Kabul (/ˈkɑːbʊl, kəˈbʊl/; Pashto: کابل, IPA: [kɑˈbəl]; Dari: کابل, IPA: [kɒːˈbol]) is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. Located in the eastern half of the country, it is also a municipality, forming part of the Kabul Province; it is administratively divided into 22 municipal districts. According to 2021 estimates, the population of Kabul was 4.6 million.[5][6][7] In contemporary times, the city has served as Afghanistan's political, cultural, and economical centre,[8] and rapid urbanisation has made Kabul the 75th-largest city in the world.[9]

کابل  (Pashto)
کابل  (Dari)
Left-to-right from top:
Kabul River and Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque, Zarnegar Park Mausoleum housing Abdur Rahman Khan, Sakhi Shrine, Bagh-e Bala Palace, city skyline of Kabul in 2020
Coordinates: 34°31′31″N 69°10′42″E
Country Afghanistan
No. of districts22
No. of Gozars630
Capital formation1776[3]
  MayorHamdullah Nomani
  Deputy MayorMaulvi Abdul Rashid[4]
  Total1,028.24 km2 (397.01 sq mi)
  Land1,028.24 km2 (397.01 sq mi)
  Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
1,791 m (5,876 ft)
Time zoneUTC+4:30 (Afghanistan Standard Time)
Postal code
100X, 101X, 105X, 106X
Area code(+93) 20

The modern-day city of Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush, and is bounded by the Kabul River. At an elevation of 1,790 metres (5,873 ft), it is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Kabul is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Located at a crossroads in Asia—roughly halfway between Istanbul, Turkey, in the west and Hanoi, Vietnam, in the east—it is situated in a strategic location along the trade routes of Central Asia and South Asia, and was a key destination on the ancient Silk Road;[10] It was traditionally seen as the meeting point between Tartary, India, and Persia.[11] Kabul has also been under the rule of various other dynasties and empires, including the Seleucids, the Kushans, the Hindu Shahis, the Turk Shahis, the Samanids, the Khwarazmians, the Timurids, and the Mongols, among others. In the 16th century, the Mughal Empire used Kabul as an initial summer capital, during which time it increasingly prospered and increased in significance.[11] It briefly came under the control of the Afsharids following Nader Shah's invasion of India, until finally becoming coming under local rule by the Afghan Empire in 1747;[12] Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan in 1776, during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani (a son of Ahmad Shah Durrani).[3] In the 19th century, the city was occupied by the British, but after establishing foreign relations and agreements, they were compelled to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan and returned to British India.

Kabul is known for its historical gardens, bazaars, and palaces;[13][14][15] well-known examples are the Gardens of Babur and Darul Aman Palace, as well as the Arg. In the second half of the 20th century, it became a stop on the hippie trail undertaken by many Europeans,[16][17][18] and the city also gained the nickname "Paris of Central Asia" during this time.[1][2][19] However, this period of tranquility ended in 1978 with the Saur Revolution and subsequent Soviet military intervention in 1979, which sparked the protracted Soviet–Afghan War until 1989. The 1990s were marked by continuous civil wars between various splinter factions of the disbanded Afghan mujahideen, which destroyed much of the city.[20] In 1996, Kabul was captured by the Taliban after four years of intermittent fighting with other Afghan factions. However, the Taliban-ruled city soon fell to the United States after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2021, Kabul was re-captured by the Taliban following the withdrawal of American-led military forces from Afghanistan.

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