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Kabul

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East Afghanistan

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General View

The city is believed to have been founded between 2000-1500 BCE. It is mentioned in Hinduism's sacred Rigveda text (c1700 1100 BCE) as a vision of paradise set in the mountains. It was an important center of Zoroastrianism and later Buddhism.. The city remained of little importance for much of the first three millennia of its existence.. It was controlled variously by; the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Empire, the Mauryan Empire, the Bactrians, various Hellenistic kingdoms, the Sassanid Empire, and by the 5th century CE was its own kingdom known as Kabul Shahan..

This last kingdom before the Islamic conquest built a large wall to protect the city from invasion when the Arabs arrived at the edge of the kingdom; parts of the wall have survived to this day and are visible above ground within the city.. In 871 Kabul fell to the Islamic invasion (nearly 200 years after invading Muslims reached modern day Afghanistan). The Kabulistan empire was formed covering much of Afghanistan and parts of western modern day Pakistan.. The city once again passed uneventfully through the hands of several empires, including the Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, Mughols, Durranis, and the Barakzais, before conquest by the Mongols in the 13th century..

The famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta visited the city in 1344, noting, " We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called Afghans. ". Under the rule of Tamerlane in the 14th century, the city developed into a regional center of trade. In 1504, the city was captured by the Mughal emperor Babur.. In 1747, Kabul came under control of the Durrani (or Afghan) Empire. In 1776, Kabul would become the empire's capital, although the empire soon fell into tribal civil war..

In 1839, the region was claimed by the British and Kabul was established as the location of British government and the British Indian Forces. They were very unpopular amongst local tribes who revolted and in 1841.. Within a few days, a series of events led to the massacre of all but one of the 16,000 occupying British and Indian civilians and soldiers within miles of Kabul as they attempted to flee to Jalalabad, a famous blunder known as the Massacre of Elphinstone's Army.. The British returned in 1878 and 1879, but were both times thousands of them were killed and they were forced to retreat..

In the early 20th century, electricity was introduced to the city and the Darul Aman palace was constructed for the royal family. The 1930s 60s were good times in Kabul.. Kabul University was opened; the roads were paved; modern shops, offices, & schools were opened; shopping centers and a cinema were opened; and the Kabul Zoo opened.. The city also saw a vibrant tourism industry appear, largely due to the Istanbul New Delhi " Hippie Trail " which passed through Kabul in the 1960s 70s.. The 1970s 80s brought a turn for the worse. The city saw two coups, in 1973 and 1978. The second coup was carried out by the Marxist PDPA, which a year later invited the Soviet military to maintain their power over the country..

From 1979-1989, the Soviet Union maintained military and governmental headquarters in Kabul. After the Soviets left, the government collapsed in 1992 and left local warlords to fight over the city leaving tens of thousands dead and (according to the UN) 90% of the city's buildings destroyed.. By 1994, the city was without electricity or water. In 1996, the political movement known as the Taliban captured the city, publicly hanging the former (pre 1992) president and imposing notoriously strict Islamic rule over the country..

A US led military force invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, bombing strategic installations throughout the city to rout out the governing Taliban, who quickly fled the city. The city was named the capital of the Afghan Transitional Authority and subsequently the capital of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.. The city saw many suicide bombings between 2002–2007, but they have become rare since 2008. In late 2008, control of the city's security was passed from the NATO ISAF force to Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army..

Since 2001, billions of dollars in aid and foreign investment have been used to improve the city. Most of the major roads have been paved and improved, government building have been extensively renovated, new hotels and shopping malls have opened, the zoo and many museums have reopened, and utilities have been extensively reconstructed.. Kabul's climate is greatly influenced by its location in a valley at 1,800m (5,900ft). Summers (Jun Sep) are hot and dry, averaging from the high 20s to the mid 30s (80-95F) with next to no precipitation..

Autumn (Oct Nov) is temperate and sees very little precipitation. Winters (Dec Mar) are cold and the time of year which sees the most precipitation (mostly snow, but also ice, freezing rain, and sleet on warmer days).. January is the coldest month, averaging 4 / -7 (39/19F). Spring (late Mar early June) is temperate with rain tapering off by early May.. The city lies in a valley and some villages on the edge of the city are a few hundred meters higher and thus cooler in the summer and colder and snowier in the winters..

Many roads leading to / from the city are regularly blocked by high snowfall in winter, the most notorious is the highway north, through the Salang Pass. The main highways are cleared reasonably quickly.. The city of Kabul is divided into 18 sectors, with each sector consisting of a handful of adjacent neighborhoods..

General Info

Kabul also spelled Kabol, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan.. According to a 2012 estimate, the population of the city was around 3,289,000, which includes Tajiks, Pashtuns, Hazaras and smaller numbers of Afghans belonging to other ethnic groups.. It is the 64th largest and the 5th fastest growing city in the world.. Kabul is over 3,500 years old and many empires have controlled the city which is at a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia. It has been ruled by the Achaemenids, Seleucids, Mauryans, Kushans, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, and Ghurids..

Later it was controlled by the Mughal Empire until finally becoming part of the Durrani Empire with help from the Afsharid dynasty.. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan the city continued to be an economic center and was relatively safe. Between 1992 and 1996, a civil war between militant groups devastated Kabul and caused the deaths of thousands of civilians, serious damage to infrastructure, and an exodus of refugees.. Since the Taliban's fall from power in November 2001, the Afghan government and other countries have attempted to rebuild the city, although the Taliban insurgents have slowed the re construction efforts and staged major attacks against the government, the NATO led forces, foreign diplomats and Afghan civilians..

What To See

Bagh e Babur (Gardens of Babur). The gardens surround the tomb of the first Mughal Emperor Babur. Though he had wished to be buried here, he was originally buried in Agra, and later moved to this spot.. Historically, the gardens have been visited by Afghans for picnics and lazy afternoons. There is a swimming pool, a small mosque for prayers and a small museum among other things. AFN10 for locals, AFN250 for foreigners.. Bagh e Bala. Built in the late 19th century, it served as a summer palace for Amir Abdur Rahman. Today, much of the original interior has been preserved, and the area around the palace has become a large park..

Bagh e Zanana (Family Park). A park and market for females only but includes male and female children.. It was designed as a place where women could sell their own products and merchandise directly, which cannot be done in areas where men do business, because women in Afghanistan are not supposed to deal directly with men who are not relatives.. This park was created as an outlet for these women to sell their goods with respect to their culture. There is also a female run restaurant. The park is also a nice place for female travellers to enjoy the outdoors..

British Cemetery. Where foreigners are buried in Kabul. There are also memorial plaques commemorating those ISAF forces killed during the last few years.. Darul Aman Palace (At the end of Daral Aman Rd, south of the city, next to the Kabul Museum). Originally built as King Amanullah's Palace in the 1920s, it has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times over.. Plans were unveiled a few years ago to renovate it once again although it is still in a state of crumbling disrepair on the verge of collapsing. AFN200 or so bakshesh to the guard to look around inside the ruins..

Daoud Khan Memorial, Up the hill behind Darul Aman Palace. On 28 Jun 2008, the body of President Daoud and those of his family were found in two separate mass graves in the Pul e Charkhi area, District 12 of Kabul city.. There is now a small memorial to the deceased on a small hill, offering nice views over southern Kabul.. Kabul Zoo. 6AM 6PM daily. The zoo is very popular with Afghans, and houses over 100 animals, albeit in relatively poor condition.. China was once one of the main donors of animals in the zoo, but after the death of a few animals to disease and malnutrition, China has announced that there will be no donations until living conditions improve..

' Marjan ' the lion, which was blinded by a grenade, was the main draw of the zoo, but has died recently. AFN10 for locals, AFN100 for foreigners.. Lake Qargha. described as Kabul's lake district, only 9km from the city. Spojmai restaurant provides international cuisine. Swimming and boating are popular on the lake with plans for water skiing and jet skis in the future.. Spojmai Hotel joins the list of establishments to be attacked by The Taliban in June 2012.. National Archives of Afghanistan..

