Kandahar

Kandahar

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Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province
Kandahar Province
Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m (3,297 feet) above sea level. The Arghandab River
Arghandab River
Arghandab is a river in Afghanistan, about in length. It rises in the Hazarajat country north-west of Ghazni, and flows south-west falls into the Helmand below Girishk. In its lower course it is much used for irrigation, and the valley is cultivated and populous; yet the water is said to be...

 runs along the west of the city.

Kandahar is a major trading center for sheep, wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

, cotton, silk, felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

, food grain
Food grain
thumb|150px|Barleythumb|150px|LentilGrains are small, hard, dry seeds harvested for human food or animal feed Agronomists also call the plants producing such seeds grains or grain crops....

s, fresh and dried fruit
Dried fruit
Dried fruit is fruit where the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators. Dried fruit has a long tradition of use dating back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and is prized...

, and tobacco. The region produces fine fruits, especially pomegranates
Pomegranate production in Afghanistan
Pomegranate production in Afghanistan is a significant contributor to the Afghan agricultural economy. Pomegranates are a major fruit crop in many provinces such as Kandahar, Helmand, Wardak, Ghazni, Paktia, Farah, Kapisa and Balkh, and are the source of the livelihoods of thousands of...

 and grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit. Kandahar has an international airport and extensive road links with Farah
Farah, Afghanistan
Farah is a city in western Afghanistan, situated at 650 m altitude, and located on the Farah River. It is the capital of Farah Province, and has a population of approximately 109,409....

 and Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 to the west, Ghazni
Ghazni
For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni ProvinceGhazni is a city in central-east Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people...

 and Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 to the northeast, Tareen Kot
Tarin Kowt
Tarinkot or Tarin Kowt is the capital of Orūzgān province in southern Afghanistan in Tarin Kowt District. It is a town of about 10,000 people, with some 200 small shops in the city's bazaar...

 to the north, and Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

 in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to the south.

The region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far. Alexander the Great founded Kandahar in the 4th century BC and named it with the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 name Αλεξάνδρεια Aραχωσίας . Many empires have long fought over the city due to its strategic location along the trade routes of southern, central
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and western Asia. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the first capital of the Hotaki dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

, founder of the last Afghan empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

, made it the capital of modern Afghanistan.

Since the Marxist revolution
Saur Revolution
The Saur Revolution is the name given to the Communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan takeover of political power from the government of Afghanistan on 28 April 1978. The word 'Saur', i.e...

 in 1978, the city has been a target of anti-Afghanistan forces such as the Pakistan-based Haqqani network
Haqqani network
The Haqqani Network is an insurgent group fighting against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. Originating from Afghanistan during the mid-1970s, it was nurtured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence during the 1980s Soviet war in...

, Quetta Shura
Quetta Shura
The Quetta Shura is a militant organization composed of top leadership of the Afghan Taliban, that is believed to be based since about 2001 in the city of Quetta in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The Shura was formed after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was toppled in late 2001 and the...

, Hezbi Islami
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
The Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin is an Afghan islamist political party.The original Hezb-e-Islami was founded in 1977 by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is now the head of HIG. The other faction is headed by Mulavi Younas Khalis who split with Hekmatyar and established his own Hezbi Islami in 1979...

, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, who are supported and guided by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI) spy network. From late 1994 to 2001, it served as the capital of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

 (Taliban regime). While the Afghan government
Politics of Afghanistan
The politics of Afghanistan consists of the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly, with a president serving as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the military. The nation is currently led by the Karzai administration under President Hamid Karzai who is backed by two vice...

 tries to rebuild the war-torn city, these anti-Afghanistan forces are planning more attacks in which majority of their victims are ordinary poor Afghan civilians.

Name



It is believed that Kandahar may have derived from Alexandria
Alexandria (disambiguation)
Alexandria is a city in Egypt.Alexandria may also refer to- Alexandrias founded or renamed by Alexander the Great :* Iskandariya, Iraq* Alexandria Asiana, Iran* Alexandria Ariana, Afghanistan* Alexandria Bucephalous, Pakistan, on the Jhelum...

 (Iskandariya in various local languages) or Alexandropolis, one of the many cities renamed by Alexander the Great after himself. A temple to the deified Alexander as well as an inscription in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and Aramaic by the Indian Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

, who lived a few decades later, have been discovered in Kandahar.

An alternative etymology derives the name of the city from Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

, the name of an ancient Hindu kingdom from the Vedic period and its capital city located between the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 and Sulaiman Mountains
Sulaiman Mountains
The Sulaiman Mountains are a major geological feature of southeastern Afghanistan and northern Balochistan province of Pakistan. In Pakistan, it forms the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau where the Indus River separates it from the Asian Subcontient...

 (basically identical to the modern extent of the Pashtun-inhabited territories in Pakistan and Afghanistan), although Kandahar in modern times and the ancient Gandhara are not geographically identical but are far away from each other.

Another etymology offered is that the word "kand" or "qand" in Persian and Pashto (the local languages) means "candy
Candy
Candy, specifically sugar candy, is a confection made from a concentrated solution of sugar in water, to which flavorings and colorants are added...

", and "har" means necklace. The name of the city (قند هار/Qandahar) in this form translates to "candy-necklace". The ق is not an actual Persian alphabet, but in Turkish languages (especially in Uzbeki) the <> means "candy" and <> means "river", and < is extraction an of <>, therefore, "Qandahar" becomes "river of candy". And the ancient word Gandh derived from Gandhar also means a sweet nice smell. This probably has to do with the city being known for producing fine grapes, pomegranates, apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

s, melons and other sweet fruits.

