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Coordinates: 36°40′01″N 66°59′03″E / 36.667°N 66.9841°E / 36.667; 66.9841

U.S. troops patrolling the walls of Qala-i-Jangi in 2008.

Qala-i-Jangi (Dari/Pashto: قلعهِ جنگی) is a 19th-century fortress located near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. It is known for being the site of a bloody 2001 Taliban uprising named the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, in which at least 470 people were killed, including CIA agent Johnny "Mike" Spann. It served as Northern Alliance General Abdul Rashid Dostum's military garrison during the opening stages of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present).


The Afghans built the fort in 1889 for defense against potentially invading British after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. It took 18,000 workers 12 years to complete it.[1]

The Taliban occupied the fort for most of the time from 1994 to 2001. Abdul Rashid Dostum, of the Northern Alliance held the fort briefly in 1997, with 20,000 militia.[1]


In 2001, the fort was 600 yards (550 m) long, 300 yards (270 m) wide. It was constructed out of wooden beams, mud and straw. At each corner a mud tower rose 80 feet (24 m) high and 150 feet (46 m) across. Rainfall of 4 inches (100 mm) annually enabled the structure to avoid liquification.[1]

It was a walled city, divided evenly into northern and southern courtyards by an 80 feet (24 m) wall.[1]

It contained a gold-domed mosque, a 75 feet (23 m) square "Pink House," erected in the 1980s by the occupying Soviet Union, as a medical facility.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stanton, Doug (2018). 12 Strong (previously published as "Horse Soldiers". New York City: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-5011-7995-2.