:"For the 2001 film, see
Kandahar (film); for the Kandahar meteorite of 1959, see meteorite falls; for the places in Azerbaijan, see Cəndəharand Çandahar."Infobox City in Afghanistan
official_name = Kandahar
native_name = کندهار
province_name = Kandahar
image_size = 250px
image_caption = View of Arghandab Valley
latd = 31.617
longd = 65.717
population_total = 450300|population_as_of = 2006
population_note = [http://www.cso.gov.af/ Central Statistics Office of Afghanistan]
Kandahār, also spelled Qandahār, (Pashto: کندهار, Persian قندهار) is the second largest city in
Afghanistan, with a population of 450,300 (2006 estimate). It is the capital of Kandahar province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m (3,297 feet) above sea level. The Arghandab Riverruns right next to the city.
Kandahar 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 pomegranatesand grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit. Kandahar has an international airport and extensive road links with Farahand Heratto the west, Ghazniand Kabulto the northeast, Tarin Kowtto the north, and Quettain Pakistanto the south. Kandahar is a Pashto-speaking city, with Pashtuns being the main inhabitants. Alexander the Greatfounded Kandahar in the 4th century BC and named it Alexandria. Many empires have long fought over the city, due to its strategic location along the trade routes of Southern and Central Asia. In 1748, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani Empire, made Kandahar the capital of Afghanistan. [Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth Edition) - "Kandahar"... [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0826983.html Link] ] [Columbia Encyclopedia (Fifth Edition) - "The City of Kandahar"... [http://www.afghan-network.net/Culture/qandahar.html Link] ]
The climate in Kandahar is hot and dry and the maximum recorded temperature is 48.2ºC
Kandahar has many dust storms and simoons happen every year. Most of the rainfall occurs in January but August and September are the driest months with almost no rain.
The hottest month is July with average high temperatures of 40ºC
"Kandahar" may have been derived from
Gandhara[ [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:1:390.hobson Hobson Jobson Dictionary ] ] , the name of an ancient Indian kingdom to the north along the modern Kashmirand Afghanistan border, [Gandara... [http://www.livius.org/ga-gh/gandara/gandara.html Link] ] and a former satrapyof the Achaemenid Empire, although Kandahar in modern times and the ancient Gandhara are not the same, geographically. [W. Vogelsang, "Gandahar", in "The Circle Of Ancient Iranian Studies"] [ E. Herzfeld, "The Persian Empire: Studies on Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East", ed. G. Walser, Wiesbaden1968, pp. 279, 293-94, 336-38, 345] . Another possibility is that it could be derived from the Arabicrendering of Alexander's name. A temple to the deified Alexander as well as an inscription in Greek and Aramaicby the emperor Ashoka, who lived a few decades later, have been discovered in the old citadel. [Ashoka's Rock Edicts... [http://www.livius.org/a/pakistan/shahbazgarhi/shahbazgarhi2.html Link] ]
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree, the
University of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution, and others suggest that the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far. Dupree writes: quote|...Early peasant farming villages came into existence in Afghanistan ca. 5000 B.C., or 7000 years ago. "Deh Morasi Ghundai", the first prehistoric site to be excavated in Afghanistan, lies 27 km (17 mi.) southwest of Kandahar (Dupree, 1951). Another Bronze Agevillage mound site with multiroomed mud-brick buildings dating from the same period sits nearby at "Said Qala" (J. Shaffer, 1970). Second millennium B.C. Bronze Age pottery, copperand bronzehorse trappings and stone seals were found in the lowermost levels in the nearby cave called "Shamshir Ghar" (Dupree, 1950). In the Seistan, southwest of these Kandahar sites, two teams of American archaeologists discovered sites relating to the 2nd millennium B.C. (G. Dales, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1969, 1971; W, Trousdale, Smithsonian Institution, 1971 – 76). Stylistically the finds from "Deh Morasi" and "Said Qala" tie in with those of pre-Indus Valley sites and with those of comparable age on the Iranian Plateauand in Central Asia, indicating cultural contacts during this very early age...Dupree, Nancy Hatch (1971) "Sites in Perspective (Chapter 3)" "An Historical Guide To Afghanistan" Afghan Tourist Organization, Kabul, [http://worldcat.org/oclc/241390 OCLC 241390] [http://www.afghanan.net/afghanistan/alexander.htm Copy here is non-attributed.] ]