National Gallery of Afghanistan (Afghan National Gallery), Asamayi Watt (34 31'2 94N, 69 10'15 97E). 8AM ish to 4PM ish, closed Fridays, and you may struggle to be allowed in on Thursday afternoons.. A beautiful gallery in a charming old Kabul house that has been carefully restored. The collection used to have some 820 paintings and portraits but 50% have been looted or destroyed; the director said the Taliban destroyed 210 portraits.. Most of the collection is of European and Afghan landscapes and portraits of famous Afghan writers and kings and a portrait of the French writer Victor Hugo. Well worth making the effort to see..

The Sultani Gallery is attached, but the opening hours are a mystery. AFN250.. National Museum of Afghanistan (Afghan National Museum), South Kabul, Darul Aman Rd (several miles from the city center, across from Darulaman Palace). 10AM 4PM weekdays, 9AM noon Fridays.. The National Museum of Afghanistan once housed one of the greatest collections of Central Asian artifacts in the world. A large percentage of the previous collection was looted in the 1990s during Taliban rule after the upper floors of the museum were bombed..

Many of the early Buddhist treasures were destroyed by the Taliban at the same time as the Bamiyan Buddhas. Looted items still turn up around the world at auctions. The museum is open once again, with far more modest, but still impressive, displays of early Buddhist and Islamic artifacts.. Mausoleum of Nadir Shah and Zahir Shah (Teppe Maranjan). This is the site where King Nadir Shah and his son, Zahir Shah, are buried. It has been going through renovation since about 2005 and is still not completed..

What To Do

Kabul Wall. A pleasant hike with rewarding views over the city. The Kabul City Wall is still is pretty good condition, running west east from Babar Gardens over to Bala Hissar (about 3 km in distance).. Kabul Golf Club, Qargha Rd, ☎ + 93 79 22 63 27. Closed down in 1978 by the Soviet Union, it reopened in 2004 after a 25 year hiatus. This 9 hole course bills itself as " extreme golf with an attitude ".. AFN750 / USD15 greens fee for 9 or 18 holes, or AFN15,000 / USD300 yearly.. Ariana Cinema, Pashtunistan Square. Primarily shows Bollywood or trashy action flicks, and the occasional American blockbuster..

Amani High School sports field. Open to the public on Tuesday afternoons and Fridays - football (soccer) with local Afghan guys, frisbee (with a collection of expats) and a 400 metre running track in comparatively green and pleasant surroundings.. Ghazi Stadium (National Stadium). Home of the Afghan football team. Just past the stadium is the mine museum as well as a road up the hill where you will find hundreds of Afghan men and boys flying kites on holidays.. Kabul National Cricket Stadium. Home of the Afghan cricket team. Newly built..

Swim. There are a few swimming pools in the city. The nicest is probably at the Serena, but is a steep USD30 to use. UNICA club's swimming pool (USD5) is very popular, esp.. on Fridays, when there is probably as much catwalking as swimming going on. Internationals (aka Maple Leaf) has a large and often empty pool (USD7) but it is in a plastic shed rather than outdoors.. Le Divan also has a pool, again popular on Fridays. Except in private or foreigner only places, women should not wear anything skimpy (especially bikinis)..

How To Get In

Kabul International Airport (IATA; KBL), + 93 9251-61001, is a short drive east of the city centre. The new international terminal is now fully open, whilst the old terminal is now used for domestic flights.. The airport is a hub for Ariana Afghan Airways, Kam Air, Safi Airways, & Pamir Airways. Airport facilities include banks, restaurants, post office and car parking (all very basic).. Foreigners will need to get a foreigner registration card - after immigration go to the desk adjacent to the baggage carousel and complete the form - if you have 2 passport photos with you then you can complete the registration there..

Otherwise you'll have to finish your registration at the Ministry of Interior later (a major hassle - best to make sure you have those photos).. When arriving taxis are available to the city centre (AFN400), but it is safer to meet someone whom you know. Alternatively, Afghan Logistics (+ 93-777 443311, see below in Get Around) and the other taxi firms offer an airport pick up for about USD25.. The Foreigner Registration card is sometimes required and taken from you when you exit Afghanistan, and a big fine / bribe is in some cases required if you haven't got it when you fly out, though sometimes arguing that no one was at the desk to issue the Foreigner Registration card will work..

The registration card is free. Some people feel it necessary to ' tip ' everyone at the airport when flying out, but tip one guy for putting your bag through the x ray scanner and everyone will be on you for their share.. A polite ' no thank you ' usually suffices.. When flying out you will probably end up in Car Park C - and will have to get the shuttle bus to the terminal building. When flying out expect long queues and multiple ticket / passport / baggage checks, although things are now much better with the new terminal, principally because there is much more space..

International carriers and destinations include include;. Ariana Afghan Airlines – to Ankara, Baku, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Frankfurt, Islamabad, Istanbul Ataturk, Jeddah, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Riyadh, Sharjah, Tehran Imam Khomeini, & Urumqi.. Safi Airways – flies to Dubai, Frankfurt, & Kuwait City.. Kam Air – to Almaty, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Mashhad, Peshawar, & Urumqi.. Pamir Airways – to Delhi & Dubai.. Pakistan International Airways – to Islamabad & Peshawar.. Turkish Airlines - Daily flights to Istanbul and most convenient connections to Europe..

While Kabul International Airport is not bad for a third world country, expect very basic conditions at other Afghan airports. As of November 2009;. Ariana Afghan Airlines to Herat, Kandahar, & Mazar e Sharif.. Kam Air to Herat, Kandahar, Mazar e Sharif, & Tarin Kowt.. Pamir Airways to Faizabad & Herat.. Safi Airways to Herat, Kandahar, & Mazar e Sharif.. The highway from Kandahar has been rebuilt, but travelling on it is very dangerous because of the Taliban.. The highway from Mazar e Sharif and the North via the Salang Pass is open, although one has to be careful travelling on it during the winter months..

The newly rebuilt highway from Jalalabad is open which has reduced the journey time to 2-3 hours, however since 2008 the security on this road has deteriorated considerably.. From Bamiyan it is advisable to take the longer northern route, as the southern route (through Wardak province) is of questionable safety.. Private operators serve most destinations in fairly comfortable Mercedes buses. Safety can be a problem, with frequent accidents..

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What To Do

Kabul Wall. A pleasant hike with rewarding views over the city. The Kabul City Wall is still is pretty good condition, running west east from Babar Gardens over to Bala Hissar (about 3 km in distance).. Kabul Golf Club, Qargha Rd, ☎ + 93 79 22 63 27. Closed down in 1978 by the Soviet Union, it reopened in 2004 after a 25 year hiatus. This 9 hole course bills itself as " extreme golf with an attitude ".. AFN750 / USD15 greens fee for 9 or 18 holes, or AFN15,000 / USD300 yearly.. Ariana Cinema, Pashtunistan Square. Primarily shows Bollywood or trashy action flicks, and the occasional American blockbuster..

Amani High School sports field. Open to the public on Tuesday afternoons and Fridays - football (soccer) with local Afghan guys, frisbee (with a collection of expats) and a 400 metre running track in comparatively green and pleasant surroundings.. Ghazi Stadium (National Stadium). Home of the Afghan football team. Just past the stadium is the mine museum as well as a road up the hill where you will find hundreds of Afghan men and boys flying kites on holidays.. Kabul National Cricket Stadium. Home of the Afghan cricket team. Newly built..

Swim. There are a few swimming pools in the city. The nicest is probably at the Serena, but is a steep USD30 to use. UNICA club's swimming pool (USD5) is very popular, esp.. on Fridays, when there is probably as much catwalking as swimming going on. Internationals (aka Maple Leaf) has a large and often empty pool (USD7) but it is in a plastic shed rather than outdoors.. Le Divan also has a pool, again popular on Fridays. Except in private or foreigner only places, women should not wear anything skimpy (especially bikinis)..

