Tarin Kowt is the capital of Orūzgān (also written "Uruzgan") province in southern Afghanistan. It is a town of about 10,000 people, with some 200 small shops in the city's bazaar. There are no medium- or large-scale economic enterprises in the city. The provincial governor, currently Asadullah Hamdam, lives and works in a compound adjacent to the bazaar. There is also a population of about 2000 Arabs mainly of Iraqi origin in the town.
Tarin Kowt is isolated. Its only airstrip is on the military base of the NATO-ISAF-led Provincial Reconstruction Team, part of the Dutch Kamp Holland on the outskirts of the town. Tarin Kowt's only ground access to the outside is a road to the regional center of Kandahar to the south.
Kamp Holland began as FOB Ripley, named after U.S. Marine John Ripley. It was established by a Joint Task Force made up mainly of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (22ndMEU SOC), US Army Civil Affairs, and the Iowa National Guard Task Force 168 in May 2004. At the time, the region was believed to be the last major stronghold of the Taliban regime and Anti-Coalition Forces.
After the 22nd MEU SOC led Operation Mountain Storm, most of the Taliban forces moved to the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. As NATO's ISAF mission assumed responsibility for security in Afghanistan's south in 2006, the Dutch NATO troops took over FOB Ripley in August 2006, renaming it Kamp Holland.
In summer 2006, Canadian troops established Forward Operating Base (FOB) Martello along the Kandahar-Tarin Kowt road. The name is a reference to the type of military battlement known as a martello tower.
Beginning March 2007, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a road from Tarin Kowt westward to Dihrawud and then to Oshay, in the western areas of Oruzgan province. At the same time, the Corps of Engineers also started paving and bridge construction on the road to Kandahar.