The Kunduz River valley dominates the Kunduz Province. The river flows irregularly from south to north into the Amu Darya river which forms the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. A newly constructed bridge crosses the Amu Darya at Sher Khan Bandar. The river, its tributaries, and derivative canals provide irrigation to the irrigated fields that dominate land usage in the agricultural province. There are also rain-fed fields and open range land that span several miles.
The area has been part of many empires in the past. It became part of the Afghan Durrani Empire in the mid-18th century. It saw major migration from Russian Turkestan in the north during the early 1920s. During the governance of Sher Khan Nasher, Kunduz became one of the wealthiest of Afghanistan's provinces, mainly due to Nasher's founding of the Spinzar Cotton Company, which continues to exist in post-war Afghanistan in the early 20th century.
Between one hundred and two-hundred thousand Tajiks and Uzbeks fled the conquest of their homeland by Russian Red Army and settled in northern Afghanistan.
During the war in Afghanistan Kunduz was captured by NATO forces. In November 2001, members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, along with Pakistani military personnel and Afghan sympathizers were airlifted to Pakistan to evade NATO capture in the Kunduz Airlift.
In 2008, more details emerged in Descent into Chaos by Ahmed Rashid:
One senior (U.S.) intelligence analyst told me, "The request was made by Musharraf to Bush, but Cheney took charge—a token of who was handling Musharraf at the time. The approval was not shared with anyone at State, including Colin Powell, until well after the event. Musharraf said Pakistan needed to save its dignity and its valued people. Two planes were involved, which made several sorties a night over several nights. They took off from air bases in Chitral and Gilgit in Pakistan's northern areas, and landed in Kunduz, where the evacuees were waiting on the tarmac. Certainly hundreds and perhaps as many as one thousand people escaped. Hundreds of ISI officers, Taliban commanders, and foot soldiers belonging to the IMU and al Qaeda personnel boarded the planes. What was sold as a minor extraction turned into a major air bridge. The frustrated US SOF who watched it from the surrounding high ground dubbed it "Operation Evil Airlift."
Another senior U.S. diplomat told me afterward, "Musharraf fooled us because after we gave approval, the ISI may have run a much bigger operation and got out more people. We just don't know. At the time nobody wanted to hurt Musharraf, and his prestige with the army was at stake. The real question is why Musharraf did not get his men out before. Clearly the ISI was running its own war against the Americans and did not want to leave Afghanistan until the last moment."
Germany has 4000 soldiers stationed in the NATO-ISAF Kunduz province Provincial Reconstruction Team, along with Regional Command North. The province was largely peaceful until Taliban militants started infiltrating the area in 2009.
On 4 September 2009 the German commander called in an American jetfighter, which attacked two NATO fuel trucks, which had been captured by insurgents. More than 90 people died, among them at least 40 civilians, who had gathered to collect fuel.
It was reported that on 21 November 2009 a bomb going off along the Takhar Kunduz highway killed a child and injured two others.
The governor, Mohammad Omar, was killed by a bomb on 8 October 2010.
On 10 February 2011, a suicide bomber killed a district governor and six other people in the district of Chardara in Kunduz Province, where the insurgency is well entrenched.
The current governor of Kunduz province is Asadullah Omarkhel. The city of Kunduz is the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are controlled by the Afghan National Police (ANP). The Kunduz border with neighboring Tajikistan is monitored and protected by the Afghan Border Police (ABP), which is part of the ANP. A provincial police chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and ABP. The police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by other Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including the NATO-led forces.
According to the News reports, on 28 September 2015, Afghan Taliban has captured the Kunduz province.
The province is served by Kunduz Airport which had regularly scheduled direct flights to Kabul as of May 2014. The Tajikistan–Afghanistan bridge at Panji Poyon connects the province to Tajikistan.
Agriculture and livestock husbandry are the primary occupations of the provinces residents. Fruit and vegetable are the most commonly farms items but there is also some cotton and sesame production. Farmers faced water shortages.
Men and women in Kunduz were employed in clothing production, metal working, carpentry and hide business.
The port of Sher Khan Bandar provides an international outlet for Kunduz's goods and has allowed for importing commercial goods from Asia, Middle East, and the Persian Gulf.
The percentage of households with clean drinking water fell from 25% in 2005 to 16% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 6% in 2005 to 22% in 2011.
The overall literacy rate (6+ years of age) fell from 33% in 2005 to 20% in 2011. The overall net enrolment rate (6–13 years of age) fell from 62% in 2005 to 50% in 2011.
Although a reliable census has not been carried out, the population of Kunduz province is estimated to be around 953,800. The province is multi ethnic and mostly rural. The ethnic groups that inhabit the province are as follows: Pashtun 34%; Uzbek 27%; Tajik 20%; Turkmen 9.4%; Arab 4.6%; and Hazara 3.5%; plus small groups of Pashayi, Baloch and Nuristani.
About 94% of the population practice Sunni Islam and 6% are followers of Shia Islam. The major languages spoken in the area are Dari, Pashto, and Uzbeki.
The province is represented in Afghan domestic cricket by the Kunduz Province cricket team. National player Mirwais Ashraf is from Kunduz and currently represents Afghanistan in international cricket.