Kandahar was founded in 330 BC by
Alexander the Great, near the site of the ancient city of Mundigak (established around 3000 BC). Previously, the city was the provincial capital of Arachosiaand was ruled by the Achaemenid Empire. The main inhabitants of Arachosia were the "Pactyans", [Map of the Median Empirefrom the University of Texas in Austin, showing "Pactyans" in what is now Kandahar, Afghanistan... [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/oriental_empire.jpgLink] ] an ancient Iranian tribe, who were probably one of the ancestors of today's Pashtuns. Kandahar was named "Alexandria", a popular name given to many cities that Alexander founded or refounded during his conquests.Alexander the Great: his towns - "Alexandria in Arachosia"... [http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexandria/alexandria_arachosia.html Link] ]
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 subcontinentwith the Middle East, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. [Mentioned in Bopearachchi, "Monnaies Greco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", p52. Original text in paragraph 19 of [http://www.parthia.com/parthian_stations.htm#PARTHIAN_STATIONS Parthian stations] ] It later became part of the Mauryan Empireafter the departure of Alexander. The Mauryanemperor Ashokaerected a pillar there with a bilingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic. [Maurya dynasty... [http://www.livius.org/man-md/mauryas/mauryas.html Link] ] The Greco-Bactrian Kingdomoccupied Kandahar after the Mauryans, but then lost the city to the Indo-Greek Kingdom.
In the 7th century
AD, Arab armies brought the new religion of Islamto the region but were unable to succeed in fully converting the population. In 870 AD, Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, a local ruler of the Saffarid dynasty in Seistan, conquered Kandahar and the rest of the nearby regions in the name of Islam. Dupree writes: quote|...Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam came out of the west to defeat the Sasaniansin 642 AD and then they marched with confidence to the east. On the western periphery of the Afghan area the princes of Herat and Seistangave way to rule by Arab governorsbut in the east, in the mountains, cities submitted only to rise in revolt and the hastily converted returned to their old beliefs once the armies passed. The harshness and avariciousness of Arab rule produced such unrest, however, that once the waning power of the Caliphatebecame apparent, native rulers once again established themselves independent. Among these the Saffaridsof Seistan shone briefly in the Afghan area. The fanatic founder of this dynasty, the coppersmith’s apprentice Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, came forth from his capital at Zaranjin 870 AD and marched through Bost, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Bamiyan, Balkhand Herat, conquering in the name of Islam...Nancy Hatch Dupree - An Historical Guide To Afghanistan - "Sites in Perspective (Chapter 3)"... [http://www.zharov.com/dupree/chapter03.html Link] ]
Kandahar was taken by Sultan Mahmud of
Ghazniin the 11th century. In the 13th century it was invaded by Genghis Khanand his Mongol armies. It became part of the Timurid Empireduring the 14th century and 15th century, which was founded by Tamerlane. Pir Muhammad, grandson of Tamerlane, held the seat of government in Kandahar from about 1383 until his death in 1407. Following Pir Mohammad's death, the city was ruled by other Timurids. In the late 15th century Kandahar was entrusted to the Arghuns, who eventually achieved independence from the Timurids.
Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, annexed Kandahar in the 16th century. Babur's son, Humayun, lost it to the Shah of Persia. Humayun's son, Akbar, regained control of Kandahar but by the early 1700s subsequent Mughal emperors lost the territory once again to the Persians.
