Kabul had completly changed since the Taliban's 2001 ouster. Kabul which was once a stop on the old hippy trail to India, was ruined by the wars in the region. The city has boomed in recent years, with endless new buildings being thrown up, fancy restaurants, busy bazaars and an air thick with the sound of mobile phones.
But scratch the surface and things aren't always so rosy – the infrastructure creaks, electricity and clean water remain an aspiration for too many, and the background thrum of security alerts and road barriers remind you that Kabul's path to reconstruction continues to be rocky. As an introduction to Afghanistan it's exciting, frustrating, inspiring and shocking in equal measure.
Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the country. Rapid urbanization made Kabul the world's 75th largest city.
Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush mountains, with an elevation of 1,790 metres (5,873 ft) making it one of the highest capitals in the world. The city is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire. Located at crossroads in Asia - roughly halfway between Istanbul in the west and Hanoi in the east - it is in a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia, and a key location of the ancient Silk Road.
It has been part of the Achaemenids followed by the Seleucids, Mauryans, Kushans, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarazmians, Qarlughids, Khaljis, Timurids, Mughals, and Hotaks, until finally becoming part of the Durrani Empire (also known as the "Afghan Empire") in 1747. Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan in 1776 during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.
In the early 19th century, the British occupied the city, but after establishing foreign relations, they were compelled to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan. The city was occupied by the Soviets in 1979 but they too abandoned it after the 1988 Geneva Accords were signed. A civil war in the 1990s between various rebel groups destroyed much of the city, resulting in many casualties. The city has been occupied by a coalition of forces including NATO members, since 2001.
On 15 August 2021, Kabul was again seized by Taliban fighters, becoming the thirty-third provincial capital to be captured by the Taliban as part of the wider 2021 Taliban offensive. With the capture of Kabul, Taliban resumed control over Afghanistan.
More cities in Cities in Afghanistan
Kabul- The eastern city serves as the largest city and the capital city of
Balkh - The ancient city in the northern part of Afghanistan
Bamiyan - The place where the famous Bamiyan Budha in rock was and was destroyed.
Ghazni - The south-east, the city between Kabul and Kandahar
Herat - The western city neighbouring Iran, has a strong Persian influence and several interesting historical sites
Jalalabad - The eastern city close to Pakistan located between Kabul and the Khyber Pass Pakistan
Qandhar- Oldest continuously inhabited city in the world , ancient name is mundigak (3000 B.C)
Kunduz - A major city in the northeast, and crossing point to Tajikistan
Mazar-e Sharif - home to the impressively tiled Blue Mosque, and the staging point for trips into Uzbekistan
Puli Khumri - an ancient city in the heart of Afghanistan