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{{About|the city in Afghanistan}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2012}}

Aerial view of Aino Mina in Kandahar|photo2a = Aerial photograph of Kandahar Province in 2011.jpg{{!}}Aerial photograph of an area near Kandahar|photo3a = Mausoleum of Baba Wali in 2011.jpg{{!}}Mausoleum of Baba Waliborder = 0}}| image_caption = From top: Aerial view near the city; Aerial view of the old city; Mausoleum of Baba Wali Kandahari| image_flag = | image_seal = | image_shield = | image_map = | map_caption = | pushpin_map = Afghanistan| pushpin_label_position = above| pushpin_mapsize = 300px| pushpin_map_caption = Location in Afghanistan31N43region:AF|display=inline,title}}| subdivision_type = CountryAfghanistan}}Provinces of Afghanistan>ProvinceKandahar Province>KandaharDistricts of Afghanistan>DistrictKandahar District>Kandahar| established_title = | established_date = | government_type = | government_footnotes = | leader_title = Mayor| leader_name = Rokhan Wolasmal| area_footnotes = | area_total_km2 = 273.37| area_land_km2 = | area_water_km2 = | area_water_percent = | elevation_footnotes = | elevation_m = 1010| population_footnotes = REF=UN-HABITAT ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20151031111515/HTTP://UNHABITAT.ORG/BOOKS/SOAC2015/ DF=, | population_as_of = 2015| population_density_km2 = auto| population_urban = | population_note = | timezone = Afghanistan Standard Time| utc_offset = +4:30| timezone_DST = | utc_offset_DST = | postal_code_type = | postal_code = | area_code =}}}}Kāndahār ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|k|ɑː|n|ð|ə|ˌ|h|ɑr}}) or Qāndahār (; ; known in older literature as Candahar) is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 557,118. Kandahar is located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of {{convert|1010|m|ft|sp=us|abbr=on}}. 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.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Kandahar, Columbia Encyclopedia, 9 January 2011, ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink The City of Kandahar, Columbia Encyclopedia, 9 January 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 15 May 2011, dmy-all, 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 {{circa}} 1000-750 BCE,F.R. Allchin (ed.), The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp.127-130 and it became an important outpost of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire in the 6th century BCE.Gérard Fussman, "Kandahar II. Pre-Islamic Monuments and Remains", in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012 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 ({{transl|grc|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-Qaeda 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.


One hypothesis of the name suggests that "Kandahar" has evolved from "Iskandar", the local dialect version of the name Alexander, after Alexander the Great who founded the city in 330 BC and named it Alexandria in Arachosia.John E. Hill, Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han dynasty, 1st to 2nd centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina, 2009. {{ISBN|978-1-4392-2134-1}}, pp. 517–518. This derivation, as that from Gondophares, was characterised as "philologiquement impossible" by P. Bernard, "Un probleme de toponymie antique dans l'Asie Centrale: les noms anciens de Qandahar", Studia Iranica, tome 3, 1974 and Afghanistan Quarterly, vol.33, no.1, June 1980/Spring 1359, pp.49–62, p59, n.10. A folk etymology offered is that the word "kand" or "qand" in Persian and Pashto (the local languages) means "candy". The name "Candahar" or "Kandahar" in this form probably translates to candy area. This probably has to do with the location being fertile and historically known for producing fine grapes, pomegranates, apricots, melons and other sweet fruits.{{Citation needed|date=June 2019}}Ernst Herzfeld claimed Kandahar perpetuated the name of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares, who re-founded the city under the name Gundopharron.Ernst Herzfeld, Archaeological History of Iran, London, Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1935, p.63; Ernst Herzfeld, The Persian Empire: Studies in Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East, Wiesbaden, Steiner, 1968, p.335. An alternative etymology derives the name of the city from Gandhara,Hobson Jobson Dictionary {{Webarchive|url= |date=7 July 2012 }}; The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Vaman Shivram Apte, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, India, 1975, {{ISBN|81-208-0567-4}}; P. Bernard, "Une probleme de toponymie antique dans l'Asie centrale: les noms anciens de Qandahar", Studia Iranica, tome 3 (fasc. 2) 1974, 171–185.. the name of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom located along the Kabul and Swat rivers of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan;WEB,weblink Gandara, Jona, Lendering, LIVIUS – Articles on Ancient History, 9 January 2011, Kandahar is not in the former territory of Gandhara.


{{History of Afghanistan}}


{{Further|Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan}}Excavations of prehistoric sites by archaeologists such as Louis Dupree and others suggest that the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far.
southwest of Kandahar (Dupree, 1951). Another Bronze Age village 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, copper and bronze horse 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 Plateau and in Central Asia, indicating cultural contacts during this very early age.BOOK, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, Dupree, Nancy Hatch, First Edition, 1970, Afghan Air Authority, Afghan Tourist Organization, Kabul, 492,weblink 2012-06-17, |N. Dupree|1971}}
British excavations in the 1970s discovered that Kandahar existed as a large fortified city during the early 1st millennium BCE; while this earliest period at Kandahar has not been precisely dated via radiocarbon, ceramic comparisons with the latest period at the major Bronze Age city of Mundigak have suggested an approximate time-frame of 1000 to 750 BCE. This fortified city became an important outpost of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, and formed part of the province of Arachosia.