A fourth etymology derives the name of the city as combination of two PIE
Pie
A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

 words, even used in Indo-Pakistan now by nomadic Bagga
Bagga
Bagga are Punjabi people found in Punjab and Punjab . Baggas are normally found among Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus.Baggas belong to the Khatri, Brahmins, Ravidasias and Jats tribes, warrior and farmer professions respectively from North Indian subcontinent of Punjab....

 and Sansi
Sansi
Sansi is a nomadic tribe originally located in the Rajasthan area of northwestern India, but expelled in the 13th century by Muslim invaders and now living in states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab as well as scattered throughout India.Their language is Sansiboli, Sansi or Bhilki that is a highly...

 tribes, kand = wall and har = mountain or stone leading to understand a city made of stones or fortress with stone wall.

Yet a fifth etymology derives the name of the city from the name of the Indo-Parthian King Gondophares
Gondophares
Gondophares I a Seistani representative of the house of Suren as well as founder and first king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom. He seems to have ruled c...

: he founded it under the name Gundopharron.

Prehistory



Excavations of prehistoric sites by archealogists such as Louis Dupree
Louis Dupree (professor)
Professor Louis Duprée was an American archaeologist, anthropologist, and scholar of Afghan culture and history. He was the husband of Nancy Hatch Duprée, who is the Board Director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University in Afghanistan and author of five books about Afghanistan...

 and others suggest that the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far.

Hellenistic era



Kandahar was founded in 330 BC by Alexander the Great, near the site of the ancient city of Mundigak
Mundigak
Mundigak, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is an archaeological site in Kandahar province in Afghanistan. It's situated c. 55 km northwest of Kandahar near Shāh Maqsūd, on the upper drainage of the Kushk-i Nakhud River....

 (established around 3000 BC). Previously, the city was the provincial capital of Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

 and was ruled by the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

. The main inhabitants of Arachosia were the Pactyans
Pakthas
For the present-day Afghan provinces of , see Paktia Province, Paktika Province and Khost Province.Pakthas are an ancient people, that find reference in Sanskrit and Greek sources and as a people living in the areas now in Afghanistan, as well as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan...

, an ancient Iranian tribe, who may be among the ancestors of today's Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

. Kandahar was named Alexandria
Alexandria in Arachosia
Alexandria in Arachosia was a city in ancient times that is now called Kandahar in Afghanistan. It was one of the seventy-plus cities founded or renamed by Alexander the Great. Arachosia is the Greek name of an ancient province of the Achaemenid, Seleucid and Parthian empires...

, a popular name given to many cities that Alexander found during his conquests.

The city has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia, controlling the main trade route linking the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 with the Middle East, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. It later became part of the Indian Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

, after the departure of Alexander. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

 erected a pillar there with a bilingual inscription in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Aramaic. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC...

 occupied Kandahar after the Mauryans, but then lost the city to the Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians is a term used to refer to Sakas , who migrated into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE....

.

Islamization and Mongol invasion


In the 7th century AD, Arab armies
Islamic conquest of Afghanistan
The Islamic conquest of Afghanistan began in the middle of the 7th century after the Islamic conquest of Persia was completed, when Arab Muslims defeated the Sassanid Empire at the battles of Walaja, al-Qādisiyyah and Nahavand. The Muslim Arabs then began to move towards the lands east of Persia...

 conquered the region with the new religion of Islam but were unable to succeed in fully converting the population. In 870 AD, Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, a local ruler of the Saffarid dynasty conquered Kandahar and the rest of the nearby regions in the name of Islam.

It is believed that the Zunbil dynasty
Zunbils
Zunbils were a dynasty in what is now eastern Afghanistan, related to their contemporaries, the Shahis.-History:-Saffarid and Zunbil Struggles:...

, who were related to the Shahi dynasty of Kabul, were probably the rulers of the Kandahar region from the 7th century until the late 9th century AD.

Kandahar was taken by Sultan Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

 of Ghazni
Ghazni
For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni ProvinceGhazni is a city in central-east Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people...

 in the 11th century followed by the Ghurids
Ghurids
The Ghurids or Ghorids were a medieval Muslim dynasty of Iranian origin that ruled during the 12th and 13th centuries in Khorasan. At its zenith, their empire, centred at Ghōr , stretched over an area that included the whole of modern Afghanistan, the eastern parts of Iran and the northern section...

 of Ghor, and in the 13th century it was invaded by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 and his Mongol
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 armies. It became part of the Timurid Empire from the 14th century to the 15th century, which was founded by Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 (Tamerlane). Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad was a grandson and appointed successor of Timur. He was the son of Jahangir.In 1392 he received the governorship of Qandahar. His territory extended from the lands west of the Hindu Kush to the Indus River...

, a grandson of Tamerlane, held the seat of government in Kandahar from about 1383 until his death in 1407. Following his death, the city was ruled by other Timurids. In the late 15th century Kandahar was entrusted to the Arghuns
Arghun Dynasty
The Arghun Dynasty was a dynasty of either Mongol, Turkish or Turko-Mongol ethnicity that ruled parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and would later be focused around the region of Sindh in south east Pakistan for most of the 16th century...

, who eventually achieved independence from the Timurids.

Tamerlane's descendant, Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

, the founder of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, annexed Kandahar in the 16th century. Babur's son, Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, lost it to the Shi'a
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 Safavids
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 of Persia. Humayun's son, Akbar, regained control of Kandahar in 1638 but lost the city permanently to the Safavid Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 during the 1649-53 Mughal–Safavid War
Mughal–Safavid War (1649–1653)
The Mughal–Safavid War of 1649-1653 was fought between the Mughal and Safavid Empires in the territory of modern Afghanistan. The war started after a Persian army, while the Mughals were at war with the Janid Uzbeks, captured the fortress city of Kandahar and other strategic cities that controlled...

