Kabul (Pashto/Dari: کابل, pronounced [ˈkʰɒːbul]; English pronunciation: /ˈkɑːbᵿl/) is the capital of Afghanistan as well as its largest city, located in the eastern section of the country. According to a 2015 estimate, the population of the city was around 3,678,033 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, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, and Ghurids. Later, it was controlled by the 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 Shah Durrani (reigned 1772–1793). In the early 19th century, the British occupied the city but were compelled to abandon it. Relations between 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 casualties.
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 districts.