How To Get In

Kabul International Airport (IATA; KBL), + 93 9251-61001, is a short drive east of the city centre. The new international terminal is now fully open, whilst the old terminal is now used for domestic flights.. The airport is a hub for Ariana Afghan Airways, Kam Air, Safi Airways, & Pamir Airways. Airport facilities include banks, restaurants, post office and car parking (all very basic).. Foreigners will need to get a foreigner registration card - after immigration go to the desk adjacent to the baggage carousel and complete the form - if you have 2 passport photos with you then you can complete the registration there..

Otherwise you'll have to finish your registration at the Ministry of Interior later (a major hassle - best to make sure you have those photos).. When arriving taxis are available to the city centre (AFN400), but it is safer to meet someone whom you know. Alternatively, Afghan Logistics (+ 93-777 443311, see below in Get Around) and the other taxi firms offer an airport pick up for about USD25.. The Foreigner Registration card is sometimes required and taken from you when you exit Afghanistan, and a big fine / bribe is in some cases required if you haven't got it when you fly out, though sometimes arguing that no one was at the desk to issue the Foreigner Registration card will work..

The registration card is free. Some people feel it necessary to ' tip ' everyone at the airport when flying out, but tip one guy for putting your bag through the x ray scanner and everyone will be on you for their share.. A polite ' no thank you ' usually suffices.. When flying out you will probably end up in Car Park C - and will have to get the shuttle bus to the terminal building. When flying out expect long queues and multiple ticket / passport / baggage checks, although things are now much better with the new terminal, principally because there is much more space..

International carriers and destinations include include;. Ariana Afghan Airlines – to Ankara, Baku, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Frankfurt, Islamabad, Istanbul Ataturk, Jeddah, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Riyadh, Sharjah, Tehran Imam Khomeini, & Urumqi.. Safi Airways – flies to Dubai, Frankfurt, & Kuwait City.. Kam Air – to Almaty, Delhi, Dubai, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Mashhad, Peshawar, & Urumqi.. Pamir Airways – to Delhi & Dubai.. Pakistan International Airways – to Islamabad & Peshawar.. Turkish Airlines - Daily flights to Istanbul and most convenient connections to Europe..

While Kabul International Airport is not bad for a third world country, expect very basic conditions at other Afghan airports. As of November 2009;. Ariana Afghan Airlines to Herat, Kandahar, & Mazar e Sharif.. Kam Air to Herat, Kandahar, Mazar e Sharif, & Tarin Kowt.. Pamir Airways to Faizabad & Herat.. Safi Airways to Herat, Kandahar, & Mazar e Sharif.. The highway from Kandahar has been rebuilt, but travelling on it is very dangerous because of the Taliban.. The highway from Mazar e Sharif and the North via the Salang Pass is open, although one has to be careful travelling on it during the winter months..

The newly rebuilt highway from Jalalabad is open which has reduced the journey time to 2-3 hours, however since 2008 the security on this road has deteriorated considerably.. From Bamiyan it is advisable to take the longer northern route, as the southern route (through Wardak province) is of questionable safety.. Private operators serve most destinations in fairly comfortable Mercedes buses. Safety can be a problem, with frequent accidents..

How To Get Around

Maps of Kabul are available from Afghanistan Information Management Services who can print out custom wall maps of the city.. There is the Millie Bus which operates many routes around Kabul, but it is faster and more comfortable to use taxis. Some buses are relatively new, but many are old as one might expect in a 3rd world country.. Taxis are plentiful and to hire the whole car should cost around AFN30 50 depending on destination and bargaining skills. Some drivers have learned basic English, but such drivers may try to charge a slightly higher price and are most likely to be found loitering near Westerner friendly locations (airport, major hotels)..

While the city is fairly safe, it isn't a bad idea to be proactive and avoid catching a taxi near any sensitive location (embassy, military facilities, 5 star hotels). It is customary for women to always sit in the back seat.. After dark local yellow taxis become a rarity, so keep a few taxi numbers in your phone as a backup.. Afghan Logistics & Tours 700 277 408, 700 288 668, 700 479 435, 799 391 462. Catering mostly to expats they are probably the safest way to get around town. 24 hour minicabs are available as well as airport pickups and dropoffs..

USD5 7 around town, USD15 to airport, USD20 from airport.. There are only a couple places to rent a car in Kabul, one of which is;. Afghan Logistics & Tours 700 277 408, 700 288 668, 700 479 435, 799 391 462. Rents late model Toyota cars, SUVs, trucks, & minivans along with a driver who doubles as a mechanic (very important on Afghanistan's harsh roads).. Downtown Kabul is relatively compact and walkable - a good option in the spring and fall - summers bring intolerable heat and dust, whilst winters bring snow and mud. Pavements are few, and you need to keep your wits about you when crossing roads..

If you are nervous about your safety walking around areas such as Wazar Akbar Khan and Taimani (to a restaurant, etc), it is fine day or night. Central Kabul at night is walkable but be sure you know where you are going, and how to get back to your guesthouse.. Given the volatile security situation always be aware of any demonstrations, gathering crowds, etc, which could spiral out of control quickly. Keep a low profile, wearing simple clothes and (for ladies) covering your hair with a scarf or shawl..

It is also wise to vary your routes frequently to reduce the threat of kidnapping. People are generally helpful and polite if you ask for directions.. Be wary walking around traditional residential areas (e g, near the city wall). Conservative Afghans are suspicious of anyone snooping around their house, and children may start throwing stones or setting their dog on you..

Government And Politics

The current mayor of the city is Muhammad Yunus Nawandish who was appointed by President Hamid Karzai in January 2010.. Kabul's Chief of Police is Lt Gen Abdul Rahman Rahimi. The police are part of the Afghan National Police under the Ministry of Interior and are arranged by city districts. The Police Chief is selected by the Interior Minister and is responsible for all law enforcement activities throughout the Kabul province..

What To Buy

The Share e Naw area has some shops.. The Kabul City Center, next to the park, has some very smart shops.. Majid Mall. Is in Supreme Tower. It is the largest shopping mall in Afghanistan.. Roshan Plaza has some quite respectable clothes shops.. Chicken Street is famed for its tourist offerings (carpets, carvings, knives, etc), and pirated CD / DVD's.. Chelsea Supermarket sells many types of Western foods and products.. Supreme Supermarket on the Jalalabad Road (near the British military base) has Western products, but currently no alcohol is available. It is not open to Afghans. A little further down the road is Ciano, an Italian commissary..

There is frequently a security alert on the Jalalabad Road.. Spinneys Seems to cater to NGOs. Can buy most Western products and food. They had turkeys and a lot of traditional side dishes available for Christmas last year.. Shah M Book Co (Across from Mustafa Hotel). The best bookshop in the city, it has a good selection of coffee table books and books about Afghanistan. The owner was the subject for the recent book The Bookseller of Kabul.. Prices are high, but you'll appreciate his selection..

Finest Super Markets (Share e now, opposite Kabul Business Centre). Finest Super Market has four branches in Kabul, 1 Wazir Akbar khan 13th St (but this store was blown up on 28 Jan 2011), 2- Opposite Kabul Business Centre, 3- Kart e sai and 4- Kart e Parwan.. Normally you can find most of your daily needs and has high quality goods.. A few ATMs that accept international cards are scattered around the city, and most dispense both Afghanis and US dollars. However, credit cards are unlikely to work or be accepted anywhere in the city, except a couple of the top end hotels..

Afghanistan International Bank (AIB). Has a few machines around Kabul, including one inside the Kabul City Centre shopping mall. They dispense in Afghanis and US dollars, however they are often reluctant to part with any cash and sometimes dispense old, ripped notes.. Azizi Bank. Has many branches in the city.. Kabul Bank. Has many branches in the city.. Western Union. Has many branches across the city.. Money Changers – some people prefer to exchange their money for Afghanis through the local money changers that stand on the road. There is no fee to exchange money this way, but make sure you know the exchange rate before attempting this..

What To Eat

The thousands of foreigners in the city since the fall of the Taliban has gradually turned Kabul into something of a restaurant Mecca. Restaurants can crudely be split into " places for locals " and " places for expats ", with the latter having higher security, higher prices, but not necessarily higher quality.. Restaurants that are UN approved are particularly expensive. If you are looking for a place with a good mix of Afghans and expat diners the (dry) Lebanese, Turkish and Iranian restaurants are the ones to head towards..

