Pashto /Dari : کابل, pronounced ; English:
/ˈkɑːbᵿl/ ) is the capital of
Afghanistan as well as its largest
city , located in the eastern section of the country. According to
latest estimates, the population of the city is between 3.6 million
and 4.6 million , which includes all the major ethnic groups . Rapid
urbanization had made
Kabul the world's 64th largest city and the
fifth fastest-growing city in the world.
Kabul is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least
the time of the
Achaemenid Empire . The city is at 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 , Seleucids ,
Mauryans , Kushans ,
Kabul Shahis ,
Ghaznavids , and
Ghurids . Later, it was controlled by
Mughal Empire until finally becoming part of the
Durrani Empire in
1747. The city is located high up in a narrow valley between the
Hindu Kush mountains.
Kabul became the capital of
Afghanistan during the reign of Timur
Durrani (reigned 1772–1793). In the early 19th century, the
British occupied the city but were compelled to abandon it. Relations
Afghanistan and Great Britain were later established. 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
Since the removal of the Taliban from power in late 2001, the city
gradually began rebuilding itself with assistance by the international
community. Despite the many terrorist attacks by anti-state elements,
the city is growing and developing. The city is divided into about 18
* 1 Toponymy
* 2 History
* 2.1 Antiquity
Islamization and Mongol invasion
* 2.3 Timurid and Mughal era
* 2.5 20th century
* 2.6 Soviet invasion of
* 2.7 Civil war and Taliban regime
* 2.8 21st century
* 3 Geography, climate and environment
* 3.1 Neighborhoods
* 4 Government and politics
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Development plans
* 7 Communications
* 8 Health care
* 9 Education
* 9.1 Universities
* 10 Transportation
* 10.1 Airports
* 10.2 Railways
* 10.3 Road
* 10.4 Trolleybuses
* 11 Tourism
* 12 Twin towns – sister cities
* 13 See also
* 14 References and footnotes
* 15 Further reading
* 16 External links
KABUL (/ˈkɑːbəl, ˈkɑːbuːl/ ;
Pashto : کابل _Kâbəl_,
IPA: ; Persian : کابل _Kābol_, IPA: ), also spelled
CABOOL, CAUBUL, KABOL, or CABUL.
History of Kabul and
Timeline of Kabul
Timeline of Kabul
The word "_Kubhā_" is mentioned in the
Rigveda (circa 1500–1200
BCE), one of the four canonical sacred texts (śruti) of Hinduism, and
Avesta , the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism
, refers to the
Kabul River . The
Rigveda praises it as an ideal
city, a vision of paradise set in the mountains. The area in which
Kabul valley sits was ruled by the
Medes before falling to the
Achaemenids . There is a reference to a settlement called _Kabura_ by
the rulers of the Achaemenid Empire. It became a center of
Zoroastrianism followed by
Hinduism . Alexander the Great
Kabul valley after his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire
in 330 BC but no record has been made of Kabul, which may have been
only a small town and not worth writing about. The region became part
Seleucid Empire but was later given to the Indian Maurya Empire
_"Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established
settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus
(Chandragupta ), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in
exchange 500 elephants."_ —
Strabo , 64 BC–24 AD Kushan
The Greco-Bactrians captured
Kabul from the
Mauryans in the early 2nd
century BC, then lost the city to their subordinates in the Indo-Greek
Kingdom around the mid-2nd century BC.
Indo-Scythians expelled the
Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the city to the Kushan
Empire about 100 years later.
Some historians ascribe
Sanskrit name of Kamboja
(_Kamboj_). It is mentioned as _Kophes_ or _Kophene_ in some
classical writings. Hsuan Tsang refers to the name as _Kaofu_ in the
7th century AD, which is the appellation of one of the five tribes of
Yuezhi who had migrated from across the
Hindu Kush into the Kabul
valley around the beginning of the Christian era . It was conquered
by Kushan Emperor
Kujula Kadphises in about 45 AD and remained Kushan
territory until at least the 3rd century AD. The Kushans were
Tocharians from the
Tarim Basin .
Around 230 AD, the Kushans were defeated by the
Sassanid Empire and
replaced by Sassanid vassals known as the
Indo-Sassanids . During the
Sassanian period, the city was referred to as "Kapul" in Pahlavi
scripts . In 420 AD the
Indo-Sassanids were driven out of Afghanistan
by the Xionite tribe known as the
Kidarites , who were then replaced
in the 460s by the Hephthalites . It became part of the surviving Turk
Shahi Kingdom of
Kapisa , also known as _Kabul-Shahan_. According to
_Táríkhu-l Hind_ by Al-Biruni ,
Kabul was governed by princes of
Turkic lineage whose rule lasted for about 60 generations.
