Sanskrit[ edit ] Recent Archeological unearthings of Sanskrit inscriptions attest to the prevalence of the Sanskrit alphabet in Afghanistan.
Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http: It once formed part of the empires of Persia and of Alexander the Great. Throughout the centuries, it has been a base for forays into Indiaand has bowed to a succession of princes and petty chieftains struggling for control of its strategic trade and invasion routes.
Modern Afghanistan did not evolve untilwhen principalities and fragmented provinces were consolidated into one kingdom by Ahmad Shah Durrani.
All of the country's successive rulers, until a Marxist coup inwere from Durrani's tribe. Soviet military assistance to the new government eventually led to large-scale invasion of Afghanistan's capital city, but the regime failed to validate either Soviet conquest or authority in other parts of the nation.
Soviet military occupation ended in February and Afghanistan endured a bloody civil war between the Afghan government and various factions of the fundamentalist Muslim guerrillas between and During the civil war, over 50, people lost their lives during the mujahidin infightings on Kabul's streets.
In andstudents from religious schools in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan--the Taliban--spread throughout the country, proclaiming hostility to the West and establishing a reordering of society based upon a strict interpretation of Shari'a, or Islamic law.
After the September 11 attacks on the United Statescarried out by members of Osama bin Laden 's al-Quaeda forces who were sheltered by the Taliban, the U. Afghan society and infrastructure, already decimated after two decades of war, must be rebuilt. Commanding the main approach to the historic Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan, the city lies in the eastern section of the country, miles from the Pakistan border.
The Kabul River which winds through the city is, except for an interval in early spring, little more than a partially dry, but always polluted, stream. The climate of the city is varied.
Kabul is in a low-rainfall area, and almost all precipitation occurs between November and May. The remaining months are virtually dry.
Strong afternoon winds, accompanied by dust storms, occur frequently in summer. Severe earthquakes are rare, but tremors are common. In Marchhowever, an earthquake in the northern Baghlan province about miles north of Kabulkilled thousands and was felt as far east as Pakistan.
It came to prominence early in the 16th century as the capital of the Mogul kingdom. There are old city walls in Kabul, the mausoleum of Timor Shah, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani who moved the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul, and the Arg or palace built to operate the Bala Hissar citadel, or seat of the rulers of Afghanistan.
Great Britain 's desire to control the routes to India precipitated the first of the Anglo-Afghan Warsand it was at Kabul that British forces were ambushed and nearly annihilated. The city was occupied again in during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, a struggle that established Afghanistan's borders with British India and Russia.
AfterKabul grew as an industrial center. Afghanistan's capital city is the site of Kabul University founded inwhich was closed in due to war. The Taliban reopened it inbut women were banned.
The medical school was the only institution to make an exception to the ban on women: With the defeat of the Taliban, 4, students have taken entrance exams for a new semester, and of them are women.
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