{{Further|Alexandria in Arachosia}}The now "Old Kandahar" was founded in 330 BC by Alexander the Great, near the site of the ancient city of Mundigak (established around 3000 BC). Mundigak served as the provincial capital of Arachosia and was ruled by the Medes followed by the Achaemenids until the arrival of the Greeks from Macedonia. The main inhabitants of Arachosia were the Pactyans,Map of the Median Empire from the University of Texas in Austin, showing Pactyans in what is now Kandahar, Afghanistan ... Link an ancient Iranian tribe, who may be among the ancestors of today's Pashtuns. Kandahar was named Alexandria, a name given to cities that Alexander founded during his conquests.WEB,weblink Alexandria in Arachosia, Jona, Lendering, LIVIUS – Articles on Ancient History, 9 January 2011, Kandahar has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia, controlling the main trade route linking the Indian subcontinent with the Middle East and Central Asia.Mentioned in Bopearachchi, "Monnaies Greco-Bactriennes et Indo-Grecques", p52. Original text in paragraph 19 of Parthian stations The territory became part of the Seleucid Empire after the death of Alexander. It is mentioned by Strabo that a treaty of friendship was established eventually between the Greeks and the Mauryas (Indians).WEB,weblink An Historical Guide to Kabul â€“ The Story of Kabul, Nancy Hatch Dupree / Aḥmad Ê»AlÄ« Kuhzād, American International School of Kabul, 1972, 2010-09-18, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2010-08-30, WEB,weblink Maurya dynasty, Jona, Lendering, LIVIUS – Articles on Ancient History, 9 January 2011, The city eventually became part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (250 BC-125 BC), and continued that way for two hundred years under the later Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BC – 10 CE). King Menander I (165 BC – 135 BC) of the Indo-Greek Kingdom practiced Greco-Buddhism and is recorded by the Mahavamsa (Chap. XXIXFull text of the Mahavamsa Click chapter XXIX) to have sent "a Greek ("Yona") Buddhist head monk" named Mahadharmaraksita (literally translated as 'Great Teacher/Preserver of the Dharma') with 30,000 Buddhist monks from "the Greek city of Alasandra" (possibly Alexandria in Arachosia, as Kandhar was known under the Greeks) to Sri Lanka for the dedication of Great Stupa Buddhist temple in Anuradhapura. File:AsokaKandahar.jpg|thumb|upright|Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by Emperor Ashoka, from ChilzinaChilzinaWhile the Diadochi were warring amongst themselves, the Mauryas were developing in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The founder of the empire, Chandragupta Maurya, confronted a Macedonian invasion force led by Seleucus I in 305 BC and following a brief conflict, an agreement was reached as Seleucus ceded Gandhara and Arachosia and areas south of Bagram to the Mauryas. During the 120 years of the Mauryas in southern Afghanistan, Buddhism was introduced and eventually become a major religion alongside Zoroastrianism and local pagan beliefs. The ancient Grand Trunk Road was built linking what is now Kabul to various cities in the Punjab and the Gangetic Plain. Commerce, art, and architecture (seen especially in the construction of stupas) developed during this period. It reached its high point under the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka whose edicts, roads, and rest stops were found throughout the subcontinent. Although the vast majority of them throughout the subcontinent were written in Prakrit, Afghanistan is notable for the inclusion of two Greek and Aramaic ones alongside the court language of the Mauryas.Inscriptions made by Emperor Ashoka, a fragment of Edict 13 in Greek, as well as a full Edict, written in both Greek and Aramaic has been discovered in Kandahar. It is said to be written in excellent Classical Greek, using sophisticated philosophical terms. In this Edict, Ashoka uses the word Eusebeia ("Piety") as the Greek translation for the ubiquitous "Dharma" of his other Edicts written in Prakrit. The last ruler in the region was probably Subhagasena (Sophagasenus of Polybius), who, in all probability, belonged to the Ashvaka (q.v.) background.

