The town was besieged from July 1983 to November 1987, during the nine-year Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Khost Airfield, with a 9,000-foot (2,700 m) runway, served as a base for Soviet military helicopter operations.
American forces have used the Khost Airfield since as early as at least January 2007 during the war which commenced in October 2001.
Khost is the home of Khost University. The inhabitants of area are Pashto-speaking ethnic Pashtuns. Khost Mosque serves as the main mosque in the city.
Khost is located about 150 kilometres south of Kabul and 100 kilometres southeast of Gardez, in Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan. The city lies on a plateau of minimally 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) altitude that extends to the East for about 40 kilometres (25 mi) until the Bannu Pakistan border. 30 km to the North the peaks start up to 2,500 to 3,000 metres (8,200 to 9,800 ft) right next to the frontier, while 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the South, near the border, the average is around 1,800 m. The valley of Khost is closed to the west with a long mountain chain with peaks that go over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). Through this runs for about 90 kilometres (56 mi) the road to Gardez, which is considered extremely dangerous due to the risk of ambush. So Taliban invaded Khost in 1995.
The capital of Khost province is Matoon. Khost has the following 12 district units.
- Dwa monda (shamal)
- Nadershah Kot
- Ismail khail and Mandozi
- Musa khail
- Zazi Maidan
- Sabari (Yaqubi)
- Ali Sher
Khost has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk though very close to qualifying as BSh). It is located in the "Khost Bowl", a valley with lower elevation than the surrounding highlands. Most unusually for Afghanistan, it receives a substantial proportion of its annual rainfall of 475 millimetres (19 in) from the South Asian monsoon because it is open to the southeast from which the moist winds come. Nonetheless, for a large proportion of the year Khost remains hot and dry, and in many years there is no significant rain during the summer. With a January average of 4.8 °C or 40.6 °F, winters are noticeably milder than the surrounding towns of Gardez, Urgun, and Sharana owing to Khost's lower elevation, though frosts are still frequent during the morning.
During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Khost was the object of a siege which lasted for more than eight years. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops, Afghan guerillas took control of the only land route between Khost and Gardez, effectively putting a stop to the Soviet advance.
During the assault on the Zhawar Kili Cave complex, the Soviets used the Khost Airfield as an initial staging ground to insert troops into the combat zone, using Mil Mi-8 armed helicopter transport ships.
Khost is a Provincial Center in eastern Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan. The eastern districts (1-3) are characterized by forests and residential land while the western districts(4-5) have more barren land with residential. There are also several waterways accounting for 5% of total land use.
Khost has been in American control since the 2001 US led invasion of Afghanistan. Due to its location in eastern Afghanistan, it was a hotbed for insurgent activity attempting to dislodge the American forces there. Like most other provinces, Khost is home to maneuver forces and a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). Maneuver forces wage war against insurgents and assist the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police in operations, while the PRT handles the reconstruction aspects.
In early 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Scottie Custer of the 82nd Airborne Division saw that the best way to limit insurgent activity in Khost was to forward-deploy some 187 paratroopers under his command to Force Protection Facilities in Khost's various district centers around sub-governors' mansions, to directly protect these, maintain a visible presence in population centers, and help mentor Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police units operating across Khost.
The FPFs brought a broader sense of security and prosperity to surrounding areas. Bazaars, shops, and gas stations have improved the quality of life for local residents. The Mandozai Force Protection Facilities in Khost include a medical clinic attached to further assist Afghans in need of basic medical assistance. The offices of Khost's various sub-governors had experienced increased activity as Afghans went there to settle disputes and voice concerns instead of going through traditional tribal channels and bribes, cutting down on sectarian suspicion and strife.
Throughout 2007 and 2008 roads had been improved, businesses were springing up and schools were being built, at least 50 in 2007 alone with another 25 planned for 2008. A new airport was under construction as the Khost Airfield was used by the US Military, creating new opportunities and jobs. The Provincial Reconstruction Team, led by CDR David Adams was instrumental in connecting the people to the government in Khost City, by ensuring the PRT was able to execute over $2.5 million under the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP) program.May 2009 battle
On May 12, 2009, several teams of armed militants stormed Khost, prompting a heavy 6-hour battle with US and Afghan National Army forces. Reportedly the attack involved 10 suicide bombers, of whom seven were able to detonate and three were shot by security forces. Coalition Forces, aided by the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, took the lead in repelling the attack.Attack on CIA base
On 30 December 2009, a suicide bomber attacked Forward Operating Base Chapman, a major CIA base in Khost, and killed seven CIA officers, including the chief of the base.
On 18 February 2011 a suicide car bomber targeted a police checkpoint and killed 11 people.
On 20 November 2009 a bomb killed 3 civilians and wounded 3 others as a car hit a roadside bomb in Khost City. According to the chief of criminal investigation the act was perpetrated by the Taliban.
On 24 November 2009, according to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, 6 people, including 5 children were killed when a remote control bomb attacked a water station in Khost which had been built by the Rural Rehabilitation Ministry to distribute water to the locals.
On 30 December 2009, a suicide attacker detonated explosives at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province near the Afghan border with Pakistan, killing eight American civilians and wounding others.
On 14 July 2011, according to a spokesman for the provincial government, NATO ground troops killed six civilians in a night raid of the village of Toora Worai, in an area known as Matoon, about seven kilometres from the Khost provincial capital of Khost city.
Cricket is growing in popularity in Khost, with the sport being introduced by newly returned refugees from Pakistan. Afghanistan batsman Noor Ali was born in Khost. Nawroz Mangal, the former captain of Afghanistan Cricket Team hails from Khost provinve . Dawlat Zadran, the Afghan Cricket paceman who grabbed two crucial wickets against Pakistan (in 1st International One Day against Full Member), is also from Khost. Apart from Cricket, Volleyball and Football are also popular in Khost.Khost City Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in the Khost City. The ground was inaugurated 2011.
The stadium costing more than one million dollars and the facility would help promote peace in region. The stadium was constructed in three years with financial support from the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee.
The stadium having race tracks, volleyball and basketball courts, as well as a cricket ground, the stadium has been constructed on 7.5 acres of land adding it had capacity for 18,000 spectators.
With growing popularity of cricket in this region, Khost now has two new stadiums, solely meant for cricket . One stadium has a private ownership and the other was inaugurated recently by Afghanisatan Cricket Board ; the inauguration also included an exhibitory match, that witnessed a record crowd in Afghanistan for any sport/game being played .