Restaurants open and close with surprising frequency, so it is a good idea to check whether a place is still operating before heading out.. Afghan Fried Chicken, clean Western style fast food restaurant.. Cafe, in the basement of Kabul City Center, Share e Naw. Burger and banana drink for less than USD3.. Everest Pizza, 13 St Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93 799-317979, + 93 70-263636. 9AM 9PM. Fast food, English menu. Phone orders / home delivery available.. Kabul Fried Chicken, clean Western style fast food restaurant..

Peshawar Kebab Shop (Shash Darak). 11AM 6PM. A great local place for a tasty lunch. They only serve one type of food; Pakistani style flat chapli kebabs, but they do it well and it will only set you back AFN100 or so.. Shar e now Burgers (Shar e now, opposite the Shar e now park), ☎ + 93 799-300797, + 93 70-255788. 10AM 10PM. Fast food, English menu. Phone orders available.. Street stalls, abound, and good ones can be found around Shahr e Naw Park and near the Pul e Khisti bridge in the old town. However, the hygiene is questionable particularly in the summer..

The vast numbers of foreigners in Kabul has lead to the city being perhaps the best place to eat in the region, and in the mid range bracket there are dozens of good places to eat for USD15 25 per person for an evening meal.. Afghan International Pizza Express, Darulaman Rd (near Ministry of Commerce and Ariana TV), ☎ + 93 700 383 918. Good pizza. Destroyed during the May 2006 riots, but has since been rebuilt and has a new chef.. Anaar Restaurant & Bar, Crossing of St 14, Lane 3, Wazir Akbar Khan (Between Wazir Akbar Khan circle and Heetal Plaza Hotel, towards end of St 14), ☎ + 93 700 284 315, e-mail; anaarkabul@yahoo.com..

10AM 10PM. UN security clearance. Great Indian and Asian cuisine. English menu, English speaking staff. Phone orders - take away and delivery available.. Le Divan Restaurant (frm L'Atmosphere), Str.4, Qala e- fatullah, ☎ + 93 799-300264, + 93 700 224982. 10AM 10PM. French cuisine, French and English menu. Phone orders available.. Garden dining and swimming pool. Closed on Sundays.. B's Place Restaurant (Guest House), Str.2, Qala e- fatullah House No3, ☎ + 93 70-276416, + 93 70-276711. 11AM 11PM. Italian and Mexican cuisine, English menu..

Bella Italia (Guest House), Street 14, near the Pakistani Consulate, ☎ + 93 799 600 666. open until 10PM. Italian food. Good pizzas and pastas. Expensive mains.. Good appetisers. English menu.. Carlito's Restaurant & Bar, Str 15 Wazir Ak Khan, ☎ + 93 799 159697, + 93 799 167824. 10AM 10PM. Mexican cuisine, English Menu. No phone orders / home delivery. Cafe du Pelican, Daraluman Rd (on the west side of the road, look for an orange guard box and Landcruisers parked outside). closes at 5PM. Run by a French couple, good French cafe food with a bakery..

Chief Burger, Shahre Naw (In front of Park Cinema). 8PM midnight. This restaurant provides fast food; burger and pizzas.. Delhi Darbar, Cinema Zainab Rd, Share e Naw (between the park and Flower St), ☎ + 93 799 324 899. Great Indian food including a USD6 thali. Indoor seating is intimate and spread through 3 rooms, or sit outside in the spacious garden.. Escalades Restaurant, Macroian2, Matba block 104, ☎ + 93 799 473763. 10AM 10PM. European cuisine, English menu. No phone hours / home delivery..

Golden Key, No 284, Lane 4, Wazir Akbar Khan, (4th Turning on the left off St 13), ☎ + 93 799 002800, + 93 799 343319. 10AM 11PM.. Chinese seafood restaurant. Garden dining in the summer, Sheesha, Karaoke and English breakfast on Fridays. Phone orders for take away and home delivery. http; / / www. goldenkeykabul.com. The Grill Restaurant, Street 15, Wazir Akbar Khan (on junction near British embassy). Lebanese food in pleasant garden surroundings, mixed clientele.. Hong Kong Restaurant, Wazir Akbar Khan (near Pakistani embassy). Good Chinese food..

Istanbul Restaurant, Macroian2, Matba block 104, ☎ + 93 70 200116, + 93 799 356282. 8AM 9PM. Excellent Turkish cuisine, English menu. Clean, pleasant and frequented by middle class Afghans - a great place to sample good food and a slice of local Kabul life.. Kulba Afghan, Shar e now, Esmat Moslim Str. 3rd floor, ☎ + 93 799 452151, + 93 70 034979. 10AM 9PM. Afghan and Italian cuisine, English menu.. No phone orders / home delivery.. Mai Thai Restaurant, Str15 Wazir Ak Khan House No124, ☎ + 93 70 297557, + 93 70-278640. 11AM 9PM. Thai cuisine, English menu and English speaking staff. The reincarnation of ' Lai Thai..

Inside is very nice or you can sit outside. Park outside on the dirt road. Good prices.. New World Korean Restaurant, Charyi Ansari (Shar e Now), ☎ + 93 799 199509. until 9PM. Now moved to a new location, but the food is still excellent quality.. Good selection of Korean dishes, including excellent kimbab (Korean sushi).. Zadar Croatian Restaurant, Wazir Akbar Khan 13th St, ☎ + 93 70 0220884, e-mail; zadar _ restaurant@hotmail.com. Romantic restaurant and Divan lounge Bar. Catering, take away, provides for parties and ceremonial events..

Pamir Restaurant, Bagh e Bala Rd (at the Intercontinental Hotel), ☎ + 93 20 2201321. Offers an excellent and cheap buffet.. Popolano Italian Restaurant, Charahi Ansari, Share e Naw, ☎ + 93 70 288116. 9AM 10PM. English menu, good pizza and pastas. Phone orders available.. The Springfield Restaurant & amp Bar, Wazir Akbar Khan. Pizza and assorted Italian / Western fare, and has a weekly quiz night on Mondays.. Raven Rae Restaurant (Off Koche Qasabi, first left lane Located in the Raven Rae Villa compound, 6th building on the right side), ☎ + 93 779 057640, e-mail; ravenraevilla@ravenraeresources.com..

6; 30PM 10; 30PM. Serves grilled meat, seafood, steak, pizza, soups and salads. Serves brunch in the rose garden during the summer months. USD5 25.. Sufi Afghan Restaurant, near the Intercontinental Hotel.. Boccaccio Restaurant & Bar, Str 10 Wazir Ak khan (same street as Everest Pizza), ☎ + 93 799 160368. 10AM 10PM. European and Italian cuisine, English menu. No phone orders / home delivery.. Expensive, but the food is some of the best in Kabul.. Cafe Zarnegar, Froshgah St (In the Kabul Serena Hotel), ☎ + 93 79 9654 000. 6; 30AM 10PM daily, brunch 11AM 4PM. Tasty high end international food and nice atmosphere, one of the nicest restaurants in the city..

Their large buffet is probably the best in the country. Mains USD15 20.. Gandamack Lodge (Sherpur Square, next to the UNHCR). One of Kabul's classiest establishments serving a varied menu in a nice atmosphere. Alcohol is very expensive, even by Afghan standards, but that can be forgiven given the fairly reasonable food prices.. Raven Restaurant, Shar E Naw (Off Butcher St (Koche Qasabi), take first left lane. Raven Restaurant (and Guesthouse) is the 6th building on the right.), ☎ + 93 779 057640, e-mail; Raven@RavenRaeResources.com..

6; 30PM 10; 30PM. Grilled meat, seafood, steak and pizza. Vietnamese spring rolls and coffee served in the rose garden around back on F Sa, 10AM 3PM. Restaurant is closed on Monday.. Silk Route Restaurant, Froshgah St (In the Kabul Serena Hotel), ☎ + 93 79 9654 000. 6 10PM daily. Specializes in Southeast Asian food in a luxurious atmosphere. USD15 20..