Islamization and Mongol invasion

{{Further|Islamic conquest of Afghanistan}}File:The Surrender of Kandahar.jpg|thumb|upright|A miniature from Padshahnama depicting the surrender of the Shi'a Safavid garrison at what is now Old Kandahar in 1638 to the Mughal army of Shah JahanShah JahanIn the 7th century AD, Arab armies conquered the region with the new religion of Islam but were unable to succeed in fully converting the population. The leader of the expedition that conquered the city was Abbad ibn Ziyad, who governed Sijistan between 673 and 681.{{EI2|article=ʿAbbād b. Ziyād|last=Zetterstéen|first=K. V.|volume=1|page=5}} In AD 870, Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, a local ruler of the Saffarid dynasty, conquered Kandahar and the rest of the nearby regions in the name of Islam.It is believed that the Zunbil dynasty, who were related to the Shahi dynasty of Kabul, were probably the rulers of the Kandahar region from the 7th century until the late 9th century AD.Excavations at Kandahar 1974 & 1975 (Society for South Asian Studies Monograph) by Anthony McNicoll. Kandahar was taken by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century followed by the Ghurids of Ghor. The region was invaded in the 13th century by Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies, who caused destruction but did not settle. It became part of the lands of the Timurids from the 14th century to the 15th century, a dynasty founded by Timur (Tamerlane) that began rebuilding cities and towns. Kandahar was described by Ibn Battuta in 1333 as a large and prosperous town three nights journey from Ghazni.BOOK, Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325–1354, Ibn Battuta, reprint, illustrated, 2004, Routledge, 0-415-34473-5, 179,weblink 2012-08-04, Pir Muhammad, a grandson of Tamerlane, held the seat of government in Kandahar from about 1383 until his death in 1407. Following his death, the city was ruled by other Timurid governors. Kandahar was entrusted to the Arghuns in the late 15th century, who eventually achieved independence from the Timurids. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have visited the town (c. 1521 AD) during his important journey between Hindustan and Mecca in Arabia.Tamerlane's descendant, Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, annexed Kandahar in 1508. In 1554, Babur's son, Humayun, handed it over to the Safavid Shah Tahmasp in return of 70,000 soldiers he received from the Shah to reconquer India. In 1595, Humayun's son Akbar the Great conquered the city by diplomacy. Akbar died in 1605 and when this news reached the Persian court, Shah Abbas ordered his army to besiege the city which continued until early 1606 and finally failed due to the reinforcements send by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir forced the Safavid retreat. In the Mughal–Safavid War, Kandahar was once again lost to the Safavids. Kandahar was regarded as important to the Mughal Empire because it was one of the gateways to India, and Mughal control over Kandahar helped to prevent foreign intrusions.BOOK, Sen, Sailendra, A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Primus Books, 2013, 978-93-80607-34-4, 151, 162, 169–170, The memory of the wars fought over Kandahar at this time is preserved in the epic poem Qandahār-nāma ("The Campaign Against Qandahār"), a major work of Saib Tabrizi which is a classic of Persian literature.

Modern history

{{Further|Hotak dynasty|Durrani Empire}}File:Kandahar fourthcity durrani.jpg|thumb|right|250px|This lithograph is taken from plate 23 of Afghaunistan by Lieutenant James RattrayJames RattrayMirwais Hotak, chief of the Ghilji tribe, revolted in 1709 by killing Gurgin Khan, an ethnic Georgian subject and governor of the Shia Safavid Persians. After establishing the Hotak dynasty in Kandahar, Mirwais and his army successfully defeated subsequent expeditions by Kay Khusraw and Rustam Khán. Mirwais resisted attempts by the Persian government who were seeking to convert the Afghans from Sunni to the Shia sect of Islam. He died of a natural death in November 1715 and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz, but after being suspected of giving Kandahar's sovereignty back to the Persians he was killed by his nephew Mahmud Hotak.WEB,weblink AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF PERSIA DURING THE LAST TWO CENTURIES (A.D. 1722–1922), 29, Edward Granville Browne, Packard Humanities Institute, London, 24 September 2010, BOOK, History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878, Malleson, George Bruce, 1878,, London, 1-4021-7278-8, 227,weblink 27 September 2010, File:Coronation of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747 by Breshna.jpg|left|thumb|250px|Painting by Abdul Ghafoor Breshna depicting the 1747 coronation of Ahmad Shah Durrani, who is regarded as the founding father of Afghanistan (Father of the NationFather of the NationFile:Kandahar-1881.jpg|left|thumb|250px|British and allied forces at Kandahar after the 1880 Battle of Kandahar, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The large defensive wall around the city was finally removed in the early 1930s by the order of King Nader Khan, the father of King Zahir Shah.]]In 1722, Mahmud led an army of Afghans to the Safavid capital Isfahan and proclaimed himself King of Persia. The Hotak dynasty was