Mirwais Khan Hotak, a local Afghan ("Pashtun") from the Ghilzaiclan, revolted and killed Gurgin Khan, the Georgian governor who ruled in the name of the Persian Shah. Mirwais Khan succefully defeated the Persians, who were attempting to convert the local people from Sunnito the Shiasect of Islam. Mirwais Khan remained in power until his death in 1715 and was succeeded by his son, Mir Mahmud Hotaki. [Afghanland - "Mirwais Khan Hotak"... [http://www.afghanland.com/history/hotak.html Link] ]
In 1722, Mir Mahmud led an army of Afghans to
Isfahan(now in Iran), sacked the city and proclaimed himself King of Persia. The Hotaki dynastywas eventually removed from power by a new ruler, Nader ShahAfshar, who conquered Kandahar in 1738 but was assassinated nine years later. [Encyclopaedia Britannica - "The Hotakis (from Afghanistan)"... [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-21394/Afghanistan Link] ] Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun and chief of the Abdaliclan, gained control of Kandahar in 1747 and made it the capital of his new Afghan Empire. Previously, Ahmad Shah served as a military commander and personal bodyguard of Nader Shah of Persia. [Encyclopaedia Britannica - "The Durrani dynasty"... [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-21396/Afghanistan Link] ] His empire included present-day Afghanistan, the souther provinces of the then Soviet Russia, Pakistan, and Kohistan provinces of Iran. In October 1772, Ahmad Shah retired to his home in Maruf, Kandahar, where he died peacefully.Encyclopaedia Britannica -
"Ahmad Shah Durrani"... [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9004137/Ahmad-Shah-Durrani?source=YNFAF Link] ] The (now) "Old City" was laid out by Ahmad Shah and is dominated by his mausoleum. Between 1773-76, his eldest son
Timur Shah Durranitransferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul, where the Durranilegacy continued.
:"Under the shimmering turquoise dome that dominates the sand-blown city [of Kandahar] lies the body of
Ahmad Shah Abdali, the young Kandahari warrior who in 1747 became Afghanistan's (then Khorasan) Pashtun first king, crowned by Saber Shah Kabuli. The mausoleum is covered in deep blue and white tiles behind a small grove of trees, one of which is said to cure toothache, and is a place of pilgrimage. In front of it is a small mosque with a marble vault containing one of the holiest relics in the Islamic World, a "kherqa", the Sacred Cloak of Prophet Mohammed that was given to Ahmad Shah by Mured Beg, the Emir of Bokhara. The Sacred Cloak is kept locked away, taken out only at times of great crisis1 but the mausoleum is open and there is a constant line of men leaving their sandals at the door and shuffling through to marvel at the surprisingly long marble tomb and touch the glass case containing Ahmad Shah's brass helmet. Before leaving they bend to kiss a length of pink velvet said to be from his robe. It bears the unmistakable scent of jasmine.
::1 Until Mullah Omar took it out in November 1996 and displayed it to a crowd of "ulema" of religious scholars to have himself declared Amir-ud Momineen, Prince of all Islam, the last time had been when the city was struck by a cholera epidemic in the 1930s." [Lamb, Christina (2002). "The Sewing Circles of Herat". HarperCollins. First Perennial edition (2004), p. 38 and n. ISBN 0-06-050527-3.]
Kandahar was in the last 3 decades a center of
jihadand Mujahideenactivities, as well that of Taliban terrorists and Al-Kaida. On 28th Muharram1242 Hijri ( September 2, 1826) Syed Ahmad Shaheed's forces reached Kandahar en route to Peshawar. Their purpose was to wage jihad against the Sikh kingdom of Ranjit Singhand aid their fellow Pashtuns of the N.W.F.P. 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 forces from
British Indiaoccupied the city in 1839, during the first Anglo-Afghan war. 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. They emerged from the city in July 1880 to confront Ayub Khan, but were heavily defeated at the Battle of Maiwand. They were again forced to withdraw a few years later, despite winning a battle near the city (see Battle of Kandahar). Kandahar remained peaceful for the next 100 years.
In the 1960s,
Kandahar International Airportwas built, with the help of the United States Agency for International Development, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south-east of the city. It was used by the Red Army during their ten-year occupation of the country. As of 2001, the airport is used by the US and NATOforces as a military base.During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989), Kandahar was under Soviet command and witnessed heavy fighting. Soviet troops surrounded the city, and subjected it to a heavy artillery and air bombardment in which many civilians lost their lives. [Conflict Studies Journal at the University of New Brunswick... [http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/JCS/bin/get5.cgi?directory=fall99/&filename=WESTERMA.htm#39 Link] ] After the Soviet withdrawal and the fall of Najibullah's government in 1992, Kandahar fell into the hands of a local militia leader ( Gul Agha Sherzai).