_"Kábul was formerly governed by princes of Turk lineage. It is said
that they were originally from
Tibet . The first of them was named
Barhtigín ... and the kingdom continued with his children for sixty
generations. ... The last of them was a Katormán, and his minister
was Kalar, a Bráhman . This minister was favored by fortune, and he
found in the earth treasures which augmented his power. Fortune at the
same time turned her back upon his master. The Katormán\'s thoughts
and actions were evil, so that many complaints reached the minister,
who loaded him with chains, and imprisoned him for his correction. In
the end the minister yielded to the temptation of becoming sole
master, and he had wealth sufficient to remove all obstacles. So he
established himself on the throne. After him reigned the Bráhman(s)
Samand, then Kamlúa, then Bhím, then Jaipál , then Anandpál , then
Narda-janpál, who was killed in A.H. 412. His son, Bhímpál,
succeeded him, after the lapse of five years, and under him the
sovereignty of Hind became extinct, and no descendant remained to
light a fire on the hearth. These princes, notwithstanding the extent
of their dominions, were endowed with excellent qualities, faithful to
their engagements, and gracious towards their inferiors..."_
Abu Rayhan Biruni , 978–1048 AD
Kabul rulers built a long defensive wall around the city to
protect it from enemy raids. This historical wall has survived until
today. It was briefly held by
Tibetan Empire between 801 and 815.
ISLAMIZATION AND MONGOL INVASION
Further information: Islamic conquest of
Islamic conquest of
Afghanistan began from
Herat , which was one of
the important cities of Khorasan , and made its way to
Kabul in the
The Islamic conquest reached modern-day
Afghanistan in 642 AD, at a
Kabul was independent. A number of failed expeditions were
made to Islamize the region. In one of them, Abdur Rahman bin Samana
Zaranj in the late 600s and managed to convert
12,000 local inhabitants to
Islam before abandoning the city. Muslims
were a minority until Ya\'qub bin Laith as-Saffar of
Kabul in 870 and established the first Islamic dynasty in the region.
It was reported that the rulers of
Kabul were Muslims with non-Muslims
living close by.
_"Kábul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by
one road. In it there are Musulmáns , and it has a town, in which are
infidels from Hind ."_ — Istahkrí , 921 AD
Over the following centuries, the city was successively controlled by
Ghurids , Khwarazmshahs ,
Qarlughids , and
Khiljis . In the 13th century, the Mongol horde passed through and
massively destroyed the area. Report of a massacre in the close by
Bamiyan is recorded around this period, where the entire population of
the valley was annihilated by the Mongol troops as a revenge for the
death of Genghis Khan's grandson. During the Mongol invasion, many
Afghanistan fled to
India where some established dynasties
in Delhi . It was also ruled by
Chagatai Khanate and
Kartids , were
Ilkhanate till dissolution of latter in 1335.
Following the era of the
Khilji dynasty in 1333, the famous Moroccan
Ibn Battuta was visiting
Kabul and wrote:
_"We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which
is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called
Afghans. They hold mountains and defiles and possess considerable
strength, and are mostly highwaymen. Their principal mountain is
called Kuh Sulayman ."_ —
Ibn Battuta , 1304–1369 AD
TIMURID AND MUGHAL ERA
Timurid dynasty and
Mughal Empire Humayun
with his father
Babur , emperors of the
In the 14th century,
Kabul became a major trading center under the
Timur (_Tamerlane_). In 1504, the city fell to
the north and made into his headquarters, which became one of the
principal cities of his later
Mughal Empire . In 1525,
Kabulistan in his memoirs by writing that:
_"In the country of Kābul there are many and various tribes. In the
city and the greater part of the villages, the population consists of
Tājiks (called "Sarts " by Babur). Many other of the villages and
districts are occupied by Pashāis , Parāchis , Tājiks, Berekis, and
Afghans . In the hill-country to the west, reside the Hazāras and
Nukderis. Among the Hazāra and Nukderi tribes, there are some who
speak the Moghul language. In the hill-country to the north-east lies
Kaferistān , such as Kattor and Gebrek. To the south is Afghanistān
... There are eleven or twelve different languages spoken in Kābul:
Arabic , Persian , Tūrki , Moghuli,
Hindi , Afghani , Pashāi ,
Parāchi, Geberi, Bereki, and Lamghāni..."_ —
Baburnama , 1525
Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat , a poet from
Hindustan who visited at
the time wrote: _"Dine and drink in Kabul: it is mountain, desert,
city, river and all else."_ It was from here that
Babur began his 1526
conquest of Hindustan, which was ruled by the
Lodi dynasty and
began east of the
Indus River in what is present-day Pakistan. Babur
Kabul due to the fact that he lived in it for 20 years and the
people were loyal to him, including its weather that he was used to.
