1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arghandab
|←Argenton||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2
|See also Arghandab River on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
ARGHANDAB, a river of Afghanistan, about 250 m. in length. It rises in the Hazara country north-west of Ghazni, and flowing south-west falls into the Helmund 20 m. below Girishk. Very little is known about its upper course. It is said to be shallow, and to run nearly dry in height of summer; but when its depth exceeds 3 ft. its great rapidity makes it a serious obstacle to travellers. 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 about 30 m. S.W. of Kandahar. The two rivers run nearly parallel, inclosing the backbone of the Ghilzai plateau. The Tarnak is much the shorter (length about 200 m.) and less copious. The ruins at Ulân Robât, supposed to represent the city Arachosia, are in its basin; and the lake known as Ab-i-Istâda, 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 exhausted. 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.