Urban cites The Guardian, 8 January 1979.
  13. ^ Robertson, Phillip (September 6, 2002). "U.S. airstrike near Asadabad". Salon. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Lewis, George N.; Fetter, Steve; Gronlund, Lisbeth (March 1993). "Casualties and damage from Scud attacks in the 1991 Gulf War". Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 13 – via Digital Repository at the University of Maryland. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Maginot, Lisa (February 7, 2013). "Team building on an Afghan mountainside". U.S. Army. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "Asadabad,". Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Data Access Viewer". Retrieved 11 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Climate: Asadabad -". Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  19. ^ "Fact Sheet: Making Afghanistan More Secure with Economic and Reconstruction Assistance". The White House: President George W. Bush – via Internet Archives.
  20. ^ "The end of the innocence". ESPN Cricinfo. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Stats: Afghanistan's Shafiqullah Shafaq records the fastest first-class double century". CricTracker. 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  22. ^ "CIA worker is jailed over beating". BBC. February 13, 2007.
  23. ^ de Benedetti, Chris (August 17, 2012). "Union City adds new 'sibling' to its list of sister cities". East Bay Times. Digital First Media. Retrieved July 22, 2017.

External links

  • ASADĀBĀD - Encyclopedia Iranica
  •, an entire Russian website devoted to the veterans of the 334th from the Soviet Afghan war
  • Vlasenko Map i-42-12, a highly detailed old Russian map of the area
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