eventually removed from power by a new Persian ruler, Nader Shah. In 1738, Nader Shah invaded Afghanistan and destroyed the now Old Kandahar, which was held by Hussain Hotak and his Ghilji tribes.WEB,weblink Last Afghan empire, Louis Dupree, Nancy H. Dupree and others, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 24 September 2010, In the meantime, Nader Shah freed Ahmad Khan (later Ahmad Shah Durrani) and his brother Zulfikar who were held prisoners by the Hotak ruler. Before leaving southern Afghanistan for Delhi in India, Nader Shah laid out the foundation for a new town to be built next to the destroyed ancient city, naming it "Naderabad". His rule ended in June 1747 after being murdered by his Persian guards.The Afghans (2002) by Willem Vogelsang. Page 228.Ahmad Shah Durrani, chief of the Durrani tribe, gained control of Kandahar and made it the capital of his new Afghan Empire in October 1747. Previously, Ahmad Shah served as a military commander of Nader Shah Afshar. His empire included present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Khorasan and Kohistan provinces of Iran, along with Punjab in India. In October 1772, Ahmad Shah retired and died from a natural cause.WEB,weblink Aḥmad Shah Durrānī, Encyclopædia Britannica Online Version, 9 January 2011, A new city was laid out by Ahmad Shah and is dominated by his mausoleum, which is adjacent to the Mosque of the Cloak in the center of the city. By 1776, his eldest son Timur Shah had transferred Afghanistan's main capital from Kandahar to Kabul, where the Durrani legacy continued.In September 1826, Syed Ahmad Shaheed's followers arrived to Kandahar in search of volunteers to help them wage jihad against the Sikh invaders to what is now Pakistan. Led by Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs had captured several of Afghanistan's territories in the east, including what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir. More than 400 local Kandahar warriors assembled themselves for the jihad. Sayed Din Mohammad Kandharai was appointed as their leader.British-led Indian forces from neighbouring British India invaded the city in 1839, during the First Anglo-Afghan War, but withdrew 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 the forces of Ayub Khan, but were defeated at the Battle of Maiwand. They were again forced to withdraw a few years later, despite winning the Battle of Kandahar.Kandahar remained peaceful for the next 100 years, except during 1929 when loyalists of Habibullah Kalakani (Bache Saqqaw) placed the fortified city on lock-down and began torturing its population. Nobody was allowed to enter or leave from within the city's tall defensive walls, and as a result of this many people suffered after running out of food supplies. This lasted until October 1929 when Nadir Khan and his Afghan army came to eliminate Kalakani, known as the Tajik bandit from the village of Kalakan in northern Kabul Province.(File:KandaharMosque02.JPG|thumb|200px|Mausoleum of Mirwais Hotak)During Zahir Shah's rule, the city slowly began expanding by adding modern style streets and housing schemes. In the 1960s, during the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, Kandahar International Airport was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers next to the city. The U.S. also completed several other major projects in Kandahar and in other parts of southern Afghanistan. In the meantime, Soviet engineers were busy building major infrastructures in other parts of the country, such as Bagram Airfield and Kabul International Airport.During the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War, Kandahar witnessed heavy fighting as it became a center of resistance as the mujahideen forces waged a strong guerrilla warfare against the Soviet-backed government, who tightly held on control of the city. Government and Soviet troops surrounded the city and subjected it to heavy air bombardment in which many civilians lost lives.WEB,weblink The Limits of Soviet Airpower: The Failure of Military Coercion in Afghanistan, 1979–89, Edward B. Westermann, University of New Brunswick, 9 January 2011, In January 1982 indiscriminate shelling and bombing by the Soviets killed hundredsweblinkweblink 300 civilians were killed during Soviet bombings in July 1984weblink Kandahar International Airport was used by the Soviet Army during their ten-year troop placement in the country. The city also became a battle ground for the US and Pakistani-backed against the pro-Communist government of Afghanistan. After the Soviet withdrawal and the collapse of Najibullah's government in 1992, Kandahar fell to local mujahideen commander, Gul Agha Sherzai. However Sherzai lacked authority against other local commanders which led to lawlessness in the cityweblink August 1994 the Taliban movement captured Kandahar from commander Mullah Naqib almost without a fightweblink and turned the city to its capital. The Taliban introduced a strict form of sharia law, banning formal education for boys and girls, including watching TV, films, music, and playing sports. In December 1999, a hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 plane by Pakistani militants loyal to Harkat-ul-Mujahideen landed at Kandahar International Airport and kept the passengers hostage as part of a demand to release 3 Pakistani militants from prison in India.

