Digital Media Concepts/Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul edit

Kabul has been the capital of Afghanistan since about 1776. The city has been badly damaged during in the various wars starting with the Soviet Invasion 1979, particularly its western parts. Kabul is currently going through a period of renovation and development, with some modern style tower blocks and a handful of glitzy shopping malls appearing over the last few years. However, roads and other infrastructure remain in poor condition, and electricity is spotty even in the downtown areas.

Current Events edit

Kabul, has recently seen a surge in attacks. The capital is notorious for its big concrete barricades that are placed to keep people safe yet just recently attacks have taken the lives of many. A suicide bomber and four gun men storm into a government building, where there has been at least 7 dead. [1] The attack took place at the Ministry of Telecommunications the head of MoT announced a higher death count. Also recent heavy rain have destroyed the capital due to it's rapid growth and poor development and infrastructure, many roads were flooded homes destroyed. One report claims the recent rainfall took at least 5 lives. [2]

History edit

Kabul is the capital and the largest city in Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the landlocked country. Also the largest urban centre in the country and also its political and economic hub, the city forms one of several districts of the Kabul province. According to estimates in 2015, the population of Kabul is 7.635 million,[3] which includes all the major ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the fifth fastest growing city in the world's.[4] Nestled between The Hindu Kush Mountains, at an elevation of 5,873 ft making it one of the highest capital's in the world.[5] The city goes back to the time of the Achaemenid Empire is said to be over 3,500 years old. It is at a strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia, and a key location of the ancient Silk Road.

20th Century edit

In 1919, after the Third Anglo-Afghan War, King Amanullah Khan announced Afghanistan's independence from foreign affairs at the Eidgah Mosque in Kabul.

The famous Darul Aman Palace, built under King Amanullah Khan as part of an incompleted new capital city

Amanullah who was reform-minded has a plan for a new capital city about 6 km away from Kabul. His new capital was named Darulaman and it consisted of the Darul Aman Palace, where we he later resided. Unfortunately his development of the new city was never completed, the only vision of Amanullahs that became reality was the palace. 1920s was a boom in education, many education institutions were founded in Kabul. In 1929 King Amanullah ultimately left Kabul so to local uprising, Nader Khan took over power. Three years later, the new king is assassinated during an award ceremony inside a school. Leaving the throne to his 19 year old son, Zahir Shah, who became the last King of Afghanistan.

Flats in "Old Mikrorayon", one of the city's Soviet-style microdistricts built between the 1960s and 1980s

After World War 1 and before World War 2 foreign nations like France and Germany helped develop the country and maintained high schools and lycées in the capital, providing education for the child of Kabul's elite families. Kabul University opened its doors in 1932 and by the 1960s the Afghan professors had been educated in the West. During the 1940s and 1950s, urbanization accelerated. Under the reign of Mohammad Daoud Khan in the 1950s foreign investment and development increased. In 1955, the Soviet Union forwarded $100 million in credit to Afghanistan which financed a five lane highway from Kabul to the Soviet border, public transportation, airports, factories and dams.The Soviets later during the 1960s built the Microrayon housing estates which were Soviet styled and are still standing strong in Kabul today. From the 1960s until the late 1970s, Kabul was a major stop in the famous Hippie trail.

Soviet Occupation edit

April 28,1978 President Daoud and most of his family were assassinated in Kabul during the Saur Revolution. Pro-Soviet Nur Muhammad Taraki seized power and slowly began to institute reforms. Gradually everything moved to the Soviet method, Private businesses were nationalized, Education was modified into the Soviet model, focusing on teaching Russian, Marxism-Leninism. Foreign backed rebel groups called mujahideen took up in arms in the name of Islam against the regime.

Civil War & Taliban Era edit

After the fall of Najibullah's government in April 1992, leaders of the different mujahideen factions created a new government under the Peshawar Accords, but Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party refused to sign the accords and started shelling the city for power, which soon escalated into a full-scale conflict. This marked the start of a dark period of the city: at least 30,000 civilians were killed in a period known locally as the "Kabul Wars." About 80 percent of the city was devastated and destroyed by 1996. The old city and western areas were among the worst-hit. A The New York Times analyst said in 1996 that the city was more devastated than Sarajevo, which was similarly damaged during the Bosnian War at the time.[6] On September 26, 1996 when the Taliban prepared a major offensive, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the government's military leader, ordered a full retreat from Kabul and fled north. The next day the Taliban seized Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They imposed a strict form of Sharia (Islamic law), restricting women from work and education. They also conducted amputations against common thieves.

21st Century edit

An American soldier standing with children at Freedom Circle (2011)

In November 2001, the Northern Alliance captured Kabul after the Taliban had abandoned it following the American invasion. A month later a new government under President Hamid Karzai began to assemble. In the meantime, a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was deployed in Afghanistan. The war-torn city began to see some positive development as many expatriate Afghans returned to the country. The city's population grew from about 500,000 in 2001 to over 3 million in recent years. Many foreign embassies re-opened, and the city has been recovering ever since. 2018 has been the worst year in terms of loss of life since the start of the American invasion. [1]

Geography edit

Qargha dam and lake

Kabul is situated in the eastern part of the country, 1,791 meters (5,876 feet) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains along the Kabul River. Immediately to the south of the old city are the ancient city walls and the Sher Darwaza mountain, with the Shuhadayi Salihin cemetery behind it. A bit further east is the ancient Bala Hissar fortress with the Kol-e Hasmat Khan lake behind it. Its location has been described as a "bowl surrounded by mountains".Some of the mountains (which are called koh) include: Khair Khana-e Shamali, Khwaja Rawash, Shakhi Baran Tey, Chihil Sutun, Qurugh, Khwaja Razaq and Sher Darwaza. There are also two mountains in between urban areas in western Kabul: Asamayi (also known as the Television hill) and Ali Abad. Hills within the city (which are called tapa) include Bibi Mahro and Maranjan.

Climate edit

Night scene in Kabul in 2016, with three mountains visible

Kabul enjoys a semiarid continental climate, with rain in spring and when the trough of the summer monsoon reaches the highlands in early August. Summer temperatures average around 90 °F (32 °C), although a diurnal difference of 20 °C is not uncommon. Winter temperatures average 20 °F (− 5 °C) and can be accompanied by heavy snowfall.

Demographics edit

Kabul has historically been the melting pot of the diverse ethnic groups who inhabit Afghanistan. As well as Pashtun and Tajik communities, who make up the majority of Afghans, there is a significant Ḥazāra population, along with Uzbek, Turkmen, and other groups. While the majority of the population is Muslim, there are also Sikh and Hindu communities in the city. Since the 1980s, rural communities displaced to the city as a result of conflict have made up a growing proportion of the urban population.

References edit