His wish to be buried in
Kabul was finally granted. The inscription on
his tomb contains the famous Persian couplet , which states:
اگرفردوس روی زمین است همین است و همین
است و همین است (If there is a paradise on earth, it is
this, it is this, it is this!)
Durrani dynasty and
Durrani , the last
Durrani King , sitting at his court
inside the Bala Hissar .
Nine years after
Nader Shah and his forces invaded and occupied the
city as part of the more easternmost parts of his Empire, he was
assassinated by his own officers, causing the rapid disintegration of
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , commander of 4,000 Abdali Afghans , asserted
Pashtun rule in 1747 and further expanded his new
Afghan Empire . His
ascension to power marked the beginning of Afghanistan. His son Timur
Durrani , after inheriting power, transferred the capital of
Kabul in 1776, and used
Peshawar in what
Pakistan as the winter capital.
Timur Shah died in 1793 and
was succeeded by his son Zaman Shah
Durrani . Kabul's first visitor
from Europe was Englishman George Forster , who described 18th-century
Kabul as "the best and cleanest city in South Asia".
In 1826, the kingdom was claimed by
Dost Mohammad Khan but in 1839
Durrani was re-installed with the help of British India
during the First Anglo-
Afghan War . In 1841 a local uprising resulted
in the killing of the British resident and loss of mission in Kabul
1842 retreat from Kabul to
Jalalabad . In 1842 the British
returned to Kabul, plundering Bala Hissar in revenge before fleeing
back to British
India (now Pakistan). Akbar Khan took to the throne
from 1842 to 1845 and was followed by Dost Mohammad Khan.
The British-led Indian forces invaded in 1879 when
Kabul was under
Sher Ali Khan 's rule, as the
Afghan king initially refused to accept
British diplomatic mission and later the British residents were again
massacred. The British partially destroyed Bala Hissar fortress before
retreating to British India.
20TH CENTURY KABUL
In the early 20th century King
Amanullah Khan rose to power. His
reforms included electricity for the city and schooling for girls. He
drove a Rolls-Royce , and lived in the famous
Darul Aman Palace . In
1919, after the Third Anglo-
Afghan War , Amanullah announced
Afghanistan's independence from foreign affairs at Eidgah Mosque . In
1929 King Ammanullah left
Kabul due to a local uprising orchestrated
by Habibullah Kalakani . After nine months rule, Kalakani was
imprisoned and executed by King Nader Khan . Three years later, in
1933, the new king was assassinated by a Hazara student Abdul Khaliq
during an award ceremony inside a school in Kabul. The throne was left
to his 19-year-old son, Zahir Shah , who became the last King of
Afghan men and women in the 1920s.
During the inter-war period France and Germany worked to help develop
the country and maintained high schools and lycees in the capital,
providing education for the children of the city's elite families.
Kabul University opened in 1932 and by the 1960s western educated
Afghans made up the majority of teachers. By the 1960s the majority
of instructors at the university had degrees from Western
When Zahir Shah took power in 1933
Kabul had the only 10 kilometers
(6 miles) of rail in the country and the country had few internal
telegraphs, phone lines or roads. Zahir turned to the Japanese,
Germans and Italians for help developing a modern transportation and
communication network. A radio tower built by the Germans in 1937 in
Kabul allowing instant communication with outlying villages. A
national bank and state cartels were organized to allow for economic
modernization. Textile mills, power plants, carpet and furniture
factories were also built in Kabul, providing much needed
manufacturing and infrastructure.
In 1955, the
Soviet Union forwarded $100 million in credit to
Afghanistan, which financed public transportation, airports, a cement
factory, mechanized bakery, a five-lane highway from
Kabul to the
Soviet border and dams. Men and women entering a public
transport bus in the 1950s.
In the 1960s the first Marks ">
Kabul in 1976
In 1969 a religious uprising at the
Pul-e Khishti Mosque
Pul-e Khishti Mosque protested
the Soviet Union's increasing influence over
Afghan politics and
religion . This protest ended in the arrest of many of its organizers,
including Mawlana Faizani , a popular Islamic scholar. In the early
Radio Kabul began to broadcast in other languages besides Pashto
which helped to unify those minorities that often felt marginalized.
However, this was put to a stop after Daoud Khan 's revolution in
1973. In July 1973, while King Zahir Shah was visiting Europe, his
cousin Daoud Khan who served as Prime Minister launched a coup
d\'état and took over power. This was supported by the People\'s
Democratic Party of
Afghanistan (PDPA), a pro-Soviet political party.