21st century

{{Further|International Security Assistance Force|Presidency of Hamid Karzai}}File:KANDAHAR TEN-MILER.jpg|thumb|U.S. Army troops in 2009 passing by the starting point of the Army Ten-Miler run at their base next to Kandahar International AirportKandahar International AirportIn October 2001, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States Navy began hitting targets inside the city by precision-guided cruise missiles that were fired from the Persian Gulf. These targets were the airport and buildings that were occupied by the Taliban, including Arab families who had arrived several years earlier and were residing in the area.BBC News, Kandahar's cemetery of 'miracles' About a month later, the Taliban began surrendering in mass numbers to a private militia that had been formed by Gul Agha Sherzai and Hamid Karzai.NEWS,weblink Home Free, Hamid Karzai dreamed for years of his eventual homecoming. But for both him and his newly reborn nation, the journey has only begun, Time, 9 January 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 24 July 2009, Kandahar once again fell into the hands of Sherzai, who had control over the area before the rise of the Taliban. He was transferred in 2003 and replaced by Yousef Pashtun until Asadullah Khalid took the post in 2005. The current Governor of the province is Toryalai Wesa. He was appointed by President Hamid Karzai in December 2008 after Rahmatullah Raufi's four-month rule.File:Afghan National Security Force soldiers provide security for the Kandahar Nursing and Midwifery Institute.jpg|thumb|Afghan National Security Forces and members of ISAF providing security in 2012.]]As of 2002, Kandahar International Airport is used by members of the United States armed forces and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). NATO began training the newly formed Afghan National Police and are now given the security responsibility of the city. The military of Afghanistan, backed by NATO forces, has gradually expanded its authority and presence throughout most of the country. The 205th Corps of the Afghan National Army is based at Kandahar and provides military assistance to the south of the country. The Canadian Forces maintain their military command headquarters at Kandahar, heading the Regional Command South of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force in Kandahar Province. The Taliban also have supporters inside the city reporting on events.BBC News, Kandahar dreamers test Taliban edictsNATO forces expanded the Afghan police force for the prevention of a Taliban comeback in Kandahar, the militants' "spiritual birthplace" and a strategic key to ward off the Taliban insurgency, as a part of a larger effort that also aimed to deliver services such as electricity and clean drinking water that the Taliban could not provide – encouraging support for the government in a city that was once the Taliban's headquarters. The most significant battle between NATO troops and the Taliban lasted throughout the summer of 2006, culminating in Operation Medusa. The Taliban failed to defeat the Western troops in open warfare, which marked a turn in their tactics towards IED emplacement.WEB,weblink Removed: news agency feed article, the Guardian, 6 May 2016, In June 2008, it was reported that over 1,000 inmates had escaped from Sarposa prison. In Spring 2010, the province and the city of Kandahar became a target of American operations following Operation Moshtarak in the neighboring Helmand Province.WEB,weblink Kandahar, a Battlefield Even Before U.S. Offensive, 27 March 2010, The New York Times, 6 May 2016, In March 2010, U.S. and NATO commanders released details of plans for the biggest offensive of the war against the Taliban insurgency.WEB,weblink Q+A – NATO sees Kandahar battle as Afghan turning point, Reuters Editorial, 31 March 2010, Reuters India, 6 May 2016, File:Crocker and Wesa in 2012.jpg|left|thumb|U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Toryalai Wesa, the Governor of Kandahar Province.]]In May 2010 Kandahar International Airport became subject of a combined rocket and ground attack by insurgents, following similar attacks on Kabul and Bagram in the preceding weeks. Although this attack did not lead to many casualties on the side of NATO forces, it did show that the militants are still capable of launching multiple, coordinated operations in Afghanistan. In June 2010, a shura was held by Afghan President Hamid Karzai with tribal and religious leaders of the Kandahar region. The meeting highlighted the need for support of NATO-led forces in order to stabilize parts of the province.By 2011, Kandahar became known as the assassination city of Afghanistan after witnessing many target killings. In July Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, was shot by his longtime head of security. Soon after the Quetta Shura of the Taliban claimed responsibility. The next day an Islamic cleric (mulla) of the famous Red Mosque in the Shahr-e Naw area of the city and a number of other people were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber who had hidden explosives inside his turban. On 27 July 2011, the mayor of the city, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, was assassinated by another Taliban militant who had hidden explosives in his turban. Two deputy mayors had been killed in 2010,WEB,weblink Kandahar mayor killed in suicide attack; Taliban claim responsibility, 6 May 2016, while many tribal elders and Islamic clerics have also been assassinated in the last several years.Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy network is often blamed as the masterminds behind the Taliban-led insurgency.NEWS,weblink U.S. blames Pakistan agency in Kabul attack, Reuters, 22 September 2011, 22 September 2011, NEWS,weblink ISI still engaged with the Taliban: US expert, 6 June 2013, 2013-06-09, Pajhwok Afghan News, The Afghan government alleges that the ISI is using the insurgents in the name of Islamic jihad to counter the growing influence of its rival India in Afghanistan and the Afghan claim regarding the disputed Durand Line border.Pakistan a twin brother, talks to go on: Karzai. Pajhwok Afghan News. Sujoy Dhar. 5 October 2011. The overwhelming majority of the victims in the attacks are ordinary Afghan civilians.Challenges remain despite reduced rebel attacks: ISAF. Pajhwok Afghan News. 10 October 2011. On 6 June 2012, at least 21 civilians were killed and 50 others injured when two Taliban suicide bombers on motorcycles blew themselves up in a market area near Kandahar International Airport.NEWS,weblink 21 killed, 50 injured in twin suicide blasts (Video), Pajhwok Afghan News, Siddiqullah, 7 June 2012, 8 June 2012,


The Arghandab River runs along the west of Kandahar. The city has 15 districts and a total land area of 27,337 hectares.WEB, The State of Afghan Cities report 2015,weblink UN-Habitat, The total number of dwellings in Kandahar is 61,902.

Land Use

Kandahar is the Regional Hub in southern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan. Non-built up land use accounts for 59% of the total land area. Within the built-up area, vacant plots occupy a slightly higher percentage of land (36%) than residential land (34%). There is a significant commercial cluster along the road to Pakistan in District 5. India, Iran and Pakistan operate their consulate here for trade, military and political links.