.

Modern history


Mirwais Hotak, an Afghan
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 leader from the Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

 tribe, revolted in 1709 by killing Gurgin Khan
George XI of Kartli
George XI was a Georgian monarch who ruled Eastern Georgia from 1676 to 1688 and again from 1703 to 1709. He is best known for his struggle against the Safavid Persia which dominated his weakened kingdom. Being an Eastern Orthodox Christian, he converted to Islam prior to his appointment as...

, an ethnic Georgian
Georgian people
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 and governor for the Shia Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 Persians. After establishing the Hotaki dynasty in Kandahar, Mirwais and his army successfully defeated subsequent expeditions by Kay Khusraw
Kaikhosro of Kartli
Kaikhosro , of the House of Bagrationi, was a king of Kartli, eastern Georgia, from 1709 to 1711...

 and Rustam Khán. Mirwais resisted attempts by the Persian government who were seeking to convert the Afghans from Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 to the Shia sect of Islam. He died of a natural death in November 1715 and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz
Abdul Aziz Hotak
Abdul Aziz Hotak , was the second ruler of the Ghilzai Hotaki dynasty of Kandahar, in what is now the modern state of Afghanistan. He was crowned in 1715 after the death of his brother, Mirwais Hotak. He is the father of Ashraf Hotaki, the fourth ruler of the Hotaki dynasty...

, but after being suspected of giving Kandahar's sovereignty back to the Persians he was killed by his nephew Mahmud Hotaki.

In 1722, Mahmud led an army of Afghans to Isfahan, the capital of the Safavids and proclaimed himself King of Persia. The Hotaki dynasty was eventually removed from power by a new ruler, Nader Shah
Nader Shah
Nāder Shāh Afshār ruled as Shah of Iran and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. Because of his military genius, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander...

 Afshar
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

 of Mashad in Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, who invaded Kandahar in 1738 and destroyed their last stronghold which was held by Hussain Hotaki. Expelling the surviving inhabitant, Nader Shah built a new town west of the ancient city, naming it after himself, "Naderabad". In the meantime, he freed Ahmad Khan
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 (later Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

) and his brother Zulfikar who were held prisoners by the Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

 Hotaks. Nader Shah's rule ended in June 1747, after being murdered by his Persian guards.

Ahmad Shah Durrani, chief of the Abdali
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

 Pashtun tribe, gained control of Kandahar and made it the capital of his new Afghan Empire
Durrani Empire
The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

 in October 1747. Previously, Ahmad Shah served as a military commander of Nader Shah Afshar. His empire included present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, northeastern Iran, and the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 of India. In October 1772, Ahmad Shah retired in Kandahar and died from a natural cause. The now "Old City" was laid out by Ahmad Shah and is dominated by his mausoleum, which is adjacent to the Friday Mosque
Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed
The Shrine of the Cloak is located adjacent to the Friday Mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It contains a cloak that was once worn by Islam's Prophet Muhammad, which is widely considered as one of the holiest Islamic sites in Afghanistan, and even considered by some as the "heart of Afghanistan".The...

 in the center of the city. Between 1773–76, his eldest son Timur Shah
Timur Shah Durrani
Timur Shah Durrani , was the second ruler of the Durrani Empire from October 16, 1772, until his death in 1793. An ethnic Pashtun, he was the second and eldest son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.- Early life :...

 transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul, where the Durrani
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

 legacy continued.

On 28th Muharram
Muharram
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited...

 1242 Hijri (2 September 1826) Syed Ahmad Shaheed
Syed Ahmad Shaheed
Not to be confused with Ahmed Raza Khan BarelviSyed Ahmad Shaheed , also called Syed Ahmed Barelvi, was a Muslim activist from Rae Bareli, India. and founder of the "The Way of the Prophet Muhammad" , a revolutionary Islamic movement...

's forces reached Kandahar en route to Peshawar. Their purpose was to wage jihad against the Sikh
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 kingdom of Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.-Early life:...

 and aid their fellow Pashtuns and coreligionist in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Within a few days more than 400 Kandharians presented themselves for the jihad, out of whom 270 were selected. Sayed Deen Muhammad Kandharai was appointed their leader.

British and Indian
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 forces from British India occupied the city in 1839, during the first Anglo-Afghan war
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst...

. They were forced to withdraw approximately three years later, in 1842. The British and Indian forces returned in 1878 during the second Anglo-Afghan war
Second Anglo-Afghan War
The Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the nation was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended in a manner...

. They emerged from the city in July 1880 to confront Ayub Khan, but were defeated at the Battle of Maiwand
Battle of Maiwand
The Battle of Maiwand in 1880 was one of the principal battles of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Under the leadership of Malalai Anaa, the legendary woman of Afghanistan, the Afghan followers of Ayub Khan defeated the British Army in one of the rare nineteenth-century victories of an Asian force...

. They were again forced to withdraw a few years later, despite winning a battle near the city (see Battle of Kandahar
Battle of Kandahar
The Battle of Kandahar, 1 September 1880, was the last major conflict of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The battle in southern Afghanistan was fought between the British forces under command of General Roberts and the Afghan forces led by Ayub Khan, inflicting nearly 3,000 casualties in...