Options For Drink

Despite being illegal, alcohol is pretty easy to find in Kabul's expat restaurants - buying your own supply involves befriending someone working at an embassy or military base, or dipping into the murky world of expat black marketeering.. Beer and spirits are available at UNICA, but the selection is slim..

Where To Sleep

Kabul is not a cheap place to stay, principally due to the costs of running a generator and providing security. The hotels are good if you are just passing through, however for long term stays opting for a guest house is more popular.. There are several in Wazir Akbar Khan and Shar i Naw, often in huge Pakistani style mansions.. It is wise to look closely at the security arrangements for any of these hotels. Many, especially those in the Splurge section, have been attacked by Taliban or other insurgent groups. Always think about escape routes and safe places to shelter..

Salsal Guesthouse, Zarghona Maidan, Shar e Naw Park (Between the park and the Chelsea Supermarket, is signed in English), ☎ + 93 7 9973 4202. Reasonably clean, shared bathrooms, friendly manager (Bashir) speaks English.. Most rooms have cable TV and a fan. Singles from USD10, doubles from USD20 per night.. Ajmal Wali International (Guest House), St 13 Wazer Akbar Khan House 367 (Near Bebe Mahro Park), ☎ + 93 7 0028 5843. Nice, quiet, relaxing place.. Le Monde Guest House Kabul, 7 Herati Mosque St (Close to Shar e Naw Park and Flower St)..

Park Star Hotel, Yaftali St, Shar i Naw (On a back street, behind the Kabul City Centre / Safi Landmark Hotel), ☎ + 93 706 220 221. Very good and very secure hotel in Shar i Naw.. There is a pool in the basement. Internet is intermittent. Buffet dinner costs USD20.. UNICA Guest House, Shar i Naw, Ansari Wat. Nice by Kabul standards and includes nice common gardens, swimming pool and bar, dinner buffet is USD6. Few rooms from USD25, most cost USD45 50 per night.. Petra Guest House, House 1036, Lane 4 left, St 15, Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93 7 8841 1482. Better than average guesthouse popular with UN staff. Little garden with water feature and peacocks..

Raven Rae Villa (Off Koche Qasabi (Butcher Street), first left lane, 6th house on the right), ☎ + 93 7 7905 7640, e-mail; ravenraevilla@ravenraeresources.com. Low profiled with furnished rooms.. Meals, Wi Fi, laundry and daily room cleaning are provided. Restaurant on premises, the Raven Rose Garden. USD95 / night.. Afghans4Tomorrow Guesthouse (Guzar Gah area), e-mail; reservations@afghans4tomorrow. org. Non profit guesthouse offering breakfast, dinner (or lunch), Wi Fi, garden, airport pick up and drop off, laundry and a friendly and helpful staff..

Canpro Villa, House 23, Koche Qasabi St (Off Koche Qasabi (Butcher St), first left lane, 5th building on right), ☎ + 93 7 7340-2979, e-mail; afgops@canproglobal.com.. Offers comfortable andmodern living accommodation suitable for long termed expatriate residents. Amenities include fitness centre, meals at next door Raven Restaurant and Wi Fi. Also have spaces for meetings and conferences. USD145.. Golden Star Hotel. Clean and modern 4 star hotel, with restaurant, conference hall, a small gym, and high speed Internet in each room. Damaged during insurgent attacks on 15 Apr 2012..

Heetal Plaza Hotel, St 14, Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93-799167824. Check in; 2PM, check out; 12PM. Nice, quiet, relaxing and cozy place. However, avoid the restaurant.. Kabul Intercontinental Hotel (Bagh e Bala Rd), ☎ + 93-202201321. 5 star hotel with nice restaurants and a swimming pool. The latest hotel to be targeted by Taliban suicide bombers (Jun 2011).. Kabul Serena Hotel, Froshgah St, ☎ + 93 7 9965 4000, fax; + 93 7 9965 4111. Undoubtedly the best hotel in the city, clean and modern 5 star hotel with three great restaurants..

Was target for an attack by the Taliban in Jan 2008. The hotel has since increased its security. From USD350.. Moon Hotel Kabul, Malalai Hospital Square, Shahre Naw (Across from Safi Airways Building), ☎ + 93 7 9888-8833, e-mail; moonhotel@live.com. Mostly targeted towards businessman and organization workers.. Amenities include fitness centre, Wi Fi, cafe, hookah, and buffet. Good service and security. USD80.. Safi Landmark Hotel & Suites, Shar e Naw Park (Top six floors of Kabul City Center shopping mall), ☎ + 93 2 0220 3131. Large conference hall, restaurant and gym area, apartments also available..

Damaged by bombing in Feb 2010. USD80 +.

Connect

There are numerous Internet cafes around the city, so getting access should not be too hard.. Assa II Net Cafe, Muslim St On the ground floor of Assa II Guesthouse, they have several computers with semi reliable connections. AFN25 or USD1 per hour.. Kabul Coffee House and Flower Street Cafe both have wireless Internet for customers.. The cellular telephone system in Kabul is excellent. American and European phones do work on the local system. 3G services are available by Etisalat.. Roshan Shop, St 13, Wazir Akbar Khan (Off Main St), ☎ + 93 79 997 1333..

How To Stay Safe

Kabul is generally considered one of the safer parts of the country, and while bombings and kidnappings have waned considerably, they do remain a threat.. That said, there are tens of thousands of expats and visitors to the city and considering that only a small handful have been victims of such attacks, you should be vigilant but not afraid.. Avoid walking after dark, don't loiter in hotel lobbies, and (for long stays and expats), vary your routes and timings daily. Riots happen occasionally and are often accompanied by looting -- stay well away from them as authorities will respond with lethal force..

Female visitors; Make sure you wear a headscarf before landing in Kabul Airport until you fly out.. While visiting Kabul or any other part of the country, having any kind of social interaction with local people should not be a problem, Afghan people are traditionally very kind and hospitable toward guests..

Where To Go Next

Most expats take any opportunity they can to leave Kabul. Istalif in a side valley of the Shamali Plain makes for an excellent overnight or day trip destination.. A day trip to the north (Shamali Plain, Salang Pass, Panjshir Valley and Jabal os Saraj), Qargha Reservoir to the west of Kabul etc. You can fly to Dubai, Dushanbe or Delhi for the weekend also..

History

The word " Kubh " is mentioned in the Rigveda, one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism, and the Avesta, the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, refers to the Kabul River.. The Rigveda praises it as an ideal city, a vision of paradise set in the mountains. The area in which the Kabul valley sits was ruled by the Medes before falling to the Achaemenids.. There is a reference to a settlement called Kabura by the rulers of the Achaemenid Empire, which may be the basis for the future use of the name Kabura by Ptolemy. It became a center of Zoroastrianism followed by Buddhism and Hinduism..

Alexander the Great explored the Kabul valley after his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BC but no record has been made of Kabul, which may have been only a small town and not worth writing about.. The region became part of the Seleucid Empire but was later given to the Indian Maurya Empire.. The Greco Bactrians captured Kabul from the Mauryans in the early 2nd century BC, then lost the city to their subordinates in the Indo Greek Kingdom around the mid 2nd century BC. Indo Scythians expelled the Indo Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the city to the Kushan Empire about 100 years later..

Some historians ascribe Kabul the Sanskrit name of Kamboja. It is mentioned as Kophes or Kophene in some classical writings.. Hsuan Tsang refers to the name as Kaofu in the 7th century AD, which is the appellation of one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi who had migrated from across the Hindu Kush into the Kabul valley around the beginning of the Christian era.. It was conquered by Kushan Emperor Kujula Kadphises in about 45 AD and remained Kushan territory until at least the 3rd century AD. The Kushans were Indo European speaking Tocharians from the Tarim Basin..

Around 230 AD, the Kushans were defeated by the Sassanid Empire and replaced by Sassanid vassals known as the Indo Sassanids. During the Sassanian period, the city was referred to as " Kapul " in Pahlavi scripts.. In 420 AD the Indo Sassanids were driven out of Afghanistan by the Xionite tribe known as the Kidarites, who were then replaced in the 460s by the Hephthalites. It became part of the surviving Turk Shahi Kingdom of Kapisa, also known as Kabul Shahan.. According to Trkhu l Hind by Al Biruni, Kabul was governed by princes of Turkic lineage whose rule lasted for about 60 generations..

