Kabul, city in east central Afghanistan, capital of the country and 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. Manufactures of the city include textiles, processed food, chemicals, and wood products. Tajiks are the predominant population group of Kabul, and Pashtuns are an important minority. Kabul University (founded in 1932) had been the country's most important institute of higher education prior to its closure due to war in 1992. The university was the best known in the region in the 1970 and 1980's. The university now is being partially reopened and only a few students are returning. The University needs much reconstruction in order to operate normally.
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. In 1747 Kabul became part of an independent Afghan state, and in the 1770s it replaced Qandahar as the capital of Afghanistan. It was a focus of British, Persian, and Russian rivalry for control of the Khyber Pass in the 19th century, when it was twice occupied (1839-1842 and 1879-1880) by British troops. 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.