Kandahār, known in older literature as Gandahar, is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 560,000. Kandahar is located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of 1,010 m (3,310 ft). It is the capital of Kandahar Province, and also the center of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire.
Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 300 years. It is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. The region produces fine fruits, especially pomegranates and grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit, and is a major source of marijuana and hashish en route to Tajikistan.
The region around Kandahar is one of the oldest known human settlements. A major fortified city existed at the site of Kandahar, probably as early as c. 1000-750 BCE, and it became an important outpost of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire in the 6th century BCE. Alexander the Great had laid-out the foundation of what is now Old Kandahar in the 4th century BC and gave it the Ancient Greek name Αλεξάνδρεια Aραχωσίας (Alexandria of Arachosia). Many empires have long fought over the city due to its strategic location along the trade routes of southern, central and western Asia. Since the 1978 Marxist revolution, the city has been a magnet for groups such as Haqqani network, Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. From late-1996 to 2001, it served as the de facto capital of the Taliban government until the Taliban were overthrown by US-led NATO forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in late-2001 and replaced by the government of President Hamid Karzai.
|Elevation||1,010 m (3,310 ft)|
|Airport||Kandahar International Airport (KDH)|
|Calling code||(+93) 30|