BALKH (PAN): Lying in the north of Afghanistan, the Balkh Province has immense geo- strategic importance and a known hub of commercial and political activities.
Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital city of Balkh Province, the region presents a scenic picture as it is located between Maimana and Pul-i-Khumri Highway.
Balkh is located on eastern latitude of 29 degree, 31 minutes and northern altitude of 68 degree and 28 minutes. The province shares borders in the north with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Samangan and Kunduz provinces are situated in its east, Jawzjan in its west while Sar-i-Pul and Samangan Provinces lay in its south.
As per the figures provided by the central statistic department of Balkh, the province measured 16,840 square kilometers area, comprising 16,186 square kilometers land in line with the figures of UNFPA. Its population was estimated at 1,219,200 individuals according to the figures of central statistic department in 2011 that 66 percent of them are living in villages while the rest 34 percent in cities. In summer, its temperature reaches to 43 C while in winter its temperature stands at - 2 C. In spring, the province experiences rainy weather.
As many as eleven Wolesi Jirga members and as many senators represent the province in national assembly. The provincial council has 19 members, having a director, deputy, and a secretary. The Wolesi Jirga lawmakers of the province includes Mohammad FarhadAzimi, Dr. Gullalai Noor Sapai, Brekhna Rabi, SiforaNiazi, Alam Khan Azadi, Mohammad IshaqRahguzar, Haji Mohammad Abda, Maulvi Abdul RahmanRahmani, AsadullahSharifi, Abas Ibrahim Zada, and Ahmad Shah Ramazan.
In addition, MaulviDanishjo and Haji Abdul Majid serve in upper house of parliament as senator of the province. The provincial council has 19 members including Dr. Mohammad AfzalHadid, director, Mohammad AbasAkhlaqi, deputy, and ShakibaShakib, secretary of the council.
The province of Balkh as per administrative divisions has 14 districts, in addition to Mazar-i-Sharif city and Hairatan port. Nahra-i-Shahi, Dihdadi, Balkh, Daulatabad, Chamtal, Sholgar, Chaharbolak, Kashanda, Zari, Charkont, Shortipa, Kaldar, Marmal, and Khalm are the rest 14 districts.
Balkh has the credit as home to various ethnicity including Pashton, Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik, Aimaq, Balouch, Arab, and others.
Water Dams:
There are two water basins in Balkh Province that originates from southern and mountainous parts of the province.
1 – KashindaDaulat Abad (Balkh) Water Basin:
The KashindaDaulat Abad (Balkh) Water Basin covers Kashinda, Zari, Sholgar, Charkont, Dihdadi, Chamtal, Chaharbolak, Balkh, Nahr-i-Shahi, and Daulat Abad districts of the province.
Moreover, 11 water canals of Balkh including Siagird, Mushtaq, Abdullah, Chamtal, Daulat Abad, Chaharbolak, Faizabad, Aqcha, Imam, and Shahi also originate from this water basin.
2 – Khulm Water Basin:
The Khulm Water Basin is located in east of the province, which originates from Samangan province and covers the entire Khulm district that comprises two main water canals known as east and west water canals.
Balkh Province has greater historical, academic, and cultural values. The province gave birth to great personalities including Zardasht, Yama, Jalaludin Mohammad Balkhi, RabiaBalkhi, NasirKhisrawBalkhi, Ibn-i-Sina, DaqiqeeBalkhi who contributed to the culture and tradition of the province. However, cultural efforts are formally launched in the Balkh Province with the publishing of state-run print outlet--- Bidar since 1921. A large number of cultural associations such as Balkh Writers Association, Khan-i-Dastan Balkh, Balkh Literary Movement, MaulanaJalaludinBalkhi Cultural Centre, Wazir Mohammad Gul Khan Momand Literary Caravan, Balkh Woman Cultural and Social Caravan, Maulana Home, Ariana, Torya, Negin and Homa filmmaking organizations, Noor Cultural Association, OmulBilad Literary Caravan, ChaharBolak Literary Caravan, MirzaAlaghbik Cultural Association, ZahirudinBabor Cultural and Academic Association, Ilem and Orfan Cultural Centre, Naqshbandi  and others.
There are about 60 libraries in Balkh Province. Maulana Khasta Library is the first one of the province that was set up by the information and culture department since 1966. Despite having a Khum Library, other libraries of the province includes Balkh University Library, Northern Zone Human Rights Commission’s Library, Library of Asadia’s Seminary and KhatamoulAnbia Library.
Recently, a library of Pashto books Khushal Baba has been established by Balkh Literary Movement in 2012. In addition, many private and state-run universities and schools in the province have big and small libraries. Over the past two years, the book and study week has also been launched by libraries and information and culture department in the province.