The Kabul rulers built a long defensive wall around the city to protect it from enemy raids. This historical wall has survived until today. It was briefly held by Tibetan Empire between 801 and 815.. The Islamic conquest reached modern day Afghanistan in 642 AD, at a time when Kabul was independent. A number of failed expeditions were made to Islamize the region.. In one of them, Abdur Rahman bin Samana arrived to Kabul from Zaranj in the late 7th century and managed to convert 12,000 local inhabitants to Islam before abandoning the city..

Muslims were a minority until Ya'qub bin Laith as Saffar of Zaranj conquered Kabul in 870 and established the first Islamic dynasty in the region. It was reported that the rulers of Kabul were Muslims with non Muslims living close by.. Over the following centuries, the city was successively controlled by the Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarazmshahs and Khiljis. In the 13th century the Mongol horde passed through and massively destroyed the area.. Report of a massacre in the close by Bamiyan is recorded around this period, where the entire population of the valley was annihilated by the Mongol troops as a revenge for the death of Genghis Khan's grandson..

During the Mongol invasion, many natives of Afghanistan fled to India where some established dynasties in Delhi. It was also ruled by Chagatai Khanate and Kartids, were vassals of Ilkhanate till dissolution of latter in 1335.. Following the era of the Khilji dynasty in 1333, the famous Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta was visiting Kabul and wrote. In the 14th century, Kabul became a major trading center under the kingdom of Timur. In 1504, the city fell to Babur from the north and made into his headquarters, which became one of the principal cities of his later Mughal Empire..

In 1525, Babur described Kabulistan in his memoirs by writing that. Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat, a poet from Hindustan who visited at the time wrote " Dine and drink in Kabul it is mountain, desert, city, river and all else. " It was from here that Babur began his 1526 conquest of Hindustan, which was ruled by the Afghan Lodi dynasty and began east of the Indus River in what is present day Pakistan.. Babur loved Kabul due to the fact that he lived in it for 20 years and the people were loyal to him, including its weather that he was used to. His wish to be buried in Kabul was finally granted..

The inscription on his tomb contains the famous Persian couplet, which states. Nine years after Nader Shah and his forces invaded and occupied the city as part of the more easternmost parts of his Empire, he was assassinated by his own officers, causing the rapid disintegration of it.. Ahmad Shah Durrani, commander of 4,000 Abdali Afghans, asserted Pashtun rule in 1747 and further expanded his new Afghan Empire. His ascension to power marked the beginning of Afghanistan.. His son Timur Shah Durrani, after inheriting power, transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul in 1776, and used Peshawar in what is today Pakistan as the winter capital..

Timur Shah died in 1793 and was succeeded by his son Zaman Shah Durrani. Kabul's first visitor from Europe was Englishman George Forster, who described 18th century Kabul as " the best and cleanest city in South Asia ".. In 1826, the kingdom was claimed by Dost Mohammad Khan but in 1839 Shujah Shah Durrani was re installed with the help of British India during the First Anglo Afghan War.. In 1841 a local uprising resulted in the killing of the British resident and loss of mission in Kabul and the 1842 retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. In 1842 the British returned to Kabul, plundering Bala Hissar in revenge before fleeing back to British India. Akbar Khan took to the throne from 1842 to 1845 and was followed by Dost Mohammad Khan..

The British led Indian forces invaded in 1879 when Kabul was under Sher Ali Khan's rule, as the Afghan king initially refused to accept British diplomatic mission and later the British residents were again massacred.. The British partially destroyed Bala Hissar fortress before retreating to British India.. In the early 20th century King Amanullah Khan rose 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 affairs at Eidgah Mosque. In 1929 King Ammanullah left Kabul due to a local uprising orchestrated by Habibullah Kalakani.. After nine months rule, Kalakani was imprisoned and executed by King Nader Khan. Three years later, in 1933, the new king was assassinated by a Hazara student Abdul Khaliq during an award ceremony inside a school in Kabul.. The throne was left to his 19 year old son, Zahir Shah, who became the last King of Afghanistan..

During the inter war period France and Germany worked to help develop the country and maintained high schools and lycees in the capital, providing education for the children of the city's elite families. Kabul University opened in 1932 and by the 1960s western educated Afghans made up the majority of teachers.. By the 1960s the majority of instructors at the university had degrees from Western universities.. When Zahir Shah took power in 1933 Kabul had the only 6 miles of rail in the country and the country had few internal telegraphs, phone lines or roads. Zahir turned to the Japanese, Germans and Italians for help developing a modern transportation and communication network..

A radio tower built by the Germans in 1937 in Kabul allowing instant communication with outlying villages. A national bank and state cartels were organized to allow for economic modernization. Textile mills, power plants, carpet and furniture factories were also built in Kabul, providing much needed manufacturing and infrastructure.. In 1955, the Soviet Union forwarded 100 million in credit to Afghanistan, which financed public transportation, airports, a cement factory, mechanized bakery, a five lane highway from Kabul to the Soviet border and dams..

In the 1960s the first Marks amp; Spencer store in Central Asia was built in the city. Kabul Zoo was inaugurated in 1967, which was maintained with the help of visiting German zoologists.. Many foreigners began flocking to Kabul and the nation's tourism industry was starting to pick up speed. Kabul experimented with liberalization, dropping laws requiring women to wear burkas, restrictions on speech and assembly were loosened which led to student politics in the capital.. Socialist, Maoist and liberal factions demonstrated daily in Kabul while more traditional Islamic leaders spoke out against the failure to aid the Afghan countryside..

In 1969 a religious uprising at the Pul e Khishti Mosque protested the Soviet Union's increasing influence over Afghan politics and religion. This protest ended in the arrest of many of its organizers, including Mawlana Faizani, a popular Islamic scholar.. In the early 1970s Radio Kabul began to broadcast in other languages besides Pashto which helped to unify those minorities that often felt marginalized. However, this was put to a stop after Daoud Khan's revolution in 1973.. In July 1973, while King Zahir Shah was visiting Europe, his cousin Daoud Khan who served as Prime Minister launched a coup d'tat and took over power. This was supported by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a pro Soviet political party..

Daoud named himself President and planned to institute reforms. The BBC has described the period before the April 1978 Revolution as an era when different ethnic groups of Afghanistan lived together harmoniously, intermarried and mixed socially.. By 1975, the young Ahmad Shah Massoud and his followers initiated an uprising in Panjshir but were forced to flee to neighboring Pakistan where they received recruitment from Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to create unrest in Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence..

It is claimed that Bhutto paved the way for the April 1978 Saur Revolution in Kabul by making Daoud spread his armed forces to the countryside. " To launch this plan, Bhutto recruited and trained a group of Afghans in the Bala Hesar of Peshawar, in Pakistan's North west Frontier Province.. Among these young men were Massoud, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and other members of Jawanan e Musulman. Massoud's mission to Bhutto was to create unrest in northern Afghanistan. It served Massoud's interests, which were apparently opposition to the Soviets and independence for Afghanistan..

Later, after Massoud and Hekmatyar had a terrible falling out over Massoud's opposition to terrorist tactics and methods, Massoud overthrew from Jawanan e Musulman. He joined Rabani's newly created Afghan political party, Jamiat i Islami, in exile in Pakistan. ". On April 28, 1978, President Daoud and his family along with many of his supporters were assassinated in Kabul. Pro Soviet PDPA under Hafizullah Amin seized power and slowly began to institute reforms.. Private businesses were nationalized in the Soviet manner. Education was modified into the Soviet model, with lessons focusing on teaching Russian, Leninism Marxism and learning of other countries belonging to the Soviet bloc..