). Kandahar remained peaceful for the next 100 years, except during 1929 when forces loyal to Habibullah Kalakani (Bache Saqqaw) locked down the city. Nobody was allowed to enter or leave from within the city's tall defensive walls, and as a result of this many people suffered after running out of food supplies. This period lasted for nine months, until October 1929 when Nadir Khan
Mohammed Nadir Shah
Mohammed Nadir Shah was King of Afghanistan from 15 October 1929 until his assassination in 1933. Previously, he served as Minister of War, Afghan Ambassador to France, and as a general in the military of Afghanistan...

 and his army came to eliminate Habibullah Kalakani.

In the 1960s, during the competition between the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Kandahar International Airport was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 next to the city. The U.S. also completed several other major projects in Kandahar and in other parts of southern Afghanistan. In the meantime, Soviet engineers were busy building major infrastructures in the north of the country, such as Bagram Airfield and Kabul International Airport
Kabul International Airport
-Facilities:The airport has two terminal buildings, the modern for international flights and the Soviet built one for domestic flights. Several hangars along the runway are for military aircraft...

.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 (1979–1989), Kandahar was under Soviet command and witnessed heavy fighting. Soviet troops surrounded the city and subjected it to heavy bombardment in which many civilians lost lives. Kandahar Airport was used by the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 during their ten-year occupation of the country. After the Soviet withdrawal and the collapse of Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

's government in 1992, Kandahar fell into the hands of a local mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 commander, Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai is the current Governor of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in the early 1990s and from 2001 until 2003.-Biography:...

.

In August 1994 the Taliban captured Kandahar and soon after the city was turned into their capital. The Taliban began cleaning the city from warlords and criminals who were sometimes involved in bacha bazi. In December 1999, a hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 24, 1999, when it was hijacked...

 plane by Pakistani militants loyal to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 landed at Kandahar Airport and kept the passengers hostage as part of a demand to release 3 Pakistani militants held in Indian custody.

In October 2001, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 began hitting targets inside the city by precision-guided
Precision-guided munition
A precision-guided munition is a guided munition intended to precisely hit a specific target, and to minimize damage to things other than the target....

 cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s that were fired from the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. These targets were the airport and buildings that were occupied by the Taliban, including Arab
History of Arabs in Afghanistan
The history of Arabs in Afghanistan spans over one millennium, from the 7th century Islamic conquest when Arab ghazis arrived with their Islamic mission until recently when others from the Arab world arrived to defend fellow Muslims from the Soviet followed by their liberation by NATO forces...

 families who had arrived several years earlier and were residing in the area. About a month later, the Taliban began surrendering in mass numbers to a private militia that had been formed by Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai
Gul Agha Sherzai is the current Governor of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in the early 1990s and from 2001 until 2003.-Biography:...

 and Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

. Kandahar once again fell into the hands of Sherzai, who had control over the area before the rise of the Taliban. He was transferred in 2003 and replaced by Yousef Pashtun
Yousef Pashtun
Mohammad Yousef Pashtun is the Minister of Urban Development and Housing for Afghanistan. He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in 2003 replacing Gul Agha Sherzai.-Biography:...

 until Asadullah Khalid took the post in 2005. The current Governor of the province is Toryalai Wesa. He was appointed by President Hamid Karzai in December 2008 after Rahmatullah Raufi
Rahmatullah Raufi
Major General Rahmatullah Raufi is a former governor of Kandahar from August 2008 until he was sacked on December 4, 2008. Before that he was a senior military commander of the Afghan National Army presently commanding the 205th Corps, which is responsible for Afghanistan's restive southern provinces...

's four month rule. As of 2001, Kandahar Airport is used by U.S.
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 and NATO forces as one of their major military bases.

The Afghan National Police
Afghan National Police
The Afghan National Police - ANP - is the primary national police force in Afghanistan. It serves as a single law enforcement agency all across the country. The Afghan police force was first created with the establishment of the Afghan nation in the early 18th century...

 are in control of the basic law and order situation in the city. The military of Afghanistan
Military of Afghanistan
The military of Afghanistan is composed of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Army Air Force . Being a landlocked country, Afghanistan has no navy, and the private security forces who are sometimes seen wearing military uniforms are not part of Afghanistan's military...

, supported by US-NATO forces, has gradually expanded its authority and presence throughout most of the country. The 205th Corps
205th Corps (Afghanistan)
The 205th 'Atul' Corps is a corps-level formation of the Afghan National Army since 2004. The establishment of the corps started when the first commander, Gul Aqa Nahib, and some of his staff were appointed on September 1, 2004. The corps was officially established in Kandahar on September 19, 2004...

 of the Afghan National Army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 has a base at Kandahar and provides military assistance to the south of the country. The Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 maintain their military command headquarters at Kandahar, heading the Regional Command South
Regional Command South
Regional Command is a multinational military formation, part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. It is responsible for provincial reconstruction and security in Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, Qalat and Tarin Kowt. The Command also has responsibility for the provinces of Nimruz...

 of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 in Kandahar Province
Kandahar Province
Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

. The Taliban also have spies inside the city reporting on events.

In recent years the Canadian and U.S. forces are rushing to quickly expand the Afghan police force for the prevention of a Taliban comeback in Kandahar, the militants' "spiritual birthplace" and a strategic key to ward off the Taliban insurgency
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

, as a part of a larger effort that also aimed to deliver services such as electricity and clean drinking water that the Taliban could not provide – encouraging support for the government in a city that was once the Taliban's headquarters. The most significant battle between NATO troops and the Taliban lasted throughout the summer of 2006, culminating in Operation Medusa
Operation Medusa
Operation Medusa was a Canadian-led offensive by major elements of the International Security Assistance Force, Afghan National Army and an A-Team from the 3rd Special Forces Group, as part of the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It aimed to establish government control over an area of Kandahar...

