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Kabul, Afghanistan

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Kabul is in east central Afghanistan. It is the capital of the country and of Kabul Province. Kabul is on the Kabul River, situated at an elevation of about 1800 m (about 5900 ft) making it one of the highest capital cities in the world. The population is around 1 million people. The nation's chief economic and cultural center, it has long been of strategic importance because of its proximity to the Khyber Pass, an important pass in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Textiles, processed food, chemicals, and wood products are manufactured in the city. Tajiks are the predominant population group of Kabul, and Pashtuns are an important minority.
An ancient community, Kabul rose to prominence in 1504, when it was made the capital of the Moghul Empire by the conqueror Babur. Delhi replaced it as the imperial capital in 1526, but Kabul remained an important Moghul center until it was captured, in 1738, by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah. He was assassinated nine years later. Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander and personal bodyguard of Nader, took the throne in 1747, asserted Pashtun rule and further expanded his new Afghan Empire. In 1747 Kabul became part of an independent Afghan state. It was a focus of British, Persian, and Russian rivalry for control of the Khyber Pass in the 19th century, when it was twice (unsuccessfully) occupied (1839-1842 and 1879-1880) by British troops. Ahmad Shah Durrani's son Timur Shah Durrani, after inheriting power, transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul in 1776. Timur Shah died in 1793 and was succeeded by his son Zaman Shah Durrani. In 1826 the throne was claimed by Dost Mohammed, but it was taken by the British Indian Army in 1839, who installed the unpopular puppet Shah Shuja. An 1841 local uprising resulted in the loss of the British mission and the subsequent Massacre of Elphinstone's army of approximately 16,000 people including some 12,000 civilian dependents and camp followers on their retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. In 1842 the British returned, plundering Bala Hissar in revenge before retreating to India. Dost Mohammed returned to the throne.
The British returned in 1878 as Kabul was under Sher Ali Khan's rule, but the British residents were again massacred. They again came in 1879 under General Roberts, partially destroying Bala Hissar before retreating to India. Amir Abdur Rahman was left in control of the country.
In the early 20th century King Amanullah Khan came to power. His reforms included electricity for the city and schooling for girls. He drove a Rolls Royce, and lived in the famous Darul Aman Palace. In 1919, after the Third Anglo-Afghan War, Amanullah announced Afghanistan's independence from foreign interventions at Eidgah Mosque. In 1929, Ammanullah Khan left Kabul due to a local uprising and his brother Nadir Khan took control. In 1933, Nadir Khan was assassinated and his son Zahir Shah, who was only 19 years old took the throne and would remain as the last King of Afghanistan for a long time. The city grew as an industrial center after 1940.
Kabul was occupied by troops of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1979; the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan on Feb. 15, 1989. The city has gone through the toughest and most disastrous civil war in its history between 1992-1996. Over 50,000 people lost their lives during the Mujahideen infightings on the streets of Kabul in 1992-1996 period. The city has been under the control of the Taliban government since 1996 and ended in 2001. The Northern Alliance took over the city as the Taliban withdrew from Kabul and retreated southwards. The fate of the city is yet to be known. The role of UN and World community is important in bringing a stable government in Kabul.
Infrastructures such as roads and traffic system, telephone system, electricity, water sanitation, renovation of buildings are in shambles and the need for reconstruction is very much needed to bring back the city of Kabul to a better place for living.

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This gallery is of a peaceful Kabul in the years preceding the Soviet invasion.
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Three Kings
Three Kings
The Ustads
The Ustads
Vegetable seller
Vegetable seller
Kabul snow dust
Kabul snow dust
Kabul
Kabul
Fire wood
Fire wood
Dyers
Dyers
Dying blue
Dying blue
Kabul
Kabul
Interesting slant
Interesting slant
Old bazaar
Old bazaar
Carrying Nan
Carrying Nan
Playing dutar with Nanni
Playing dutar with Nanni
Haji's shop, Shari Nau
Haji's shop, Shari Nau
Juma Khan - instrument maker
Juma Khan - instrument maker
Koochie Women
Koochie Women
Nanni
Nanni
Baba
Baba
Rainy Day
Rainy Day
Plant Shop
Plant Shop
Tea house-Kabul
Tea house-Kabul
Nan bai
Nan bai
Shrine by river
Shrine by river
Kabul
Kabul
Kabul airport custom house
Kabul airport custom house
Transporting goods to airport
Transporting goods to airport
Kabul cap shop
Kabul cap shop
Catchaloo carts
Catchaloo carts
Sunny Wall
Sunny Wall
'dirty street'
'dirty street'
Kabul - dyers
Kabul - dyers
Kabul Bazaar panarama
Kabul Bazaar panarama
Ghazni Restaurant corner
Ghazni Restaurant corner
View from Ghazni Restaurant
View from Ghazni Restaurant
Jan Mohammed's shop
Jan Mohammed's shop
Jadai Maiwan
Jadai Maiwan
Making rugs antique
Making rugs antique
Makoo shop
Makoo shop
Haji Alim and tailor
Haji Alim and tailor
Blue Eyes
Blue Eyes
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