Kandahar has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BWh),weblink {{ru icon}} characterised by little precipitation and high variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summers start in mid-May, last until late-September, and are extremely dry. Temperatures peak in July with a 24-hour daily average of around {{convert|31.9|°C|1}}. They are followed by dry autumns from early October to late November, with days still averaging in the 20s °C (above 68 Â°F) into November, though nights are sharply cooler. Winter begins in December and sees most of its precipitation in the form of rain. Temperatures average {{convert|5.1|°C|1}} in January, although lows can drop well below freezing. They end in early-March and are followed by a pleasant spring till late-April with temperatures generally in the upper 10s °C to lower 30s °C (65–88 Â°F) range. Sunny weather dominates year-round, especially in summer, when rainfall is extremely rare. The annual mean temperature is {{convert|18.6|°C|1}}.{{Weather box|width = auto|location = Kandahar (1964–1983)|metric first = Y|single line = Y|Jan record high C = 25.0|Feb record high C = 26.0|Mar record high C = 36.5|Apr record high C = 37.1|May record high C = 43.0|Jun record high C = 45.0|Jul record high C = 46.5|Aug record high C = 44.5|Sep record high C = 41.0|Oct record high C = 37.5|Nov record high C = 31.5|Dec record high C = 26.0|Jan high C = 12.2|Feb high C = 14.8|Mar high C = 21.6|Apr high C = 28.1|May high C = 34.1|Jun high C = 39.1|Jul high C = 40.2|Aug high C = 38.2|Sep high C = 34.0|Oct high C = 27.5|Nov high C = 21.0|Dec high C = 15.4|year high C = 27.2|Jan mean C = 5.1|Feb mean C = 7.8|Mar mean C = 13.9|Apr mean C = 20.2|May mean C = 25.4|Jun mean C = 30.0|Jul mean C = 31.9|Aug mean C = 29.4|Sep mean C = 23.5|Oct mean C = 17.5|Nov mean C = 11.0|Dec mean C = 7.3|Jan low C = 0.0|Feb low C = 2.4|Mar low C = 7.1|Apr low C = 12.3|May low C = 15.8|Jun low C = 19.5|Jul low C = 22.5|Aug low C = 20.0|Sep low C = 13.5|Oct low C = 8.5|Nov low C = 3.3|Dec low C = 1.0|year low C = 10.5|Jan record low C = −12.1|Feb record low C = -10.0|Mar record low C = −4.8|Apr record low C = 2.0|May record low C = 2.4|Jun record low C = 8.5|Jul record low C = 13.5|Aug record low C = 9.0|Sep record low C = 5.2|Oct record low C = -2.2|Nov record low C = −9.3|Dec record low C = −11.4|precipitation colour = green|Jan precipitation mm = 54.0|Feb precipitation mm = 42.0|Mar precipitation mm = 41.1|Apr precipitation mm = 18.7|May precipitation mm = 2.2|Jun precipitation mm = 0|Jul precipitation mm = 2.3|Aug precipitation mm = 1.0|Sep precipitation mm = 0|Oct precipitation mm = 2.3|Nov precipitation mm = 7.0|Dec precipitation mm = 20.0|Jan precipitation days = 6|Feb precipitation days = 6|Mar precipitation days = 6|Apr precipitation days = 4|May precipitation days = 1|Jun precipitation days = 0|Jul precipitation days = 0|Aug precipitation days = 0|Sep precipitation days = 0|Oct precipitation days = 1|Nov precipitation days = 2|Dec precipitation days = 3|Jan sun = 198.4|Feb sun = 183.6|Mar sun = 235.6|Apr sun = 255.0|May sun = 347.2|Jun sun = 369.0|Jul sun = 341.0|Aug sun = 337.9|Sep sun = 324.0|Oct sun = 306.9|Nov sun = 264.0|Dec sun = 217.0|Jan humidity = 58|Feb humidity = 59|Mar humidity = 50|Apr humidity = 41|May humidity = 30|Jun humidity = 23|Jul humidity = 25|Aug humidity = 25|Sep humidity = 24|Oct humidity = 29|Nov humidity = 40|Dec humidity = 52|source 1 = NOAA (1964–1983)WEB
, Kandahar Climate Normals 1964–1983
, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
, December 26, 2012, |date=August 2010


{{Further|Transport in Afghanistan|Highway 1 (Afghanistan)}}(File:Aerial view of Kandahar Airport in 2005.jpg|thumb|left|View of the airport in 2005)File:Kam Air at Kandahar International Airport in 2012.jpg|thumb|A Kam Air passenger plane at Kandahar International AirportKandahar International AirportKandahar International Airport serves as southern Afghanistan's main airport for domestic and international flights. It is also used as a major military base as well as shipping and receiving of supplies for the NATO armies. The entire area in and around the airport is heavily guarded but a section is designated for civilian passengers. Most international flights are with Dubai, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.Pakistan plans to build a railroad track from the Pakistani town of Chaman to KandaharNEWS, Sial, Amer, Pak Railways poised to get massive funding from CPEC and CAREC,weblink 23 March 2017, Pakistan Today, 2016-08-18, which will connect Afghan Railways with Pakistan Railways. The feasibility study was completed in 2006NEWS, Javed Hamim, Kakar, Pakistan, Afghanistan ink MoU on rail links,weblink Pajhwok Afghan News, 7 July 2010, 23 October 2008, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 13 March 2012, but {{As of|2012|lc=y}} no construction work had begun.Kandahar-Quetta bus service soonBy Bashir Ahmad Naadim Jul 20, 2012 – 17:17,weblink is connected to Quetta Pakistan Via Chaman Boarder and Kabul by the Kabul-Kandahar Highway and to Herat by the Kandahar-Herat Highway. There is a bus station located at the start of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, where a number of privately owned older-model Mercedes-Benz coach buses are available to take passengers to most major cities of the country. Kandahar is also connected by road to Quetta in neighboring Pakistan. 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.NEWS, James, Cogan, Hundreds dead in fighting along Afghanistan-Pakistan border,weblink World Socialist Web Site, 16 August 2008, 25 August 2008, NEWS, Salih Muhammad, Salih, Siddique, Abubakar, Death stalks the highway to hell,weblink Asia Times Online, 23 October 2008, 23 October 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 27 August 2011, yes, Commuters of the city use the public bus system (Milli Bus), and taxicabs and rickshaws are common. Private vehicle use is increasing, partially due to road and highway improvements. Large dealerships are importing cars from Dubai, UAE.WEB,weblink Afghanistan Practicalities, Lonely Planet, Tony, Wheeler, 6 June 2006, 9 January 2011, Afghanistan's road network consists of 3442 km of regional highways, 4802 km of national highways, 9600km of provincial roads and 17000km of rural roads. WEB,weblink High-Level Segment Roundtable Tranportation, Minister of Economy Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2019-08-22,