Daoud named himself President and planned to institute reforms. The
BBC has described the period before the April 1978 Revolution as an
era when different ethnic groups of
Afghanistan lived together
harmoniously, intermarried and mixed socially.
By 1975, the young
Ahmad Shah Massoud and his followers initiated an
uprising in Panjshir but were forced to flee to neighboring Pakistan
where they received recruitment from Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto to create unrest in
Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence . It is claimed that Bhutto paved the way
for the April 1978
Saur Revolution in
Kabul by making Daoud spread his
armed forces to the countryside. "To launch this plan, Bhutto
recruited and trained a group of Afghans in the Bala-Hesar of Peshawar
, in Pakistan's North-west Frontier Province . Among these young men
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar , and other members of Jawanan-e
Musulman. Massoud's mission to Bhutto was to create unrest in northern
Afghanistan. It served Massoud's interests, which were apparently
opposition to the Soviets and independence for Afghanistan. Later,
after Massoud and Hekmatyar had a terrible falling-out over Massoud's
opposition to terrorist tactics and methods, Massoud overthrew from
Jawanan-e Musulman. He joined Rabani 's newly created
party, Jamiat-i-Islami , in exile in Pakistan."
SOVIET INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN
Further information: Soviet war in
Afghanistan The day after
the April 1978
On April 28, 1978, President Daoud and his family along with many of
his supporters were assassinated in Kabul. Pro-Soviet
Hafizullah Amin seized power and slowly began to institute reforms.
Private businesses were nationalized in the Soviet manner. Education
was modified into the Soviet model, with lessons focusing on teaching
Russian, Leninism-Marxism and learning of other countries belonging to
the Soviet bloc. Foreign-backed rebel groups and army deserters took
up arms in the name of Islam.
In February 1979, U.S. Ambassador
Adolph Dubs was murdered after
Afghan security forces burst in on his kidnappers. In neighboring
Pakistan, President Zulfiqar Bhutto was executed in April 1979. In
Nur Muhammad Taraki was assassinated
by a team of Soviet
Spetsnaz inside the
Tajbeg Palace in Kabul. On
December 24, 1979, the
Soviet Union invaded
heavily occupied by
Soviet Armed Forces . Following this invasion,
Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq chaired a meeting in
Islamabad and was
told by several cabinet members to refrain from interfering in
Afghanistan, owing to the vastly superior military power of the Soviet
Union. However, Zia-ul-Haq, fearing that the Soviets may be advancing
into Pakistan, particularly Balochistan , made no secret about his
intentions of aiding the mujahideen rebel groups. During this meeting,
Director-General of the ISI
Akhtar Abdur Rahman advocated for the idea
of covert operation in
Afghanistan by arming the Islamic extremists.
General Rahman was heard loudly saying: "_
Kabul must burn!
burn!_", and mastered the idea of proxy war in Afghanistan.
President Zia-ul-Haq authorised this operation under General Rahman,
and it was later merged with
Operation Cyclone , a programme funded by
the United States.
Kabul in 1982 during the Soviet-
The Soviets turned the city of
Kabul into their command center during
the Soviet war in
Kabul was considered moderately safe
during that period, as fighting was mostly in the countryside and in
other major cities.
Kabul was still economically active and women made
up 40% of the workforce. However the city was not necessarily calm.
Political crime, such as assassinations of
PDPA party members and
guerilla attacks on military and government targets were quite common.
The Soviet Embassy, for example, was attacked 4 times with arms fire
in the first five years of the war. In 1983, a report from _Izvestia_
said that most public places such as hospitals and state banks had
"people with guns in their hands", which was not the case before 1979.
A Western correspondent revisiting
Kabul in December 1983 after a
year, said that the city was "converted into a fortress bristling with
weapons", suggesting the increasing sight of guns.
But the city's image wasn't negative in everyone's view. American
diplomat Charles Dunbar said that the Soviet troops' presence was
"surprisingly modest". He said in a July 1983 article that whilst
Soviet troops are a common sight, they "do not give the impression of
invaders who are enforcing their occupation at the point of a
bayonet". Soviet men and women were very common in the city's shopping
roads, with the large availability of Western products. An December
1983 article from _
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists _, where the
author stayed two weeks in the city, said that the Soviet soldiers had
a friendly atmosphere in which they would greet friends and have a
chat with the population. Most Soviet civilians (numbering between
8,000 and 10,000) lived in the north eastern Makroyan (_microraion _)
suburb, in an apartment housing complex. It was surrounded by
barbed-wire and armed tanks, for their safety. The residents were
often unsafe when walking through the streets, receiving verbal abuse
, rude gestures and even kidnappings from anti-PDPA/anti-Soviet Afghan
civilians. Life for
PDPA politicians and their families were also
insecure. The city's population increased from around 500,000 in 1978
to 2 million in 1988, due to rural refugees but also the return of
Afghan refugees from neighboring
Iran under President
Najibullah, who came into power in 1985.
