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KABUL

14

INFORMATION

Afghan Tourist Organisation...........1 F1

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

OMAR Landmine Museum............. E3 Noon Gun...................................... D4 Mausoleum of Nadir Shah.............. F4 Kabul Zoo...................................... C4 Bala Hissar Citadel.......................... E4 Babur's Gardens............................. C4

7 6 5 4 3 2

SLEEPING

Sufi............................................... B2 Red Hot Sizzlin'............................... E3 Intercontinental Hotel..................... B2

8 EATING

10 9

ENTERTAINMENT SHOPPING

Zardozi......................................... B2 Ghazi Stadium.............................. E3

11

10 8

12 TRANSPORT

Serai Shomali Transport Depot...... B1 Minibuses to Bamiyan.................. B4

14 13

To Ghazni (144km); Bamiyan via

Hajigak Pass (176km); Kandahar (490km)

Koh-e Aliabad

Aliabad

See Central Kabul Map (p85)

Koh-e Asmai

University Kabul

Chowk-e Kote Sangi

13

Karte Se

To Cure International Hospital (1km); Federal Express (2km); Darulaman Palace (3km); Kabul Museum (3km)

Charahi Deh Mazang

4 6 2

See Kabul River & Zarnegar Park Map (p93)

Koh-e Shir Darwaza

i C l

Shohada-ye Salehin

3

Hashmat Khan

Kol-e

Koh-e Asmai (TV Mountain)

Id Gah Mosque

Minar-e Maiwand

Bazaar Shor

5

Bagh-e Bala

12

Dahani Bagh Charahi

Shahr-e Nau

Charahi Ariana

9

Mahmoud Khan

Pul-e

11 7

Maranjan Teppe

Charahi Millie Bus

To Begrami (3km)

Moulavi

Abdul Mateen Mosque

Charahi Sar Sabzi

Kolola Pushta Hill

Qala-e Musa

Wazir Akbar Khan

Charahi Massoud

Charahi Abdul Haq

r e v i

To Istalif (55km); Paghman (70km);

Panjshir Valley (105km); Bamiyan via Shibar Pass (240km);

Mazar-e Sharif (430km)

Karte Parwan

Taimani

1

Kabul Airport

0 0

K ABUL

2 km

1 mile

Qala-e Fatullah

Mahru Hill

Bibi

Microrayon

To Supreme PX (10km); Jalalabad (150km); Torkham (225km)

80 KABUL

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HISTORY

Legendarily founded by Cain and Abel, Kabul is an ancient city, repeatedly fought over by all the region’s great empires and religions. Known in antiquity as Kabura, it was an Achaemenid outpost 2500 years ago, later renamed Parapamisidae by the Bactrian Greeks who built a city here. In the centuries that followed, Kabul be- came a Buddhist city during the Kushan era, Hindu under the Indians and finally Muslim with the Arab expansion from the east. Kabul’s first Afghan rulers were the Ghorids in the 12th century. The whirlwind of destruction wreaked by

Genghis Khan had largely blown itself out by the time he reached Kabul, and the city escaped the worst of the Mongol destruc- tion. Kabul prospered under Timur in the 14th century, who even married the sister of one of Kabul’s rulers, and used the city as the base for his conquest of India. In 1504 Kabul was captured by Babur, founder of the Mughal empire. Babur loved Kabul, and had rhapsodised about its many delights. Even as his am- bition drove him eastward to India he dreamed of the city, writing ‘I have a long- ing beyond expression to return to Kabul. How can its delights ever be erased from my heart?’. His body was returned to Kabul for burial. As Mughal interests became centred on India, Kabul’s fortunes waned. A period of Safavid Persian interest was cut short by the meteoric rise to power of Ahmad Shah Durrani, who captured Kabul from his Kandahar base, forging the modern Afghan kingdom in the process. His son, Timur Shah, moved the Afghan capital to Kabul in 1772. Kabul was never a secure throne. When Dost Mohammed became amir in the 1820s, he found himself squeezed not just by Af- ghan rivals, but by the British and Russian empires. Initially courted by both powers, the British eventually sent an army of oc- cupation to Kabul in 1839, putting their own puppet on the throne. It was an early round of the Great Game that ended in dis- aster for the British – their resident hacked to pieces by a mob, and the Kabul garrison massacred as it tried to retreat from the city (see p32 ). The British sent an army of retribution to Kabul in 1842 and dynamited

Kabul

RISK ASSESSMENT

As the capital and centre of the international presence in Afghanistan, Kabul is a target for anti-government elements, and 2006 saw the first suicide bombings in the city for several years. Security is generally tight, and at the time of research Kabul was quiet but unpredictable. The threat of future attacks against targets of ‘high value’ remains – these potentially include Afghan and inter- national forces, areas around ministries, the airport and Jalalabad roads. Be aware that crime is also rising in Kabul – see p87 for more information.

the medieval covered bazaar, but also al- lowed Dost Mohammed to slip back in to the country and quietly regain his throne. Incredibly, the British failed to learn their

lesson, and were back again in 1878 trying to impose their rule. There was another massacre of British residents and another punitive army sent to Kabul (this time it was the Bala Hissar to be destroyed). At the end of the war, Amir Abdur Rahman Khan was left master of his kingdom. At the start of the 20th century Kabul was the focus of an ambitious modernis- ing program under King Amanullah. The model quarter of Darulaman was built on the southwest of the city, with tree-lined avenues and a European-style palace. Kabul boomed for the next 40 years. The USA and Soviet Union competed to provide vast amounts of aid, which helped pay for the paving of the city and the opening of Kabul University. The capital became a cosmo- politan place, and welcomed tourists from around the world. Things started to change following the

Soviet occupation in 1979. On the sur- face Kabul continued to prosper. Women made up nearly 40% of all governmental jobs, and the city’s shops were well stocked. The population largely sat out the war that raged across the country, although resist- ance groups increasingly infiltrated Kabul’s tight defences to carry out guerrilla attacks and bombings. If a smooth change of power was ex-

pected following the withdrawal of the Red Army in 1989, events quickly proved oth- erwise. The victorious mujaheddin entered

KABUL •• History 81

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