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Afghanistan

KANDAHAR (Qandahar)

  • The second largest city of Afghanistan is the seat of Kandahar province, called Arachosia by the Greeks, where Alexander had built a garrison city, Alexandria of Arachosia. Kandahar was subsequently conquered by Arabs, Turks, Moguls, and Persians and was the capital of Afghanistan from 1747 to 1773.

  • Kandahar is the birth place and the first capital of the modern kingdom of Afghanistan, founded by Ahmed Shah Durrani in 1774.

  • It lies in the south on a broad, irrigated plain. The commercial center for a fruit-growing and sheep-raising region, it has fruit-processing plants and textile mills. Trade in hides, tobacco, textiles, and carpets is also important.

  • The sacred Mantle of the prophet Mohammed is enshrined in a splendid mosque.

  • The ruins of the ancient city of Kandahar and Chilzina (forty steps) is carved out of a sold piece of rock. The steps lead to a small niche in which an inscription commemorating his victories was carved out by Emperor Babur in the 16th century. From the platform on the top, one can get a grand view of the lush Argandab plain, the ruins of the ancient city and the modern city of Kandahar.

  • Population of 237,500 (1990 est.)

  • The city was a rebel base and suffered much damage during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In recent years it has served as the spiritual headquarters of the Taliban. Book on Taliban.

AROUND KANDAHAR

  • LASHKARGAH-BOST - 200 kms from Kandahar, once a prosperous and fertile corner of Afghanistan. The first region of the country where Islam penetrated in the 7th century and where in the 11th century Sultan Masud of Ghazni built his great palace by the Helmand River and made it the winter quarters for his army and elephants.

    The city was destroyed by the hordes of Chengiz Khan in the 13th century. Today the remains of the great palace of Masud still gives the visitors and idea of the splendor of the court of what was then, the greatest empire in the East.

    Lashkargah is today the center of a great modern irrigation project and the provincial center of Bost.