Foreign backed rebel groups and army deserters took up arms in the name of Islam.. In February 1979, U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs was murdered after Afghan security forces burst in on his kidnappers. In neighboring Pakistan, President Zulfiqar Bhutto was executed in April 1979. In September 1979 Afghan President Nur Muhammad Taraki was assassinated by a team of Soviet Spetsnaz inside the Tajbeg Palace in Kabul.. On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and Kabul was heavily occupied by Soviet Armed Forces..

Following this invasion, Pakistani President Zia ul Haq chaired a meeting in Islamabad and was told by several cabinet members to refrain from interfering in Afghanistan, owing to the vastly superior military power of the Soviet Union.. However, Zia ul Haq, fearing that the Soviets may be advancing into Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, made no secret about his intentions of aiding the mujahideen rebel groups. During this meeting, Director General of the ISI Akhtar Abdur Rahman advocated for the idea of covert operation in Afghanistan by arming the Islamic extremists..

General Rahman was heard loudly saying " Kabul must burn ! Kabul must burn ! ", and mastered the idea of proxy war in Afghanistan. President Zia ul Haq authorised this operation under General Rahman, and it was later merged with Operation Cyclone, a programme funded by the United States.. The Soviets turned the city of Kabul into their command center during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Kabul was considered moderately safe during that period, as fighting was mostly in the countryside and in other major cities..

Kabul was still economically active and women made up 40 of the workforce. However the city was not necessarily calm. Political crime, such as assassinations of PDPA party members and guerilla attacks on military and government targets were quite common.. The Soviet Embassy, for example, was attacked 4 times with arms fire in the first five years. In 1983, a report from Izvestia said that most public places such as hospitals and state banks had people with guns in their hands, which was not how it was from 1978 to 1979..

A Western correspondent revisiting Kabul in December 1983 after a year, said that the city was converted into a fortress bristling with weapons, suggesting the increasing sight of guns.. But the city's image wasn't negative in everybody's view. American diplomat Charles Dunbar said that the Soviet troops' presence was surprisingly modest. He said in a July 1983 article that whilst Soviet troops are a common sight, they do not give the impression of invaders who are enforcing their occupation at the point of a bayonet..

Soviet men and women were very common in the city's shopping roads, with the large availability of Western products.. An December 1983 article from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where the author stayed two weeks in the city, said that the Soviet soldiers had a friendly atmosphere in which they would greet friends and have a chat with the population.. Most Soviet civilians lived in the north eastern Microrayan suburb, in an apartment housing complex. It was surrounded by barbed wire and armed tanks, for their safety. The residents were often unsafe when walking through the streets, receiving verbal abuse, rude gestures and even kidnappings from anti PDPAanti Soviet Afghan civilians..

Life for PDPA politicians and their families were also insecure. The city's population increased from around 500,000 in 1978 to 2 million in 1988, mainly due to the return of Afghan refugees from neighboring Pakistan and Iran under President Najibullah.. After the fall of Najibullah's Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in April 1992, leaders of the different mujahideen factions were unable to form a government so they resorted to fighting. This marked the start of a dark period of the city, in which over 50,000 civilians were killed..

About 80 percent of the city was devastated and destroyed by 1996.. Despite the 1992 Peshawar Accords the Afghan Civil War continued and the city suffered heavily under a bombardment campaign. In December 1992, the last of the 86 city trolley buses in Kabul came to a halt because of the conflict.. A system of 800 public buses continued to provide transportation services to the city. By 1993 electricity and water in the city was completely out. Initially the factions in the city aligned to fight off Hekmatyar but diplomacy inside the capital quickly broke down..

Additionally to the bombardment campaign conducted by Hekmatyar and Dostum, tension between the Shi'a Hazara forces of Abdul Ali Mazari and the Wahabi Ittihad i Islami of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf soon escalated into a second violent conflict.. The fighting between the two factions quickly took on aspects of " ethnic cleansing ".. In January 1994, Dostum joined an alliance with Hekmatyar and conducted the worst bombardment of Kabul during that period, but were eventually repelled by Massoud's forces who also bombarded the city to gain control..

In late 1994, bombardment of the capital came to a temporary halt. These forces took steps to restore law and order. Courts started to work again, convicting individuals inside government troops who had committed crimes.. Massoud tried to initiate a nationwide political process with the goal of national consolidation and democratic elections, also inviting the Taliban to join the process but the idea was rejected by them.. The Taliban started shelling Kabul in early 1995 but were repelled at first by Massoud's forces..

Amnesty International, referring to the Taliban offensive, wrote in a 1995 report that " This is the first time in several months that Kabul civilians have become the targets of rocket attacks and shelling aimed at residential areas in the city. ". On September 26, 1996, as the Taliban prepared for another major offensive, Massoud ordered a full retreat from Kabul and fled north. The next day the Taliban seized Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.. They imposed a strict form of Sharia, restricting women from work and education. They also conducted amputations against common thieves. Their hit squads from the infamous " Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice " watched the streets conducting public beatings of people..

The al Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri became a state within the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, with bin Laden controlling Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad.. In October 2001, US air strikes hit targets in and around the city to support to the Northern Alliance and the Taliban were forced out of Kabul. The new government under President Hamid Karzai officially took over the government and in early 2002, a NATO led International Security Assistance Force was deployed in the city..

The war torn city began to see some positive development as many expatriate Afghans returned to the city. The city's population grew from about 500,000 in 2001 to 3 million in 2007. Many foreign embassies re opened and the Afghan government institutions were also renovated.. Since 2013 the Afghan National Security Forces have been in charge of security in the city.. The city is periodically the scene of deadly suicide bombings and explosions carried out by the Haqqani network, the Taliban's Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al Qaeda, and other anti government groups..

Government employees, soldiers and civilians have all been targets of attacks in the city since 2001..

Economy

The Ministry of Finance which is located in Kabul and led by Omar Zakhilwal, is responsible for overseeing the economic infrastructure of Afghanistan. Kabul's main products include fresh and dried fruit, nuts, beverages, Afghan rugs, leather and sheep skin products, furniture, antique replicas, and domestic clothes.. The world bank authorized 25 million for the Kabul Urban Reconstruction Project which closed in 2011. Over the last decade, the United States has invested approximately 9.1 billion into urban infrastructure in Afghanistan..

The wars since 1978 have limited the city's economic productivity but after the establishment of the Karzai administration. Since late 2001, local economic development has included a number of indoor shopping centers.. About 4 miles from downtown Kabul, in Bagrami, a 22 acre wide industrial complex has completed with modern facilities, which will allow companies to operate businesses there.. The park has 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..

A number of factories operate there, including the 25 million Coca Cola bottling plant and the Omaid Bahar juice factory.. According to Transparency International, the government of Afghanistan is the third most corrupt in the world. Experts believe that the poor decisions of Afghan politicians contribute to the unrest in the region. This also prevents foreign investment in Afghanistan, especially by Western countries.. In 2012, there were reportedly 3.9 billion paid to public officials in bribes which contributed to these issues..

Da Afghanistan Bank, the nation's central bank, is headquartered in Kabul. In addition, several commercial banks in the city.. A 1 billion USD contract was signed in 2013 to commence work on the " New Kabul City ", which is a major residential scheme that would accommodate 1.5 million people. In the meantime, many high rise buildings are being constructed in order to control the overcrowding and also to modernize the city.. An initial concept design called the City of Light Development, envisioned by Dr Hisham N Ashkouri, for the development and the implementation of a privately based investment enterprise has been proposed for multi function commercial, historic and cultural development within the limits of the Old City of Kabul, along the southern side of the Kabul River and along Jade Meywand Avenue,.

Cope

Read the Scene magazine for restaurant reviews and all sorts of useful info. It is free, although street sellers may charge for it. There are many FM radio stations. However, the only widely available English language broadcast is from the BBC World Service on 101.6MHz.. Tolo TV is perhaps the most popular TV station.. Canada, Street No 15, House No 256 Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93 799 742 800, e-mail; kabul@international. gc. ca. China, Sardar Shah Mahmoud Ghazi Wai, ☎ + 93 20 210 2545, fax; + 93 20 210 2728, e-mail; chinaemb _ af@mfa.gov. cn..