Historic Sites:
Having a 6,000-year long history, Balkh has a large number of historic sites and artifacts with most of them are at the verge of collapse due to natural disaster with authorities have not paying any attention to renovate them.
The ancient and important way of the world known as Silk Route crosses in this province. Silk Route in east connects Afghanistan with India, at west with Iran and in east with China and thousands of caravans use this route and its signs still can be seen in the province.
Balkh province has given the title of the second city of the world, where a number of historic artifacts are still intact while a some o them are rebuilt in recent years, however, a large number of artifacts are about to collapse.
Balkh has a number of historic sites includes the shrine of Hazrat-i-Ali, Balahisar of Balkh, Walls of Balkh cities, KhwajaAkasha shrine, jewelers hells, TakhtaPul port, Baba Ali Sher hell, Khwaja Abo NaserParsa mosque, Babur Qala, Zadian Campanile, Nah Gunbid mosque, Ayaran tower, Nowbahar altar, Shahr-i-Bano, JahanNoma palace and garden, Khushti mosque, Charso mosque, Spin bridge, Askar hell, KhwajaRoshnayee shrine, Fourteen girls Qala, Salaran hell, Shadian valley, Bazrak, Bahrab, Aab Lai hell, CharkontKafirQala, Imam Bakri bridge, Baba Hatim Ism shrine, ZainulAbideenAqeel shrine, Jamshid city and others.
For the first time, Balkh museum is set up under the framework of information and culture department in 1938, but it is shifted to capital Kabul due to security threats in 1981. However, most of its historic monuments went missing during the civil war.
Various kinds of historic monuments, belonged to the recent history and before Islam, including coins, war tools, swords, shields are available. But some heavy artifacts of the museum such as artillery that made in Afghanistan when former king Abdul Rahman was ruling the country are not shifted to Kabul.
Moreover, hundreds of artifacts from Islamic and ancient eras are also available at another museum at Hazrat-i-Ali shrine. But most of its artifacts had been gifted to this museum by various figures in different periods.
For example, some coins and a curtain, were donated by the wife of former king Abdul Rahman and the king of Bukhara, are still available at the museum of the Hazrat-i-Ali shrine. A number of other ancient artifacts, collected from various parts of Balkh Province are also still available at the mentioned museum.
Many literary, cultural, political and academic figures contributed their shares to the beauty o Balkh Province spanning the 6, 000 long history, which has given international fame and their names are Zardasht, King Yama, Kanishka, MaulanaJalaludin Mohammad Balkhi, RabiaaiBalkhi, NasirKhisrowBalkhi, DaqiqiBalkhi, IbniSina-i-Balkhi, Abo ShakoorBalkhi, ShahidBalkhi, Jamist Hakim, AndaniBalkhi, AllamaSayed Ismail Balkhi, Amir KhisrawBalkhi, WatvatBalkhi, AnsuriBalkhi, Abo MasharBalkhi, Fatima Balkhi, ShaqiqBalkhi, KiqbadBalkhi, ProchistaBalkhi, RokhsanaBalkhi, AshiftaBakhtari, NabiMaskoon, WasifBakhtari, MarhomIshaq, and Ustad Abdul SamadJahid.
Media Outlets:
Media activities have witnessed surge in the Balkh Province as compared to the past, where 56 government, non-government, audio and printing media outlets are functional presently.
For the first time a daily Bidar was published when former king Amanullah Khan was ruling the country since 1921. This daily is still functioning in the province.
In addition to state-run national radio television broadcasting from capital Kabul in Balkh, 12 more televisions and 16 radios channels and 28 print media outlets were registered at the information and culture department since the Karzai administration. The television channels include Balkh national television, Arezo, Moher, Mahraban, Kam, Aefa, Safir, Almas, Rana, Asia, Arian-i-Balkh and Sitara of Sahar.
Moreover, Rabia-i-Balkhi, Nihad, Lahza, Nawbahar-i-Balkh, Sabz, Nasl-i-Naween, Pamir, Arizo, Sitara-i-Sahar, Bayan, Kalid, Moher, Rana radios and Balkh national radio are among the electronic media that are functioning in the province.
Meanwhile, Bidar, Yildoz, Asr-i-Naw, Balkh, Parcham-i-Azadi, Marif, Balkh-i-Imroz, Porkha, Pasarlai, Roshnayee, Yadgar, Ayaran-i-Balkh, Basharat, Irtaqai-i-Naween, OmidHamzesti, SadaiBano, SadaiAzadi, Iqab, Ba Yad-i-Haq, Shahardari and Itlat-i-Bazar are among the printing media outlets that are operating in the province.