CIVIL WAR AND TALIBAN REGIME
A section of
Kabul during the civil war in 1993. Main
articles: Civil war in
Afghanistan (1989–1992) and Civil war in
After the fall of Najibullah\'s Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
in April 1992, leaders of the different mujahideen factions were
unable to form a government. Despite the 1992
Peshawar Accords ,
fighting started as Hekmatyar 's party refused to sign the accords and
started shelling the city for power. This marked the start of a dark
period of the city, in which over 50,000 civilians were killed. About
80 percent of the city was devastated and destroyed by 1996.
The city suffered heavily under a bombardment campaign between rival
militias. Its geographic location in a narrow valley made it an easy
target from rockets fired by militias who based themselves in the
surrounding mountains. Initially the factions in the city aligned to
fight off Hekmatyar's forces, but diplomacy inside the capital quickly
broke down. For the following two years in particular, much of Kabul
would be laid to waste, the majority of infrastructure destroyed, and
a massive exodus of the population leaving to the countryside or
abroad. In December 1992, the last of the 86 city trolley buses in
Kabul came to a halt because of the conflict. A system of 800 public
buses continued to provide transportation services to the city. By
1993 electricity and water in the city was completely out.
Additionally to the bombardment campaign conducted by Hekmatyar and
Dostum , tension between the Shi'a Hazara forces of Abdul Ali Mazari
and the Wahabi
Ittihad-i Islami of
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf soon escalated
into a second violent conflict. The fighting between the two factions
quickly took on aspects of "ethnic cleansing". One such example was
Afshar Operation in 1993, in which many ethnic Hazara and Pashtun
civilians were murdered.
In January 1994, Dostum joined an alliance with Hekmatyar and
conducted bombardment of
Kabul during that period, but were eventually
repelled by Massoud's forces who also bombarded the city to gain
control. In late 1994, bombardment of the capital came to a temporary
halt. These forces took steps to restore law and order. Courts
started to work again, convicting individuals inside government troops
who had committed crimes. Massoud tried to initiate a nationwide
political process with the goal of national consolidation and
democratic elections, also inviting the Taliban to join the process
but the idea was rejected by them. By 1995 the university opened its
doors once again.
The Taliban started shelling
Kabul in early 1995 but were repelled at
first by Massoud's forces.
Amnesty International , referring to the
Taliban offensive, wrote in a 1995 report that "This is the first time
in several months that
Kabul civilians have become the targets of
rocket attacks and shelling aimed at residential areas in the city."
On September 26, 1996, as the Taliban prepared for another major
offensive, Massoud ordered a full retreat from
Kabul and fled north.
The next day the Taliban seized
Kabul and established the Islamic
Afghanistan . They imposed a strict form of
law), restricting women from work and education. They also conducted
amputations against common thieves. Their hit-squads from the infamous
"Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" watched the
streets conducting public beatings of people.
The al-Qaeda of
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden and
Ayman al-Zawahiri became a state
within the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with bin Laden controlling
Kabul and the eastern city of
During the hardline Taliban regime,
Kabul became a ruined city, with
most infrastructure already been destroyed, many residents had long
left, poverty levels were high, there was little to no education or
public services, and its strict laws meant there were no entertainment
or other media allowed. The regime's lack of interest in development
meant that the city remained barren for years. On a positive note the
Taliban's rule, which would last for five years, made the city calm
after years of war between different warlords.
Presidency of Hamid Karzai
Presidency of Hamid Karzai and List of terrorist
Kabul since 2008 _ An American soldier standing with
children at Freedom Circle_ (2011)
In November 2001, the Northern Alliance captured
Kabul after the
Taliban had abandoned it. A month later a new government under
Hamid Karzai began to assemble. In the meantime, a
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was deployed in
Afghanistan. The war-torn city began to see some positive development
as many expatriate Afghans returned to the country. The city's
population grew from about 500,000 in 2001 to over 3 million in recent
years. Many foreign embassies re-opened.
As of 2014, the
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been in
charge of security in and around the city.
Kabul is periodically the
scene of deadly suicide bombings carried out by the
Haqqani network ,
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province , the
Quetta Shura ,
Hezbi Islami , al-Qaeda, and other anti-state
groups. Government employees, soldiers and ordinary civilians have
all been targets of attacks. The
Afghan government called the
actions of the terrorists war crimes .
GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
Further information: Geography of
Kabul serves as the nation's cultural and learning center, situated
1,791 meters (5,876 feet) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged
Hindu Kush mountains along the
Kabul River . It is linked
Mazar-e Sharif via the circular Highway 1
that stretches across Afghanistan. It is also the start of the main
Jalalabad and further to
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . The
Kabul International Airport is located about 16 km (9.9 mi) from the
center of the city, next to the
Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood. Bagram
Airfield is about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Kabul.
Kabul has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification
_BSk _) with precipitation concentrated in the winter (almost
exclusively falling as snow) and spring months. Temperatures are
relatively cool compared to much of Southwest Asia, mainly due to the
high elevation of the city. Summer has very low humidity , providing
relief from the heat. Autumn features warm afternoons and sharply
cooler evenings. Winters are cold, with a January daily average of
−2.3 °C (27.9 °F). Spring is the wettest time of the year, though
temperatures are generally amiable. Sunny conditions dominate
year-round. The annual mean temperature is 12.1 °C (53.8 °F).
CLIMATE DATA FOR KABUL (1956–1983)
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS
AVERAGE SNOWY DAYS
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Neighborhoods of Kabul A family park in the Bibi
The city of
Kabul is one of the 15 districts of
Kabul Province ,
which is divided into 22 city districts. Each city district covers
several neighborhoods .
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Further information: Politics of
The current mayor of the city is Abdullah Habibzai who was appointed
in May 2016 as the acting mayor.
Kabul's Chief of Police is Lt. Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi. The police
are part of the
Afghan National Police (ANP) under the Ministry of
Interior and are arranged by city districts. The Police Chief is
selected by the Interior Minister and is responsible for all law
enforcement activities throughout the
Further information: Demographics of
Afghan men and women at a rock music festival inside the
Gardens of Babur _.
Kabul's population was estimated in 2015 at about 4.6 million, which
possibly includes the people of the province as well. Another 2015
estimate has put it at 3,678,034. The city's population has long
fluctuated due to the wars. A large number of Afghans from other
provinces moved to
Kabul in the last decade, mainly due to the war
between rebel groups and
Afghan government forces in their native
Kabul's population was around 500,000 in 1979, whilst another source
claims 337,715 as of 1976. This figure rose to about 2 million by
1988, before dramatically dropping in the 1990s.
Kabul became one of
the fastest growing cities in the world, with its population growing
fourfold from 2001 to 2014. However the city could not keep up with
the rapid urbanization and today many residents live in informal
In 2003, the
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel reported that Kabul's
population was composed of the following ethnic groups: 45% Tajik ,
25% Hazara , 25% Pashtun , 2% Uzbek , 1% Baloch , 1% Turkmen , and 1%
Afghan Hindu. Dari and
Pashto language are widely used in the region
although Dari (
Afghan Persian) serves as the lingua franca .
Multilingualism is common throughout the area, particularly among the
About 74% of the city's population follows Sunni
Islam while 25% are
Shiites (mainly the Hazaras). The remaining 1% are followers of
Hinduism . The city also has one Jewish resident .
Further information: Economy of
Afghanistan A commercial area
in the city
Kabul's main products include fresh and dried fruit , nuts ,
Afghan rugs , leather and sheep skin products, furniture,
antique replicas , and domestic clothes. The world bank authorized US$
25 million for the
Kabul Urban Reconstruction Project which closed in
2011. Over the last decade, the United States has invested
approximately $9.1 billion into urban infrastructure in Afghanistan.
The wars since 1978 have limited the city's economic productivity but
after the establishment of the
Karzai administration . Since late
2001, local economic development has included a number of indoor
About 6 km (4 mi) from downtown Kabul, in
Bagrami , a 9-hectare
(22-acre) industrial complex has completed with modern facilities,
which will allow companies to operate businesses there. The park has
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. A number of
factories operate there, including the $25 million Coca-Cola bottling
plant and the Omaid Bahar juice factory.
Transparency International , the government of
Afghanistan is the third most-corrupt in the world. Experts believe
that the poor decisions of
Afghan politicians contribute to the unrest
in the region. This also prevents foreign investment in Afghanistan,
especially by Western countries. In 2012, there were reportedly $3.9
billion paid to public officials in bribes which contributed to these
Afghanistan Bank , the nation's central bank , is headquartered in
Kabul. In addition, there are several commercial banks in the city.
A $1 billion USD contract was signed in 2013 to commence work on the
Kabul City", which is a major residential scheme that would
accommodate 1.5 million people. In the meantime, many high rise
buildings are being constructed in order to control the overcrowding
and also to modernize the city.