Finland, Street 10, Lane 1, House 728 Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93 20 231 2031, fax; + 358 9 160 581504, e-mail; sanomat. kab@formin. fi.. Germany, Wazir Akbar Khan, Mena 6, ☎ + 93 20 210 1512, + 93 20 799 883 173 (emergencies), fax; + 49 30 5000 - 7518. Su Th 9AM noon and Th 2; 30PM 3; 30PM.. Greece, Hay Babil, AL Jadriyah Sector 913, Rd. 31 / Built 63, ☎ + 96 41 778 2273, + 96 41 778 4360, + 96 4 7903642046 (Emergencies), fax; + 870 763262272, e-mail; gremb. bag@mfa. gr.. Japan, Street 15, Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 870 762-853-777, fax; + 870 761 218 272..

United Kingdom, 15th St, Roundabout Wazir Akbar Khan, ☎ + 93 700 102 000, e-mail; BritishEmbassy. Kabul@fco.gov. uk.. United States, Great Massoud (Airport) Rd, ☎ + 93 700 10 8001, + 93 700 201 908 (after hours emergencies), fax; + 93 700 108 564..

Demographics

The population of Kabul has fluctuated since the early 1980s to the present period. In 2009, the World Factbook estimated that Kabul's population was little over 3.5 million. According to Afghan government statistics, it was estimated around 3,289,000 in the year 2012.. A number Afghans from other provinces stay in Kabul on a temporary basis, to spend time with relatives due to fighting in their native areas or for other reasons.. The population of the city reflects the general multi ethnic and multi lingual characteristics of Afghanistan..

There is no official government report on the precise ethnic make over but according to a 2003 map found in the National Geographic Magazine, the population of the city was estimated at 45 Tajik, 25 Hazara, 25 Pashtun, 2 Uzbeks, 1 Baloch, 1 Turkmen, and 1 Hindu.. After 2003 large number of Afghan expats have returned from neighboring Pakistan, Iran and other places around the world.. Nearly all the people of Kabul are Muslims, which includes the majority Sunnis and minority Shias. A small number of Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians are also found in the city..

Education

The Ministry of Education led by Ghulam Farooq Wardak is responsible for the education system in Afghanistan. Public and private schools in the city have reopened since 2002 after they were shut down or destroyed during fighting in the 1980s to the late 1990s.. Boys and girls are strongly encouraged to attend school under the Karzai administration but many more schools are needed not only in Kabul but throughout the country. The Afghan Ministry of Education has plans to build more schools in the coming years so that education is provided to all citizens of the country..

The most well known high schools in Kabul include. The city's colleges and universities were renovated after 2002. Some of them have been developed recently, while others have existed since the early 1900s..

Communications

In Kabul, Minister Amir Zai Sangin of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology maintains statistics regarding telecommunications in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Afghanistan Information Management Services provides software development, capacity development, information management, and project management services to the Afghan Government and other NGOs, thereby supporting their on the ground activities.. GSMGPRS mobile phone services in the city are provided by Afghan Wireless, Etisalat, Roshan and MTN..

In November 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a 64.5 million US dollar deal with ZTE on the establishment of a countrywide fibre optical cable network to help improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services not just in Kabul but throughout the country.. Internet cafes were introduced in 2002 and has been expanding throughout the country. As of 2012, 3G services are also available.. The city has many local language radio and television stations, including in Pashto and Dari. The Afghan government has become increasingly intolerant of foreign channels and the un Islamic culture they bring, and has threatened to ban some..

There are a number of post offices throughout the city. Package delivery services like FedEx, TNT N.V., and DHL are also available..

Tourism

Tourism in Afghanistan is available through the Ministry of Information and Culture, led by Minister Dr Sayed Makhdoom Raheen of Kabul. In Kabul, there are 5 star hotels which include; The Serena Hotel, built by The Aga Khan Development Network, and The Marriott Hotel near the U.S. Embassy.. The Inter Continental is also in the process of being redeveloped. The Safi Landmark Hotel is a 4 star hotel located in the Kabul City Center.. The old part of Kabul is filled with bazaars nestled along its narrow, crooked streets..

Cultural sites include the National Museum of Afghanistan, notably displaying an impressive statue of Surya excavated at Khair Khana, the ruined Darul Aman Palace, the tomb of Mughal Emperor Babur at Bagh e Babur, and Chehlstoon Park, the Minar i Istiqlal built in 1919 after the Third Afghan War, the tomb of Timur Shah Durrani, and the imposing Id Gah Mosque.. Bala Hissar is a fort destroyed by the British in 1879, in retaliation for the death of their envoy, now restored as a military college. The Minaret of Chakari, destroyed in 1998, had Buddhist swastika and both Mahayana and Theravada qualities..

Other places of interest include Kabul City Center, which is Kabul's first shopping mall, the shops around Flower Street and Chicken Street, Wazir Akbar Khan district, Kabul Golf Club, Kabul Zoo, Abdul Rahman Mosque, Shah Do Shamshira and other famous mosques, the National Gallery of Afghanistan, the National Archives of Afghanistan, Afghan Royal Family Mausoleum, the OMAR Mine Museum, Bibi Mahro Hill, Kabul Cemetery, and Paghman Gardens.. The Aga Khan Development Network was also involved in the restoration of the Bagh e Babur..

Tappe i Maranjan is a nearby hill where Buddhist statues and Graeco Bactrian coins from the 2nd century BC have been found. Outside the city proper is a citadel and the royal palace. Paghman and Jalalabad are interesting valleys north and east of the city..

Transportation

The Hamid Karzai International Airport is located 25 kilometers from the center of Kabul, which always served as the country's main airport.. It is a hub to Ariana Afghan Airlines, the national carrier of Afghanistan, as well as private airlines such as Afghan Jet International, East Horizon Airlines, Kam Air, Pamir Airways, and Safi Airways.. Regional airlines such as Air India, Emirates, Gulf Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Turkish Airlines and others also have regularly scheduled flights to the airport. A new international terminal was built by the government of Japan and began operation in 2008..

Kabul has no train service but the government plans to build rail lines to connect the city with Mazar i Sharif in the north and Jalalabad Torkham in the east. It also plans to build a metro rail in the future.. Long distance road journeys are made by private Mercedes Benz coach buses or various types of vans, trucks and cars. Although a nation wide bus service is available from Kabul, flying is safer, especially for foreigners.. The city's public bus service was established in the 1960s to take commuters on daily routes to many destinations. The service currently has about 800 buses, but it is gradually expanding and upgrading the fleet..

The Kabul bus system has recently discovered a new source of revenue in whole bus advertising from MTN similar to " bus wrap " advertising on public transit in more developed nations. There is also an express bus that runs from downtown to Kabul International Airport for Safi Airways passengers.. Private vehicles are on the rise in Kabul, with several dealerships in the city. It has been reported that up to 90 of cars in Kabul are Corollas. Gas stations are mainly private owned.. Bicycles on the road are a common sight in the city as are white and yellow older model Toyota Corolla taxicab..

Health Care

Health care in Afghanistan is relatively poor. The wealthy Afghans usually go abroad when seeking treatment. Presently, there are several hospitals in Kabul which include;.

Geography, Climate And Environment

Kabul serves as the nation's cultural and learning center, situated 1,791 meters above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains along the Kabul River. It is linked with Kandahar, Herat and Mazar e Sharif via the circular Highway 1 that stretches across Afghanistan.. It is also the start of the main road to Jalalabad and further to Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Kabul International Airport is located about 16 kilometers from the center of the city, next to the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood..

Bagram Airfield is about 25 miles northeast of Kabul.. Kabul has a semi arid climate with precipitation concentrated in the winter and spring months. Temperatures are relatively cool compared to much of Southwest Asia, mainly due to the high elevation of the city.. Summer has very low humidity, providing relief from the heat. Autumn features warm afternoons and sharply cooler evenings. Winters are cold, with a January daily average of 2.3 C Spring is the wettest time of the year, though temperatures are generally amiable..

Sunny conditions dominate year round. The annual mean temperature is 12.1 C. The city of Kabul is one of the 15 districts of Kabul Province, which is divided into 18 city districts. Each city district covers several neighborhoods..