In addition, a number of domestic and international media organizations, broadcast from Kabul include Shamshad, Tolo, Aryana, Zhwandon, Rah-i-Farda and Tamadon as domestic television channels and BBC, Azadi Radio as well as VOA Radio and television as an international media.
Despite having long academic and cultural history, more improvements have been made in education sector of Balkh Province since the beginning of President Hamid Karzai’s administration.
According to 2013, 504 figures, educational institutions, including teacher training colleges, institutes and literacy courses have been bolstered under the structure of the education department.
These institutions contained 10,199 teachers, including 5, 974 male and 4, 225 females. In addition 1,458 contract teachers are also hired to discharge their duties. On other hand, 540,178 students, including 311, 366 boys and 228, 812 girls are being imparting education in those institutions. On other hand, 59, 000 more students are newly-enrolled to the schools since the start of ongoing Afghan calendar year. 
Nearly, 20, 000 students, including 4,442 boys and 1,401 girls are getting education in literature, journalism, political science, medical, agriculture, economic, engineering, sharia law and computer science faculties of Balkh university.
Balkh province has special fame in terms of carpet weaving, as this industry get considerable improvement in Kaldar and Shortipa Districts of the province.
As many as 106 companies are functional in areas of carpet weaving and business, where about 20, 000 persons are working in this sector.
Some other industries such as coppersmith, embroidery and tailoring pushed by women are also operational in the province.
 Earlier, the use of caraculs, which is being produced from the skin of sheep was very common in the province. But now the business of caraculs skin is a little down and the custom of using caraculs hate is looking as deteriorated.
Carpentry industry also witnessed considerable development in the province, where the carpenters used modern machines in making doors and windows. In addition, similar other industries are also common in Balkh province. Although some ancient industries are at the verge of extinction in Balkh province, but the handicrafts had considerably enhanced among women.
Shadian is a special business market in Balkh province, where many women presented their handicrafts for selling.
Over the past decade, 252 factories, which are officially registered with government and thousands of unregistered factories, are functioning in the province.
But most of the factories produced food items such oil, beverages, biscuits and candy. A number of factories in the province are producing construction materials as well.
Despite deserving other values, Balkh is a rich province of the country because of natural resources. According to a survey recently carried out by Afghan government and ministry of mines, six mines of petroleum are detected in this province. In addition, other reserves of gas, salt, and others are also available in Balkh province.
Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital city of Balkh Province is among the major city in terms of commerce in the country, while existence of Hairatan Dry Port and Aqina border crossing given special importance to the city. Domestic goods such as dry fruits are exported and other commercial goods like oil is being imported through this province abroad. Meanwhile, $ 400 million has been invested by Afghan businessmen in Hairatan port, from where exporting goods are carried out through central Asia to European countries.
At least 70 percent of the populations of Balkh province are working in agriculture sector in order to meet their economic needs. Although this province comprised vast deserts, but many agriculture land remain uncultivated due to lack of water. The two rivers known as Sholgar and Balkh Aab have no adequate water to irrigate all agriculture lands in the province.
Agriculture lands in Balkh province needs 400 cubic meters water in each second, but the flowing rivers in Balkh Province can only provide 30 cubic meters water. As a result, 60 percent agriculture land in the province remained uncultivated each year. Many times, growers provide major cavities and use its water for irrigating their farms after the cavities were filled with rainy water. About, 180,000 acres of irrigating and 350,000 acres of rain-fed land are available in Balkh province.
Wheat, cotton, barleys, corn and rice are among the agriculture products, while grapes, water melon and raisin are among the famous fresh and dry fruits of the province. In addition, the gardens of apricots, plums, apples, almonds, peaches and mulberries are in abundant in the province. A number of other agriculture crops such as wheat, barleys, ban, corner, frank, gram, cauliflower, pepper, potato, onion, carrots, leek, squash, cucumber, paternal, turnip and tomato have also been cultivated in the province.   
Alongside domestic and local sports, new sports has been introduced and witnessed dramatic improvement in northern Balkh Province over the past decade, where girls have special interest in various sports.
A famous sport in this province is known as Buzkashi, which has a big stadium in north of Mazar-i-Sharif city and is being played during national days. In addition, various local sports are being played among youth in remote parts of the province.
Various others sports such as football, cricket, table tennis, volleyball, skit, boxing taekwondo, and body building are among other sports, which get progress in the province.
Girls, who live in Mazar-i-Sharif city, have more interest in playing table tennis, taekwondo, and skit sports.b