In August 1994, the
Talibancaptured Kandahar and turned the city into their capital. [ Reuters, [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L20399641.htm Link] ] Since their removal in late 2001, smaller bands have spread throughout the nearby provinces. Kandahar once again came under the control of Gul Agha Sherzai, who had controlled the province and city before the rise of the Taliban, and was credited with permitting the same corruption that first fueled the growth of the Taliban. Sherzai was transferred in 2003 and replaced by Yusuf Pashtununtil the current Asadullah Khalidtook the post in 2005.
military of Afghanistan, which is supported by US-NATO forces, has gradually expanded its authority and presence throughout most of the country.Fact|date=November 2007 Kandahar is in full control of the new Afghan government, which is led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai. The Canadian Forcesmaintain their military command headquarters at Kandahar, being the main NATO-led security force in the province.
Kandahar International Airport has been used by the NATO forces to deliver troops and humanitarian supplies since late 2001. Repairs and upgrades also occurred during that period; the airport re-opened for civilian use in late 2006. [Pajhwok Afghan News - "AAA begins flights for Kandahar"... [http://www.pajhwok.com/viewstory.asp?lng=eng&id=28216 Link] ]
Commuters of the city use the public bus system (Millie Bus), and yellow taxicabs are common. Private vehicle use is increasing, partially due to road and highway improvements. Large dealerships are importing cars from
Dubai, UAE. [Lonely Planet - Tony Wheeler - "Afghanistan Practicalities"... [http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tonywheeler/my_lists/afghanistan_practicalities/ Link] ]
A proposed rail link is being studied to establish a rail link to neighboring
Pakistanto help facilitate trade and commerce between the two nations. Kandahar is connected by roads to the capital Kabuland to Quettain neighboring Pakistanwhere many of the Kandahari Pashtuntribesmen have set up shop and settled. 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 [cite news |first= James |last= Cogan |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Hundreds dead in fighting along Afghanistan-Pakistan border |url= http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/afgh-a16.shtml |work= World Socialist Web Site|publisher= |date=2008-08-16 |accessdate=2008-08-25 ] .
Communications and technology
Telecommunication services in the city are provided by InstaTelecom,
Afghan Wireless, Roshan, Etisalatand Areeba mobile companies. In November 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a US 64.5 million dollar agreement with a company (ZTE Corporation) for the establishment of a countrywide fiber optical cable network. This will improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services not just in Kandahar but throughout the country. [Pajhwok Afghan News - "Ministry signs contract with Chinese company"... [http://www.pajhwok.com/viewstory.asp?lng=eng&id=26882 Link] ]
Besides foreign channels, Afghanistan's local television channels include:
Ariana Afghanistan TV
Reconstruction and developments
Due to almost 30 years of destruction and no development, Kandahar (along with the rest of the country) is going through a nationwide reconstruction period. As of 2002, large amounts of money have been pouring in for construction purposes. New modern-style buildings are slowly replacing the older ones. Kandahar's major
highways were repaired and completed including the highway to Kabul. However, work on smaller roads in some parts around the city is still in progress.
Kandahar's residents have access to clean drinking water and 24 hour electricity. Although not every part of the city may receive it, plans and works are underway to extend these services to every home. [South Asian News Agency, [http://www.sananews.com.pk/news.php?netwire=8219&cwire=8219 "30 Power Generators to Be Installed in Kandahar"] ]
Up to 20,000 single-family homes and associated infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and
community buildings, including schools, are under construction on empty land in Kandahar. [ U.S. Department of State, [http://www.usinfo.state.gov/sa/Archive/2004/Jan/29-5307.html "U.S. Government Agency Grants $3 Million to Build Afghan Homes"] ]
About 6 miles (10km) east of Kandahar, a huge
industrial parkis 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. [Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, [http://www.aisa.org.af/ipda/kandahar.html "Afghanistan Industrial Parks Development Authority"] ]
A railroad track from the Pakistani town of
Chamanto Kandahar is planned for the near future. The feasibility studywas completed in or about early 2006, allowing for the next step to lay-down the rail track. The work on the rail track will take approximately 2 years to complete.
