Taleqan (or Taloqan) is the capital of Takhar Province, in northern Afghanistan. Its population is estimated as 196,400 in 2006.
The old city to the west on the riverside was described by Marco Polo in 1275 CE as:
- "a castle called Taikhan, where there is a great corn-market, and the country round is fine and fruitful. The hills that lie to the south of it are large and lofty. They all consist of white salt, extremely hard, with which the people for a distance of thirty days' journey round, come to provide themselves, for it is esteemed the purest that is found in the world. It is so hard, that it can be broken only with great iron hammers. The quantity is so great that all the countries of the earth might be supplied from thence.
Taleqan was the last major city to fall to the Taliban
, in January 2001, after a bloody siege which claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians. The capture of Teloqan by the Taliban also triggered a mass exodus in the population, with civilians fleeing towards Imam Sahib
and the Panjshir Valley
. Irregular Northern Alliance
fighters managed to stop the Taliban advance to the north and to the east of Taleqan, but weren't able to retake the city. When Taleqan was liberated in November 2001 by Northern Alliance fighters, a mass grave
containing the bodies of 70 women and children was found. Despite the fact that Taleqan lies in a conservative region, the Taliban regime was despised by the largely ethnic Tajik