An initial concept design called the
City of Light Development ,
envisioned by Dr.
Hisham N. Ashkouri , for the development and the
implementation of a privately based investment enterprise has been
proposed for multi-function commercial, historic and cultural
development within the limits of the Old City of Kabul, along the
southern side of the
Kabul River and along Jade Meywand Avenue,
Further information: Communications in
As of November 2015, there are more than 24 television stations based
out of Kabul.
In Kabul, Minister Amir Zai Sangin of the Ministry of Communications
and Information Technology maintains statistics regarding
telecommunications in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Afghanistan
Information Management Services (AIMS) provides software development,
capacity development, information management, and project management
services to the
Afghan Government and other NGOs, thereby supporting
their on-the-ground activities.
GPRS mobile phone services in the city are provided by Afghan
Etisalat , Roshan , MTN and Salaam Network . As of 2012 ,
all of them provide 3G services as well. In November 2006, the Afghan
Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 million US dollar deal with
ZTE on the establishment of a countrywide fibre optical cable network
to help improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast
services not just in
Kabul but throughout the country. Internet cafes
were introduced in 2002 and has been expanding throughout the country.
As of 2012 , 3G services are also available.
There are a number of post offices throughout the city. Package
delivery services like
TNT N.V. , and DHL are also available.
Further information: Health in
Health care in
Afghanistan is relatively poor. The wealthy Afghans
usually go abroad when seeking treatment. Presently, there are several
Kabul which include; Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan
French Medical Institute for Children
Kabul City Hospital
Indira Gandhi Childrens Hospital
Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital
* Jinnah Hospital (under construction)
Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital
* Malalai Maternity Hospital
* Rabia-I-Balki Maternity Hospital
* Maywand Hospital
* Afshar Hospital
* Noor Eye Hospital
* Atatürk Children's Hospital
* American Medical Center
* DK-German Medical Diagnostic Center
CURE International Hospital
* KIA ISAF Role 3 Hospital
List of schools in Kabul and Education in
Kabul Medical University
The Ministry of Education led by
Ghulam Farooq Wardak is responsible
for the education system in Afghanistan. Public and private schools
in the city have reopened since 2002 after they were shut down or
destroyed during fighting in the 1980s to the late 1990s. Boys and
girls are strongly encouraged to attend school under the Karzai
administration but many more schools are needed not only in
throughout the country. The
Afghan Ministry of Education has plans to
build more schools in the coming years so that education is provided
to all citizens of the country. The most well known high schools in
Habibia High School , a British-
Afghan school founded in 1903 by
Lycée Esteqlal , a Franco-
Afghan school founded in 1922
Malalai High School , a Franco-
Afghan school for girls
Amani High School , a German-
Afghan school for boys founded in
Aisha-i-Durani School , a German-
Afghan school for girls
Rahman Baba High School , an American-
Afghan school for boys
International School of Kabul , an American-
Afghan Turk High Schools , Turkish-
Ghulam Haider Khan High School , a school for boys
Abdul Hadi Dawi High School , a school for boys
Nazo Ana High School , a school for girls
Further information: List of universities in
The city's colleges and universities were renovated after 2002. Some
of them have been developed recently, while others have existed since
the early 20th century.
Further information: Transport in
Afghanistan Flightline at
Hamid Karzai International Airport (
Kabul International Airport)
Hamid Karzai International Airport (
Kabul International Airport)
is located 25 km (16 mi) from the center of Kabul, which always served
as the country's main airport. It is a hub to Ariana
Afghan Airlines ,
the national carrier of Afghanistan, as well as private airlines such
Afghan Jet International ,
East Horizon Airlines ,
Kam Air , Pamir
Airways , and
Safi Airways . Regional airlines such as
Air India ,
SpiceJet , flydubai , Emirates ,
Gulf Air ,
Mahan Air , Pakistan
International Airlines ,
Turkish Airlines and others also have
regularly scheduled flights to the airport. A new international
terminal was built by the government of
Japan and began operation in
Kabul has no train service but the government plans to build rail
lines to connect the city with
Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and
Torkham in the east. It also plans to build a metro rail in
the future. Afghanistan's only railway service, the Kabul–Darulaman
Tramway , operated for only six years from 1923 to 1929.
Long distance road journeys are made by private Mercedes-Benz coach
buses or various types of vans, trucks and cars. Although a nationwide
bus service is available from Kabul, flying is safer, especially for
foreigners. The city's public bus service (
Milli Bus / "National Bus")
was established in the 1960s to take commuters on daily routes to many
destinations. The service currently has about 800 buses, but it is
gradually expanding and upgrading the fleet. The
Kabul bus system has
recently discovered a new source of revenue in whole-bus advertising
from MTN similar to "bus wrap" advertising on public transit in more
developed nations. There is also an express bus that runs from
Kabul International Airport for
Safi Airways passengers.