Places of interest
The most important historical monument in Kandahar is the mausoleum of
Ahmad Shah Durrani, who founded the Durrani Empire. The shrine of the Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed, adjoining Ahmad Shah’s mausoleum, is one of the holiest shrines in Afghanistan. The Mosque that contains "Hair" of Muhammad is located inside the covered bazaar, on the left as you enter from Kabul Bazaar.Nancy Hatch Dupree - An Historical Guide To Afghanistan - "The South (Chapter 16)"... [http://www.zharov.com/dupree/chapter16.html Link] ]
The charming 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 charming shrine dedicated to a celebrated saint who lived in Kandahar more than 300 years ago. The grave of "Hazratji Baba", convert|23|ft|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 pious martyrs (Shahidan: those who died in battle defending their land) 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 Afsharof 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 "Mir Wais Khan", 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, is also very popular for picnics and afternoon outings.
Kandahar International Airport
** Arghandab Valley
** Kandahar Valley (under construction)
** Mirwais Mina
** Shāri Noe
** Zoar Shār (Old City)
** Baba Saab (picnic area & weekend spot)
** Bāghi Pull (picnic area & weekend spot)
** Chilzina View (Moghul Emperor
** Kandahar Stadium
** Shāri Noe Fairground (local amusement park)
* Mosques and Shrines
** Friday Mosque
** Jama-e Mubārak or
Mosque of the Hair of the Prophet
** Shrine of Baba Wali
** Mausoleum of
Ahmad Shah Durrani
** Mausoleum of
Mirwais Khan Hotak
** Kandahar Museum
** Kabul Bazaar
** Shah Bazaar
** Shkar Pur Bazaar
** AIB Bank
Afghan National Army Regional Hospital
Al Bilal Hospital
Al Hadi Farhad Hospital
Notable people from Kandahar
Said Tayeb Jawad
Mirwais Khan Hotak
Mir Mahmud Hotaki
Gul Agha Sherzai
* Hill, John E. 2004. "The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu." Draft annotated English translation. [http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/hhshu/hou_han_shu.html]
* Hill, John E. 2004. "The Peoples of the West from the Weilue" 魏略 "by Yu Huan" 魚豢": A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE." Draft annotated English translation. [http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/weilue/weilue.html]
* Thapar, Romila (1963): "Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas". Oxford University Press. 3rd impression, New Delhi, 1980.
* Frye, Richard N. (1963). "The Heritage of Persia". World Publishing company, Cleveland, Ohio. Mentor Book edition, 1966.
* Toynbee, Arnold J. (1961). "Between Oxus and Jumna". London. Oxford University Press.
* Vogelsang, W. (1985). "Early historical Arachosia in South-east Afghanistan; Meeting-place between East and West." "Iranica antiqua", 20 (1985), pp. 55-99.
* Wood, Michael (1997). "In the footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia". BBC, London. First published 1997. Paperback Edition 2001.
* [http://www.afghanistan-photos.com/crbst_5.html Old photos of Kandahar]
* [http://www.zharov.com/dupree/chapter16.html Historical Guide To Afghanistan - Kandahar]
* [http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/CANinKandahar/ News about Canadian Forces in Kandahar, via MILNEWS.ca]
* [http://www.channel4.com/4car/gallery/gallery.jsp?id=929&page=13 Lancia Kandahar]
* [http://www.livius.org/ap-ark/arachosia/arachosia.html Arachosia]
* [http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexandria/alexandria_arachosia.html Alexandria in Arachosia]
* [http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v2f3/v2f3a010.html ARACHOSIA, province (satrapy)]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7193579.stm Kandahar's cemetery of 'miracles']
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