. The Taliban failed to defeat the Western troops in open warfare, which marked a turn in their tactics towards IED
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

 emplacement. In June 2008, it was reported that over 1,000 inmates had escaped from Kandahar detention facility (Sarposa Prison) after a Taliban attack. In Spring 2010, the province and the city of Kandahar became a target of American operations following Operation Moshtarak
Operation Moshtarak
Operation Moshtarak was an ISAF pacification offensive in the area that is described as the "poppy-growing belt" of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. The combat operations started on February 13, 2010, and focuses on the Nad Ali District and Lashkar Gah district...

in the neighboring Helmand province
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

. In March 2010, U.S. and NATO commanders released details of plans for the biggest offensive of the war against the Taliban insurgency.

In May 2010 Kandahar International Airport became subject of a combined rocket and ground attack by insurgents, following similar attacks on Kabul and Bagram in the preceding weeks. Although this attack did not lead to many casualties on the side of NATO forces, it did show that the militants are still capable of launching multiple, coordinated operations in Afghanistan. In June 2010, a shura
Shura
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision....

 was held by Afghan President Hamid Karzai with tribal and religious leaders of the Kandahar region. The meeting highlighted the need for support of NATO-led forces in order to stabilize parts of the province.

By 2011, Kandahar became known as the assassination city of Afghanistan after witnessing many target killings. In July Ahmed Wali Karzai
Ahmed Wali Karzai
Ahmed Wali Karzai was a prominent politician in Afghanistan and the younger paternal half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and son of Abdul Ahad Karzai. As an elder of the Popalzai Pashtun tribe, he was elected to the Kandahar Provincial Council in 2005 and served as its chairman. Karzai...

, brother of President Hamid Karzai, was shot by his long time head of security. Soon after the Quetta Shura
Quetta Shura
The Quetta Shura is a militant organization composed of top leadership of the Afghan Taliban, that is believed to be based since about 2001 in the city of Quetta in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The Shura was formed after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was toppled in late 2001 and the...

 of the Taliban claimed responsibility. The next day an Islamic cleric (mulla) of the famous Red Mosque in the Shahr-e Naw area of the city and a number of other people were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber who had hidden explosives inside his turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

. On 27 July 2011, the mayor of the city, Ghulam Haider Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hamidi was mayor of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Hamidi moved to Pakistan and spent a brief time in this US, he returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban regime was overthrown. He was killed in a suicide bombing on 27 July 2011.-Reference:...

, was assassinated by another Taliban militant who had hidden explosives in his turban. Two deputy mayor
Deputy Mayor
Deputy mayor is an elective or appointive office of the second-ranking official in many local governments. Many elected deputy mayors are members of the city council who are given the title and serve as acting mayor in the mayor's absence...

s had been killed in 2010, while many tribal elders and Islamic clerics have also been assassinated in the last several years. NATO commanders often blame Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI) spy network as the masterminds behind the Taliban-led insurgency. This form of terrorism is the idea of ISI to defend its sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

. The ISI is using the insurgents in the name of Islamic jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 to counter the growing influence of its rival India in Afghanistan and the Afghan claim regarding the disputed
Controversy
Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus , hence, "to turn...

 Durand Line
Durand Line
The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...

 border. The overwhelming majority of the victims in the attacks are ordinary Afghan civilians.

Climate


Kandahar has a continental warm arid climate (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSh), characterised by little precipitation and high variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summers start in mid-May, last until late-September, and are extremely dry. Temperatures peak in July with a 24-hour daily average of around 31.9 °C (89.4 °F). They are followed by dry autumns from early-October to late-November, with days still averaging in the 20s °C (above 68 °F) into November, though nights are sharply cooler. Winter begins in December and sees most of its precipitation in the form of rain. Temperatures average 5.1 °C (41.2 °F) in January, although lows can drop well below freezing. They end in early-March and are followed by a pleasant spring till late-April with temperatures generally in the upper 10s °C to lower 30s °C (65–88 °F) range. Sunny weather dominates year-round, especially in summer, when rainfall is extremely rare. The annual mean temperature is 18.6 °C (65.5 °F).

Transport




Kandahar International Airport serves as the region's main airport for domestic and international flights. It is also used as a major military base as well as shipping and receiving of supplies for the NATO armies. The entire area in and around the airport is heavily guarded but a section is designated for civilian passengers. Most international flights are with Dubai and Pakistan.

A railroad track from the Pakistani town of Chaman
Chaman
Chaman is the capital of Qilla Abdullah District, Balochistan, Pakistan. It is situated just south of the border with Afghanistan. Across the border in Afghanistan is the neighbouring town of Spin Boldak, in Kandahar Province...

 to Kandahar is under way, which will connect Afghan Railways
Rail transport in Afghanistan
Railways were planned in Afghanistan since the 19th century but never completed due to the Great Game between the Russian and British empires followed by the Soviets and the Americans. At least one rail track was built in the capital of Kabul during the 1920s but was dismantled as Afghan leaders...

 with Pakistan Railways
Pakistan Railways
This article is about the rail company in Pakistan. For technical details and operations see: Transport in Pakistan.Pakistan Railways is a national state-owned rail transport service of Pakistan, head-quartered in Lahore. It is administered by the federal government under the Ministry of Railways....

. The feasibility study
Feasibility study
Feasibility studies aim to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and threats as presented by the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately the prospects for success. In its simplest...

 was completed in 2006, allowing for the next step to lay-down the rail track.

