Kabul (Persian: کابل Kābol IPA: [kɒːˈbol]; Pashto: کابل Kābul IPA: [kɑˈbul]; archaic Caubul), is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the Kabul Province. According to the 2008 official estimates, the population of Kabul metropolitan area is 2.8 million people.
It is an economic and cultural centre, situated 5,900 ft (1,800 m) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains along the Kabul River. The city is linked with Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif via a circular highway that stretches across the country. It is also the start of the main road to Jalalabad and further to Peshawar, Pakistan.
Kabul's main products include fresh and dried fruit, nuts, Afghan rugs, leather and sheep skin products, domestic clothes and furniture, and antique replicas, but the 1978-2001 wars have limited the economic productivity of the city. Economic productivity has improved since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in late 2001.
Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have long fought over the city for its strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia. From 1504 to 1526, Kabul served as the original capital of Babur, builder of the Mughal Empire. It remained under the Delhi Sultanate until 1738, when Nader Shah and his Afsharid forces invaded the Mughal Empire. After the death of Nader Shah Afsharid in 1747, the city fell to Ahmad Shah Durrani, who quickly added it to his new Afghan Empire. In 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of the modern state of Afghanistan. Since the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, the city has been a target of militant groups. It is currently being re-developed but attacks by Taliban and other militants are slowing down the reconstruction process.