Arghandab River

Orientation & Geography

Asia, Afghanistan, Helmand

Arghandab is a river in Afghanistan, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) in length. It rises in the Hazarajat country north-west of Ghazni, and flows south-west falls into the Helmand 30 km (20 miles) below Girishk. In its lower course it is much used for irrigation, and the valley is cultivated and populous; yet the water is said to be somewhat brackish. It is doubtful whether the ancient Arachotus is to be identified with the Arghandab or with its chief confluent the Tarnak, which joins it on the left out 50 km (30 miles) SW of Kandahar. The two rivers run nearly parallel. The Tarnak is much shorter (length about 320 km or 200 miles) and less copious. The ruins at Ulan Robat, supposed to represent the city Arachosia, are in its basin; and the lake known as Ab-i-Istada, the most probable representative of Lake Arachotus, is near the head of the Tarnak, though not communicating with it. The Tarnak is dammed for irrigation at intervals, and in the hot season almost dries up. There is a good deal of cultivation along the river, but few villages. The high road from Kabul to Kandahar passes this way (another reason for supposing the Tarnak to be Arachotus), and the people live off the road to avoid the onerous duties of hospitality. In 2008 a project was initiatated to rehabilitate the Dahla Dam, and associated irrigation system.