Kandahar is connected to Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 by the Kabul-Kandahar Highway
Kabul-Kandahar highway
The Kabul-Kandahar Highway is a road linking Afghanistan's two largest cities, Kabul and Kandahar. This highway is a key portion of Afghanistan's national road system or "Ring Road"...

 and to Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 by the Kandahar-Herat Highway
Kandahar-Herat Highway
The Kandahar-Herat Highway is road that links the cities of Kandahar and Herat in Afghanistan. This highway is part of a larger road network, the "Ring Road", and was first constructed by the Soviets in the 1960s....

. There is a bus station located at the start of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, where a number of private Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz buses
Mercedes-Benz has been making buses since 1895 in Mannheim in Germany. Since 1995, the brand of Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches is under the umbrella of EvoBus GmbH, belonging 100 % to the Daimler AG.-Heritage:...

 coach buses are available to take passengers to most major cities of the country. Kandahar is also connected by road to Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

 in neighboring Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Due to the ongoing war the route to Kabul has become increasingly dangerous as insurgent attacks on convoys and destruction of bridges make it an unreliable link between the two cities.

Commuters of the city use the public bus system (Milli Bus
Milli Bus
Millie Bus is a government-run bus line which runs in numerous locations in Afghanistan. As of 2003, the line is managed by the Afghan Ministry of Transportation, though proposals have been made to privatise the line....

), and taxicabs and rickshaws
Auto rickshaw
An auto rickshaw or three-wheeler is a usually three-wheeled cabin cycle for private use and as a vehicle for hire. It is a motorized version of the traditional pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw...

 are common. Private vehicle use is increasing, partially due to road and highway improvements. Large dealerships are importing cars from Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, UAE.

Education




The city has public schools in every district for both boys and girls. However, many conservative parents do not allow girls in their family to attend high school or pursue higher education. The two known schools are Ahmad Shah Baba Lycée and Zarghoona Anna Lycée, and the main university is and Kandahar University
Kandahar University
Kandahar University is a government funded higher learning institution in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It is one of two universities in southern Afghanistan. Kandahar University was established in 1990, at a time when the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was in power under President Mohammad...

.

Communications



Telecommunication services in the city are provided by Afghan Wireless
Afghan Wireless
Afghan Wireless is a cellular network provider in Afghanistan which was launched on 13 November 2002 by Ehsan Bayat. It is a joint venture business between Telephone Systems International in the United States and the Afghan Ministry of Communications. Afghan Wireless signed a 15 year-contract with...

, Roshan, Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

, MTN Group and Afghan Telecom
Afghan Telecom
Afghan Telecom is a telecom company offering fixed line, wireless voice and data services under a 25 year license in Afghanistan. The company was previously government owned and operated until 2005 when the Afghan Ministry of Communications spun it off into a private entity. In 2008, investors are...

. In November 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 million agreement with ZTE
ZTE
ZTE Corporation formerly Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company headquartered in Shenzhen, China...

 for the establishment of a countrywide fiber optical cable network. This was intended to improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services not just in Kandahar but throughout the country.

Besides foreign channels, Afghanistan's local television channels include:
  • Ariana TV
  • Ariana Afghanistan TV
    Ariana Afghanistan TV
    Ariana Afghanistan TV, shortened AATV, is a satellite television channel based in Irvine, California, USA, with branches in Hamburg, Germany, and Kabul, Afghanistan. It was launched in 2006, and is owned by Nabil Miskinyar. Since its launch till 2009, it was based in Orange, California.News is...

  • Lamar TV
  • Shamshad TV
    Shamshad TV
    Shamshad TV is a satellite television station in Afghanistan, which was launched in early 2006. The channel broadcasts 18 hours a day, providing educational, news, shows, dramas, and entertaining programs to both local areas of Afghanistan as well as other countries via satellite.Shamshad TV...

  • Tolo TV
    Tolo TV
    Tolo TV , is a television station, being one of the first commercial ones to operate in Afghanistan. Launched in October 2004 by MOBY Group, it laid the foundations for an accessible media outlet offering a big library of shows...

  • Hewad TV
    Hewad TV
    Hewad TV is a private television station based in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The channel broadcasts news, shows, and entertainment programs to certain parts of the country. It may expand coverage in the future as communications in Afghanistan are rapidly growing.-See also:* List of television channels...


Places of interest



The tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 is located in the city center, which also houses Durrani's brass helmet and other personal items. In front of Durrani's mausoleum is the Shrine of the Cloak, containing one of the most valued relics in the Islamic world, which was given by the Emir of Bokhara (Murad Beg) to Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Sacred Cloak is kept locked away, taken out only at times of great crisis. Mullah Omar
Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar , often simply called Mullah Omar, is the leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council"...

 took it out in November 1996 and displayed it to a crowd of ulema of religious scholars to have himself declared Amir al-Mu'minin (Commander of the Faithful). Prior to that it was taken out when the city was struck by a cholera epidemic in the 1930s.

The village of Sher Surkh is located southeast of the city, in the suburbs of the old city of Nadirabad. Kandahar Museum is located at the western end of the third block of buildings lining the main road east of Eidgah Durwaza (gate). It has many paintings by the now famous Ghiyassuddin, painted while he was a young teacher in Kandahar. He is acknowledged among Afghanistan’s leading artists.

Just to the north of the city, off its northeast corner at the end of buria (matting) bazaar, there is a shrine dedicated to a saint who lived in Kandahar more than 300 years ago. The grave of Hazratji Baba, 23 feet (7 m) long to signify his greatness, but otherwise covered solely by rock chips, is undecorated save for tall pennants at its head. A monument to Islamic martyrs stands in the center of Kandahar's main square, called Da Shahidanu Chawk, which was built in the 1940s.

