The district of Chora in the Baluchi valley the northern part of Uruzgan province has been the scene of bitter fighting between coalition and anti-government forces. Dutch and Australian forces based at Tarin Kowt have constructed a number of forward operating bases and combat out posts in the Baluchi valley and on the Dehrashun River. The main town is also called Chora (66°1’00” E, 32°50’50” N). FOB Mirvais is just outside the town. See also FOBs Khyber, Qudus, Locke, Mashal and Patrol Bases Atiq and Buman.


Chora district map, Afghanistan Information Management Services


Volksrant map of Chora FOBs

Caption: Locaties van de forward operating bases Khyber, Qudus, Mashal en Locke én van de White Compound in Chora (in het oord Ali Shirzai).
Source: De Volksrant, 17 January 2009

Chora valley - AIMS map

Chora Valley.
Source: Chora District, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, AIMS

Government sources

Analysis and commentary

Signs of life in valley of death, Peter Van Onselen, Australian 20 February 2010

The desert hills of Oruzgan are the area’s most imposing geographical feature. Cutting through the rugged hills are fertile fields approximately 20km long. That is Mirabad valley: Australian soldiers like to refer to it as the green zone. The fertility of the valley is not entirely of nature’s making. The local nomads have over hundreds, if not thousands, of years built a primitive but effective irrigation system to bring water to otherwise arid lands. In some places the valley is only 500m wide, making it easier to saturate the area with troops and thereby maintain security.

The positive results of the focus on the Mirabad valley are starting to emerge. Hocking says: “Our expansion east into Mirabad has been significant. Six months ago, you couldn’t walk through Mirabad valley east of Tarin Kowt and the people were under threat constantly by the Taliban. Now, I was patrolling the valley recently and people were smiling, people were happy. Slowly but surely we are gaining their support. We are starting to build schools in various areas, we are building bazaars where they can actually trade their goods ultimately; this is improving the lives of the people.”

However, security in the Baluchi valley has deteriorated. Locals are largely unwilling to engage with Australian soldiers, infrastructure development is extremely limited and no local leadership exists to help smooth relations between soldiers and townsfolk. Australian troops are regularly fired on by Taliban in the hills. Fortunately the shots are not particularly accurate and Australian snipers ensure the skirmishes are brief. But locals seen talking to coalition troops risk reprisals from the Taliban.

Diggers of Chora Defying the Danger, SMH, 2009-03-01

The convoy to Chora and the scene at the river crossing reveal glimpses of the perils and the complex human terrain confronting the Australians based in Tarin Kowt and a string of nearby smaller bases, such as the one at Chora, called Forward Operating Base Locke.

Most of the Australians in Afghanistan are commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Shane Gabriel, who insists his soldiers are increasingly “intruding on the insurgents’ space”. “The Tarin Kowt area is now a more secure area and we’ve been able to facilitate a lot more development activity,” he said. Referring to the Chora-Baluchi district, he said: “We’re now in there and we essentially own that valley.” But he added: “It’s still a high-threat environment.”

Battle of Chora, June 2007

Slag om Chora, Wikiepdia (Ned)

Dutch Troops in Chora, Afghanistan. June 2007

Battle of Chora, Wikipedia

Chora, and District Chora, Uruzgan weblog

The Battle of Chora on C-SPAN, 6 August 2007,

Two-part David Axe video report, available on YouTube. Unusual detail on Tarin Kowt and its surrounding region, Kamp Holland, Provincial Reconstruction Team Uruzgan, and the June 2007 battle at Chora north of Tarin Kowt between Dutch and Afghan forces and Taliban insurgents, leading to the deaths of several dozen Taliban and civilians, and two Dutch soldiers.  

Axeghanistan Day Eight: Dutch Battle Taliban, David Axe, Washington Times, 19 June 2007.

See also


9 June 2009