Private vehicles are on the rise in Kabul, with several dealerships
in the city. It has been reported that up to 90% of cars in
Corollas. Gas stations are mainly private-owned. Bicycles on the
road are a common sight in the city as are white and yellow older
Toyota Corolla taxicab used cars.
Kabul's main form of public transport was an electric trolleybus
service that was built by the
Czechoslovak _Elektrizace železnic
Praha_ (Electrification of railways,
Prague ) from 1976. The service
launched on February 9, 1979 with 25 Škoda 9TrH23 trolleybuses in a
blue and white livery, eventually rising to 86 fleet by 1988. The
initial line ran between Cinema Pamir and Silo, later expanded to
three lines amounting a total of 12.5 km (7.8 mi). The trolleybus
service was highly popular mainly due to its low price compared to the
Milli Bus bus service. After months of warfare in the city, the last
trolleybus came to a halt at the end of 1992. The copper overhead
wires were subsequently looted and sold to scrap dealers. Some of the
steel poles can still be seen in
Kabul today. In 2004 there were
plans for a resurrected trolleybus service but the proposal never made
it to life.
Each year about 20,000 foreign tourists visit Afghanistan. Major
Kabul include; the Serena Hotel , the Inter-Continental ,
Safi Landmark Hotel above the
Kabul City Center . There are a
number of other less-known hotels. Most visitors prefer lodging at
guest houses , which are found all over the city. The better and safer
ones are in the
Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood where the embassies are
The old part of
Kabul is filled with bazaars nestled along its
narrow, crooked streets. Cultural sites include: the National Museum
Afghanistan , notably displaying an impressive statue of Surya
Khair Khana , the ruined
Darul Aman Palace , the tomb of
Babur at Bagh-e
Babur , and Chehlstoon Park, the
Minar-i-Istiqlal (Column of Independence) built in 1919 after the
Afghan War , the tomb of
Timur Shah Durrani
Timur Shah Durrani , and the imposing
Id Gah Mosque (founded 1893). Bala Hissar is a fort destroyed by the
British in 1879, in retaliation for the death of their envoy, now
restored as a military college. The Minaret of Chakari , destroyed in
1998, had Buddhist swastika and both
Other places of interest include
Kabul City Center , which is Kabul's
first shopping mall, the shops around Flower Street and Chicken
Wazir Akbar Khan district,
Kabul Golf Club ,
Kabul Zoo , Abdul
Rahman Mosque , Shah-Do Shamshira and other famous mosques, the
National Gallery of
Afghanistan , the National Archives of Afghanistan
Afghan Royal Family Mausoleum, the
OMAR Mine Museum , Bibi Mahro
Kabul Cemetery, and
Paghman Gardens . The Aga Khan Development
Network (AKDN) was also involved in the restoration of the Bagh-e
Tappe-i-Maranjan is a nearby hill where Buddhist statues and
Graeco-Bactrian coins from the 2nd century BC have been found. Outside
the city proper is a citadel and the royal palace.
Jalalabad are interesting valleys north and east of the city.
Ghazi Stadium National Museum of
Afghanistan Hotel Inter-Continental
* SPORTS COMPLEXES
Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Ground
* Olympic Committee Gymnasium
Babur (Gardens of Babur)
* Baghi Bala Park
* Zarnegar Park
* Shahr-e Naw Park
* Bagh-e Zanana
* Bibi Mahro Park
Abdul Rahman Mosque
Id Gah Mosque
* Abu Fazl Mosque in
Pul-e Khishti Mosque
Pul-e Khishti Mosque
Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque
* Mausoleum of
Timur Shah Durrani
Timur Shah Durrani
* Mausoleum of
Abdur Rahman Khan
* Mausoleum of Zahir Shah and Nadir Shah
* Mausoleum of
* National Museum of
* National Archives of Afghanistan
* National Gallery of Afghanistan
* Negaristani Milli
* Serena Hotel
Safi Landmark Hotel
Kabul Star Hotel
* Heetal Plaza Hotel
* There are local travel agencies developing their activity in the
Looking toward Mausoleum of
Mohammed Zahir Shah and Mohammed Nadir
Shah on Maranjan Hill in the far distant
Babur (Gardens of Babur)
TWIN TOWNS – SISTER CITIES
* List of cities in
Hindu Kush earthquakes
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to KABUL _.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for KABUL _.
* People of
Kabul – report by Radio France Internationale in
Fourteen largest cities in
Afghanistan by population