The Chilzina is a rock-cut chamber above the plain at the end of the rugged chain of mountains forming the western defence of Kandahar’s Old City. Forty steps, about, lead to the chamber which is guarded by two chained lions, defaced, and inscribed with an account of Moghul conquest. The rugged cliffs from which the Chilzina was hewn form the natural western bastion of the Old City of Kandahar which was destroyed in 1738 by Nadir Shah Afshar of Persia.

A short distance from Chilzina, going west on the main highway, a bright blue dome appears on the right. This is the mausoleum of Mirwais Hotak, the Ghilzai chieftain who declared Kandahar's independence from the Persians in 1709. The shrine of Baba Wali, its terraces shaded by pomegranate groves beside the Arghandab River
Arghandab River
Arghandab is a river in Afghanistan, about in length. It rises in the Hazarajat country north-west of Ghazni, and flows south-west falls into the Helmand below Girishk. In its lower course it is much used for irrigation, and the valley is cultivated and populous; yet the water is said to be...

, is also very popular for picnics and afternoon outings. Close to Baba Wali's shrine is a military base established by the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 in about 2007.

Development



The decades of war left Kandahar and the rest of the country destroyed and depopulated, but in recent years billions of dollars began pouring in for construction purposes and millions of expats returned to Afghanistan. New neighborhoods are established around the city along with modern-style buildings being constructed. Some residents of the city have access to clean drinking water and electricity, and the government is working to extend these services to every home. The city relies on electricity from the Kajaki hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 plant in neighboring Helmand
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

, which is being upgraded or expanded. About 20 miles north of the city is the Dahla Dam
Dahla Dam
The Dahla Dam is the largest dam in Kandahar Province, and the second largest in Afghanistan.The dam is 34 kilometers north of Kandahar City.The dam was first built between 1950 to 1952 during the reign of Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan....

, the second largest dam in Afghanistan.

The Aino Mena is a new settlement project for up to two million people on the northern edge of the city. Originally called the Kandahar Valley and started by Mahmud Karzai, it was announced that the housing project covers up to 20,000 single-family homes and associated infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and community building
Community building
Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional area or with a common interest...

s, including schools. It recently won 2 awards, the Residential Project and Sustainable Project of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards. Many of the high ranking government employees and civil servants as well as wealthy businessmen live in this area, which is a more secured community in Kandahar. Work on the next $100 million scheme was innitiated in 2011. Also, construction of Hamidi Township in the Morchi Kotal area of the city began in August 2011. It is named after Ghulam Haider Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hamidi
Ghulam Haider Hamidi was mayor of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Hamidi moved to Pakistan and spent a brief time in this US, he returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban regime was overthrown. He was killed in a suicide bombing on 27 July 2011.-Reference:...

, the mayor of Kandahar who was assassinated by the Taliban militants in late July 2011. Situated along the Kandahar-Uruzgan Highway in the northeast of the city, the new township will have 2,000 residential and commercial plots. Including new roads, schools, commercial markets, clinics, canals and other facilities.

About 6 miles (10 km) east of Kandahar, a huge industrial park
Industrial park
An industrial park is an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development...

 is under construction with modern facilities. The park will have professional management for the daily maintenance of public roads, internal streets, common areas, parking areas, 24 hours perimeter security, access control for vehicles and persons.


  • Airports
    • Kandahar International Airport

  • Neighborhoods
    • Aino Mena (under development since 2003)
    • Hamidi Mena (under development since 2011)
    • Shahre Naw (meaning New City)
    • Dand
    • Karz
      Karz
      Karz is a village in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, near the city of Kandahar. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, is from Karz....

    • Mirwais Mena
    • Daman
    • Sarpuza
    • Malajat
    • Zoar Shar (meaning Old City)
    • Arghandab Valley



  • Mosques and Shrines
    • Friday Mosque of Kandahar
    • Shrine of the Cloak
    • Mosque of the Hair of the Prophet
      Mosque of the Hair of the Prophet
      The Mosque of the Hair of the Prophet, also known as Jame Mui Mobarak, is a mosque near the Kabul Bazaar, in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan.The mosque was built in the 19th century by Kohendil Khan. A canal runs through the mosque's shaded courtyard...

    • Mosque at Kandahar University (Eidgah Jaami Jumat)
    • Red Mosque

  • Mausoleums
    • Mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani
      Ahmad Shah Durrani
      Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

    • Mausoleum of Mirwais Hotak
    • Mausoleum of Baba Wali

  • Shopping
    • Al-Jadeed indoor shopping center http://www.flickr.com/photos/24037728@N08/2407958627/in/photostream
    • Herat Bazaar
      Bazaar
      A bazaar , Cypriot Greek: pantopoula) is a permanent merchandising area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of merchants, bankers and craftsmen" who work that area...

    • Kabul Bazaar
    • Shah Bazaar
    • Shkar Pur Bazaar

  • Restaurants
    • Lamar Restaurant
    • Mumtaz Restaurant
    • Kandahar Coffee Shop

  • Hotels and guest houses
    • Continental Guest House
    • Armani Hotel

  • Hospitals
    • Afghan National Army Regional Hospital
    • Mirwais Hospital
      Mirwais Hospital
      The Mirwais Hospital is a hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. It is named after Mirwais Hotak, who is known in the area as Mirwais Neeka . It along with a hospital in Quetta are the only advance medical facilities in the area....


  • Banks
    • AIB Bank
      Afghanistan International Bank
      Afghanistan International Bank is a local commercial bank in Afghanistan, with its head office in Kabul. The bank has seven branch offices in the major cities of the country....

