🇦🇫 Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. Kabul serves as the political, cultural and economical centre. Rapid urbanisation has made Kabul the world's 75th largest city. Kabul is located high up in a narrow valley between the Hindu Kush mountains and bounded by the Kabul River, with an elevation of 1,790 metres (5,873 ft) making it one of the highest capitals in the world. The city is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire. Located at crossroads in Asia – roughly halfway between Istanbul in the west and Hanoi in the east – it is in a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia, and a key location of the ancient Silk Road. It has been part of the Achaemenids followed by the Seleucids, Mauryans, Kushans, the Hindu Shahi and Turk Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarazmians, Qarlughids, Khaljis, Timurids, Mughals, and Hotaks, until finally becoming part of the Afghan Durrani Empire in 1747. Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan in 1776 during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani. In the early 19th century, the British occupied the city, but after establishing foreign relations, they were compelled to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan.
Kabul is known for its historical gardens, bazaars, and palaces, well known examples being the Gardens of Babur and Darul Aman Palace. In the latter half of the 20th century, it became a stop on the hippie trail attracting tourists, while the city also gained the nickname Paris of Central Asia.
Kabul's main products included fresh and dried fruit, nuts, beverages, Afghan rugs, leather and sheep skin products, furniture, antique replicas, and domestic clothes. Local economic developments have included a number of indoor shopping malls. The first of these was the Kabul City Center, opened 2005. Others have also opened in recent years including Gulbahar Center, City Walk Mall and Majid Mall.
Mandawi Road on the south side of the river, located between Murad Khani and Shur Bazaar neighborhoods, is one of the main bazaars of Kabul. This wholesale market is very popular amongst locals. Nearby is the Sarai Shahzada money exchange market. Chicken Street is perhaps best known to foreigners.
Kabul's largest industrial hub was located in District 9, on the north banks of the River Kabul and near the airport. About 6 km (4 mi) from downtown Kabul, in Bagrami, a 9-hectare (22-acre) industrial complex had been completed with modern facilities, which allowed companies to operate businesses there. The park had professional management for the daily maintenance of public roads, internal streets, common areas, parking areas, 24 hours perimeter security, access control for vehicles and people. A number of factories operated there, including the $25 million Coca-Cola bottling plant and the Omaid Bahar juice factory. Da Afghanistan Bank, the nation's central bank, was headquartered in Kabul. In addition, there are several commercial banks in the city.
Kabul is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Kabul is rated E+ by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. E+ cities are strong regional gateway cities. Kabul was ranked #1335 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Kabul has a population of over 3,414,100 people. Kabul also forms part of the wider Kabul metropolitan area which has a population of over 4,222,000 people.