{{Further|Education in Afghanistan}}File:School children watch members of Afghan National Security Force and Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.jpg|thumb|Children from the Zarghona Ana High School watch members of Afghan National Security Force and Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction TeamProvincial Reconstruction TeamBefore the 1978 coup in Kabul, majority of the city's population were enrolled in schools.{{citation needed|date=May 2014}} Nearly all of the elite class of the city fled to neighboring Pakistan during the early 1980s, and from there they began immigrating to North America, the European Union, Australia and other parts of the world.{{citation needed|date=May 2014}}The two oldest known schools are Ahmad Shah Baba High School and Zarghona Ana High School. There are a number of new schools that opened in the last decade, with more being built in the future as the city's population grows with the large returning Afghans from neighboring countries. Afghan Turk High Schools is one of the top private schools in the city. The main university is Kandahar University. A number of training centers have also opened in the last decade.{{citation needed|date=May 2014}}


{{Further|Communications in Afghanistan}}Telecommunication services in the city are provided by Afghan Wireless, Roshan, Etisalat, MTN Group and Afghan Telecom. In November 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 million agreement with ZTE for the establishment of a countrywide fiber optical cable network. This was intended to improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services not just in Kandahar but throughout the country.Besides foreign channels, Afghanistan's local television channels include:{{div col|colwidth=20em}} {{div col end}}

Places of interest

File:Ruins of old Kandahar Citadel in 1881.jpg|thumb|upright|An 1881 photo showing the ruined Old Kandahar citadel of Shah Hussain Hotak that was destroyed by the Afsharid forces of Nader ShahNader ShahThe tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani is located in the city center, which also houses Durrani's brass helmet and other personal items. In front of Durrani's mausoleum is the Shrine of the Cloak, containing one of the most valued relics in the Islamic world, which was given by the Emir of Bokhara (Murad Beg) to Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Sacred Cloak is kept locked away, taken out only at times of great crisis. Mullah Omar took it out in November 1996 and displayed it to a crowd of ulema of religious scholars to have himself declared Amir al-Mu'minin (Commander of the Faithful). Prior to that it was taken out when the city was struck by a cholera epidemic in the 1930s.Lamb, Christina (2002). The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan. Harper Collins. First Perennial edition (2004), p. 38 and n. {{ISBN|0-06-050527-3}}.The 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 shrine dedicated to a saint who lived in Kandahar more than 300 years ago. The grave of Hazratji Baba, {{convert|23|ft|m|order=flip}} long to signify his greatness, but otherwise covered solely by rock chips, is undecorated save for tall pennants at its head. A monument to Islamic martyrs stands in the center of Kandahar's main square, called Da Shahidanu Chawk, which was built in the 1940s.File:Old Kandahar and Chil Zena.jpg|thumb|Ancient city of Old Kandahar (red) and ChilzinaChilzinaThe 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. This is here that Ashoka's Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription was found. 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 Afshar of 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 Mirwais Hotak, the Ghiljai chieftain who declared Kandahar's independence from the Persians in 1709. The shrine of Baba Wali KandhariWEB,weblink Punja Sahib: The Miracle at Hassan Abdal, Wonders of Pakistan, 6 May 2016, (Baba Sahib), its terraces shaded by pomegranate groves beside the Arghandab River, is also very popular for picnics and afternoon outings. He was Muslim pir who had a strange encounter with Guru Nanak at Hasan Abdal in what is now Attock District of Pakistan. The shrine of Baba Wali is important to Muslims and Sikhs. Close to Baba Wali's shrine is a military base established by the United States armed forces in about 2007.

Development and modernization

File:Aino Mina housing model.jpg|thumb|The original model plan of the Aino Mina neighborhood, which began in 2003 by Mahmud KarzaiMahmud KarzaiDecades of war left Kandahar and the rest of the country destroyed and depopulated, but in recent years billions of dollars began pouring in for construction purposes and millions of expats have returned to Afghanistan. New neighborhoods have been established around the city, and a number of modern-style buildings have been constructed.Some residents of the city have access to clean drinking water and electricity, and the government is working to extend these services to every home.South Asian News Agency, 30 Power Generators to Be Installed in Kandahar{{Dead link|date=August 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} The city relies on electricity from the Kajaki hydroelectricity plant in neighboring Helmand, which is being upgraded or expanded. About {{convert|20|mi|km|sigfig=1|abbr=on|order=flip}} north of the city is the Dahla Dam, the second largest dam in Afghanistan.The Aino Mina is a new housing project for up to two million people on the northern edge of the city.WEB,weblink Aino Mina Development, 6 May 2016, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2016, dmy-all, Originally called the Kandahar Valley and started by Mahmud Karzai,NEWS,weblink Spending Time With the Karzais in (Parts of) Kandahar, The New York Times, July 19, 2011, 2012-10-20, Jake, Cusack, it was announced that the project would build up to 20,000 single-family homes and associated infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and community buildings, including schools.U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Agency Grants $3 Million to Build Afghan Homes {{webarchive|url= |date=4 October 2006 }}It recently won 2 awards, the Residential Project and Sustainable Project of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards.WEB,weblink Case study: Aino Mina, Design Middle East, 6 May 2016, Many of the high-ranking government employees and civil servants as well as wealthy businessmen live in this area, which is a more secured community in Kandahar. Work on the next $100 million scheme was initiated in 2011.Also, construction of Hamidi Township in the Morchi Kotal area of the city began in August 2011. It is named after Ghulam Haider Hamidi, the mayor of Kandahar who was assassinated by militants in late July 2011.Kandahar mayor killed by suicide bomber with explosives in turban{{dead link|date=December 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} Situated along the Kandahar-Uruzgan Highway in the northeast of the city, the new township will have 2,000 residential and commercial plots. Including new roads, schools, commercial markets, clinics, canals and other facilities.NEWS,weblink Construction of Hameedi township starts in Kandahar, 16 August 2011, Bashir Ahmed, Naadem, 16 August 2011, About {{convert|10|km|0|abbr=on}} east of Kandahar, a huge industrial park is 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, Afghanistan Industrial Parks Development Authority {{webarchive|url= |date=21 July 2006 }}File:Baba Saab.JPG|thumb|The mausoleum of Baba Wali KandhariBaba Wali KandhariFile:Mosque in Kandahar-2011.jpg|thumb|The mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani in the center of the city, which also serves as the Congregational Mosque and contains a sacred cloak that used to be worn by Islam's Prophet MuhammadMuhammad(File:Buildings in Kandahar2.jpg|thumb|Al-Jadeed indoor shopping center in the Shahre Naw section of the city.)(File:Park in Kandahar.jpg|thumb|Local children watching a football match at the playground of Ahmad Shah Baba High School.)(File:View of Arghandab Valley.jpg|thumb|200px|Arghandab Valley)(File:The mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Ahmad Shah Baba).jpg|thumb|200px|Mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Durrani)(File:Governor's courtyard in Kandahar.jpg|thumb|200px|Governor's Mansion)



