British forces occupied the city during the First Anglo-Afghan War from 1832 to 1842. They also occupied the city during the Second Anglo-Afghan War from 1878 to 1880. During the Soviet occupation of 1979 to 1989, Kandahar was originally firmly under Soviet command until mujahideen fighters began to shake the Soviet grip on the region. After the Soviet withdrawal, control changed several times.


Recent History

At the end of 1994, the Taliban emerged from the city and set out to conquer the south, east, and center of the country. Since the removal of the Taliban in 2001, Kandahar came under the control of Gul Agha Sherzai, a Pashtun warlord who had controlled the province and city before the Taliban came to power, he is credited with permitting the same corruption that first fueled the growth the Taliban. Central Afghan control remains little more than symbolic.



Kandahar International Airport serves the population of Kandahar as a method of traveling to far destinations. Kandahar Airport was built in the 1960s with US financial and technical assistance under the United States Agency for International Development program. Kandahar International Airport has been used by the NATO forces to deliver troops and humanitarian supplies since late 2001. The airport was severely damaged during the Soviet attacks on the city during 1979-89 and again during the US raids in late 2001. Repairs and upgrades also occurred during that period; the airport re-opened for civilian use in late 2006.
Kandahar has a loose public bus system carrying passengers. The city has a small public bus system that take commuters on daily routes to many destinations throughout the city. Besides the buses, there are yellow taxicabs that litter the city. Other traditional methods of ground transportation are also used. Private vehicles are on the rise in Kandahar, with Toyota and Hyundai dealerships opening in the city. More and more people are buying new cars as the roads and highways are being improved.


Efforts to improve education in Afghanistan are severely hampered without books, which are in short supply. Lack of funding and political will has lead to only small gains since the fall of the Taliban. Education has moved somewhat upward in the rest of the country, but southern states, like Kandahar, have seen slow to no progress because of the continued fighting and instability of the region. In 2006 alone, almost 150 educational institutes have closed in Kandahar province alone, according to the education ministry. Regionally more than 50 schools have been attacked this year. Over 60,000 students cannot attend school because of the risk of attack.


Kandahar University is the largest college or university in the province. In partnership with the Asia Foundation, the Kandahar University conducted a pilot project that provided female high school graduates with a four-month refresher course to prepare for the college entrance examination. Kandahar University, for example, currently has an enrollment of six women and 1,094 men. All of the 24 women who sat for the exam passed and have been admitted to universities to study medicine, engineering, economics, law, and agriculture. The university is only one of two universities in Kandahar that serve all of southern Afghanistan. The conditions in the university or extremely poor, with no water, limited power, and a closed library. The structures of the University are very weak and unsafe. The university is far behind the universities of the North because of the violence, the two universities in southern Afghanistan also receive very limited funding.


Economics and Trades

Kandahar had well-irrigated gardens and orchards and was famous for its grapes, melons, and pomegranates, but these were made inaccessible by land mines or destroyed outright in the conflict between the Soviets and the mujahideen, Islamic guerrilla fighters during the Soviet occupation. The city is of significant strategic importance in the region due to the major airport built in the early 1970s with development funding from the United States. The main source of trade is to Pakistan, Iran, and the United States. Kandahar is an agricultural state.














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Kandahar Picture Gallery



Province of Kandahar


Kandahar   كندهار

Kandahar Highlighted Red

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Capital Kandahar
Population 886,000
Area 54,022 km˛
Time Zone UTC + 4:30
Main Languages Pashto
Kandahar or Qandahar (Pashto: قندھار) is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Located in the south of the country, its capital is the city of Kandahar, located on the Helmand River. The Kandahar Province has a population of nearly 890,000, with over 300,000 living in its capital city. With Peshawar, Kandahar is the main province and city of the Pashtun people.



There is much debate about the origin of the name of Kandahar, both the province and city. Some believe the name is derived from Gandhara, a nenarby kingdom along the Kashmir and Afghan boarder. Another theory is that the name is a transliteration of Alexandria, which was one of Alexander the Great's favorite names given to new cities he founded.



Kandahar, the city and province, dates back to the time of the Mahabharata, which dates back to 3,120BC Indo-Aryan era. The present city of Kandahar was founded in the 4th century BC by Alexander the Great, near the ancient city of Mundigak. The city has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Central Asia, linking the Indian subcontinent with Persia and the Persian Gulf. It was part of the Iranian Achaemenid empire and came under the influence of the Indian emperor Ashoka who erected a pillar there with a bilingual inscription in Greek and Aramaic.


Under the Abbasids and later Turkic invaders, Kandahar converted to Islam. Kandahar would go on to be conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century, Turkic Ghaznavids in the 10th century, and Genghis Khan in the 12th century in a bloody battle. Ahmad Shah Durrani, the founder of Afghanistan, gained control of the city and province in 1747 and made it the capital in 1748 of his new Pashtun Afghan Kingdom. In the 1780's, the capital was transferred to Kabul. Currently, there is still a mausoleum for Ahmad Shah.

The Districts of Kandahar

District Area Population
Arghandab n/a n/a
Arghistan n/a n/a
Daman n/a n/a
Ghorak n/a n/a
Khakrez n/a n/a
Maruf n/a n/a
Maywand n/a n/a
Panjwai n/a n/a
Raigistan n/a n/a
Shah Wali Kot n/a n/a
Shorabak n/a n/a
Spin Boldak n/a n/a
Dand n/a n/a
Miyannasheen n/a n/a
Takhtapool n/a n/a
Zhari n/a n/a
Naish n/a n/a

Provinces of Afghanistan

Badakhshan » Badghis » Baghlan » Balkh » Bamyan » Daykundi » Farah » Faryab » Ghazni » Ghor » Helmand » Herat Jowzjan » Kabul » Kandahar » Kapisa » Khost » Konar » Kunduz » Laghman » Lowgar » Nangarhar » Nimruz » Nurestan Oruzgan » Paktia » Paktika » Panjshir » Parwan » Samangan » Sar-e-Pol » Takhar » Wardak » Zabul


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