    • Kabul Bank
      Kabul Bank
      Kabul Bank is a commercial bank in Afghanistan, with its main branch in the capital of Kabul. Established in 2004, it is the main bank used to pay the salaries of the army and security forces. The bank provides facilities to maintain accounts in Current, Savings Bank and Fixed Deposits; and offers...

    • Azizi Bank
      Azizi Bank
      Azizi Bank is the name of a commercial bank in Afghanistan, which has its main branch in Kabul. It also has branches in many provinces of the country. The bank opened in June 2005 and is named after its chairman, Haji Ali Akbar Zhawandai...


Demography


The population of Kandahar numbers approximately 468,200. The Pashtuns
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 make up the overwhelming majority population of the city and province but exact figures are not available. According to a 2003 National Geographic
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society , headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical...

 suggested figures, Pashtuns were put at ca. 70%, Tajiks 20%, Hazaras 6%, Baloch 2%, and Uzbeks 2%.

Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

 serves as the main language in the city and region. A 2006 provincial data prepared by Afghanistan's Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
The Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development is a ministry of the Afghan government. Its main headquarters is located in Kabul, Afghanistan, but has offices and employees in all the 34 provinces of the country...

 and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) states:

Notable people from Kandahar

  • Nur Jahan – empress of the Mughal Empire
    Mughal Empire
    The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

  • Mirwais Hotak – founder of the Hotaki dynasty
  • Abdul Aziz Hotak
    Abdul Aziz Hotak
    Abdul Aziz Hotak , was the second ruler of the Ghilzai Hotaki dynasty of Kandahar, in what is now the modern state of Afghanistan. He was crowned in 1715 after the death of his brother, Mirwais Hotak. He is the father of Ashraf Hotaki, the fourth ruler of the Hotaki dynasty...

     – ruler of the Hotaki dynasty
  • Mahmud Hotaki – ruler of the Hotaki dynasty and Shah of Persia
  • Ashraf Hotaki – Shah of Persia
  • Hussain Hotaki – ruler of the Hotaki dynasty
  • Ahmad Shah Durrani
    Ahmad Shah Durrani
    Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

     – founder of the Durrani Empire
    Durrani Empire
    The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun dynasty centered in Afghanistan and included northeastern Iran, the Kashmir region, the modern state of Pakistan, and northwestern India. It was established at Kandahar in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief...

    /founder of the modern state of Afghanistan
  • Dost Mohammad Khan
    Dost Mohammad Khan
    Dost Mohammad Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan between 1826 and 1863. He first ruled from 1826 to 1839 and then from 1843 to 1863. He was the 11th son of Sardar Pāyendah Khan who was killed by Zaman Shah Durrani in 1799...

     - founder of the Barakzai dynasty
    Barakzai dynasty
    The Barakzai dynasty ruled Afghanistan from 1826 until 1929 or 1973 when the monarchy rule finally ended under Mohammad Zahir Shah. The Barakzai dynasty was established by Dost Mohammad Khan after the Durrani dynasty of Ahmad Shah Durrani was removed from power...

    /Emire of Afghanistan
  • Sher Ali Khan
    Sher Ali Khan
    Sher Ali Khan was Amir of Afghanistan from 1863 to 1866 and from 1868 until his death in 1879. He was the third son of Dost Mohammed Khan, founder of the Barakzai Dynasty in Afghanistan....

     - Emir of Afghanistan
  • Abdur Rahman Khan
    Abdur Rahman Khan
    Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.The third son of Mohammad Afzal Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan was considered a strong ruler who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the disarray that followed the second...

     - Emir of Afghanistan
  • Muhammad Zahir Shah – the last king of Afghanistan
  • Ubaidullah Jan
    Ubaidullah Jan
    Ubaidullah Jan Kandaharai, or simply known as Obaidullah Jan, was a prominent Pashto singer from Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was popular among the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan and in Quetta, Pakistan. He brought some new style to traditional Pashto music and was considered a classical singer...

     - Pashto music king of southern Afghanistan
  • Nashenas - Afghan musician
    Music of Afghanistan
    The music of Afghanistan has existed for a long time, but since the late 1970s the country has been involved in constant wars and people were less concerned about music...

  • Abdul Hai Habibi – professor at Kabul University
    Kabul University
    Kabul University is located in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. It was founded in 1931 but officially opened for classes in 1932. Kabul University is currently attended by approximately 7,000 students, of which 1,700 are women. As of 2008, Hamidullah Amin is the chancellor of the university...

     and author of many books
  • Hamid Karzai
    Hamid Karzai
    Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

     – head and president of Afghanistan since late 2001
  • Gul Agha Sherzai
    Gul Agha Sherzai
    Gul Agha Sherzai is the current Governor of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.He previously served as Governor of Kandahar province, in the early 1990s and from 2001 until 2003.-Biography:...

     – served as the governor of Kandahar province followed by as governors of Nangarhar province
  • Said Tayeb Jawad
    Said Tayeb Jawad
    Said Tayeb Jawad was appointed Afghan Ambassador to the U.S. on December 4, 2003, by President Hamid Karzai and served as Ambassador until September 22, 2010. He also served as Afghanistan’s non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. He previously was Chief of Staff to the...

     – former Afghanistan Ambassador
    Ambassadors of Afghanistan
    This is a list of the current Ambassadors of Afghanistan. Ambassadors are appointed by the Afghan President.-References:...

     to the United States
  • Ghulam Haider Hamidi
    Ghulam Haider Hamidi
    Ghulam Haider Hamidi was mayor of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Hamidi moved to Pakistan and spent a brief time in this US, he returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban regime was overthrown. He was killed in a suicide bombing on 27 July 2011.-Reference:...

     - Mayor of Kandahar who was killed in July 2011

External links