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Cultural sites and parks

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Mosques and shrines

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{{div col|colwidth=15em}}
  • Al-Jadeed indoor shopping center weblink
  • Herat Bazaar
  • Kabul Bazaar
  • Shah Bazaar
  • Shkar Pur Bazaar
  • Piaroz Super store
  • Kandahr Super Store
  • Samimi Super Store
{{div col end}}


  • Lamar Restaurant
  • Mumtaz Restaurant
  • Kandahar Coffee Shop

Hotels and guest houses


{{div col|colwidth=15em}} {{div col end}}



Professional sports teams from Kandahar{| class="wikitable sortable"
! scope="col" | Club! scope="col" | League! scope="col" | Sport! scope="col" | Venue! scope="col" | Established! scope="row" style="font-weight: normal; text-align: left;" | Kandahar Knights|Afghanistan Premier League|Cricket|Sharjah Cricket Stadium|2018! scope="row" style="font-weight: normal; text-align: left;" | Boost Defenders| Shpageeza Cricket League| Cricket| Kandahar International Cricket Stadium| 2013! scope="row" style="font-weight: normal; text-align: left;" | De Maiwand Atalan F.C.| Afghan Premier LeagueAssociation football>Football| Ghazi Stadium| 2012


Demography and culture

{{Further|Demographics of Afghanistan}}File:Tribal and religious leaders in southern Afghanistan.jpg|thumb|upright|A gathering of tribal and religious leaders following a shura held by Afghan President Hamid KarzaiHamid KarzaiThe population of Kandahar numbers approximately 491,500 {{As of|2012|lc=y}}.WEB,weblink Settled Population of Kandahar province by Civil Division, Urban, Rural and Sex-2012-13, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Central Statistics Organization, 2013-06-24, The Pashtuns make up the overwhelming majority population of the city and province but exact figures are not available. In a 2003 estimate by the National Geographic, Pashtuns were put at ca. 70%, Tajiks 20%, Baloch 2%, and Uzbeks 2%.WEB,weblink 2003 National Geographic Population Map, PDF, Thomas Gouttierre, Center For Afghanistan Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Matthew S. Baker, Stratfor, National Geographic Society, 2003, 11 April 2011, Pashto serves as the main language in the city and the region. Persian is also understood by a fair number of the city dwellers, especially those serving in the government and the educated Afghans. Both are the official languages of Afghanistan. A 2006 compendium of provincial data prepared by the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) states:}}The Pashtun culture is dominant in this region.

Notable people from Kandahar

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See also

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  • BOOK, Dupree, Nancy Hatch, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, 1st Edition: 1970, 2nd Edition, Revised and Enlarged, 1977, Afghan Tourist Organization,
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan é­šè±¢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation.
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han dynasty, 1st to 2nd centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. {{ISBN|978-1-4392-2134-1}}.
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. {{ISBN|978-1-4392-2134-1}}.
  • 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.
  • Willem Vogelsang (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. University of California Press. {{ISBN|0-520-23192-9}}

Further reading

Published in the 19th century
  • {{Citation |publisher = B. Quaritch |publication-place = London |author = Edward Balfour |authorlink=Edward Balfour |title = Cyclopaedia of India |edition=3rd |publication-date = 1885 |chapterurl=weblink |chapter= Kandahar }}
  • Boulger, Demetrius Charles. Ought We to Hold Candahar?. London: William H. Allen and Company (1879).

Published in the 20th century
  • {{Citation |publisher = Encyclopædia Britannica |publication-place = New York |title = The Encyclopædia Britannica |publication-date = 1910 |oclc = 14782424 |edition=11th |chapterurl =weblink |chapter = Kandahar }}

Published in the 21st century
  • BOOK, Historic Cities of the Islamic World, C. Edmund Bosworth, 2007, Koninklijke Brill, Leiden, Kandahar,

External links

{{Commons category}}{{Wikivoyage}} {{AfghanistanLargestCities}}{{Districts of Kandahar}}{{Authority control}}

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