Kandahar or Qandaha city (1989 est. pop. 203,000), capital of Kandahar prov., S Afghanistan. The country's second largest city and chief trade center, Kandahar is a market for sheep, wool, cotton, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. It has an international airport and is linked by road with Kabul, Herat, Quetta, and the nations of Central Asia. Woolen cloth, felt, and silk are manufactured. The surrounding irrigated region produces fine fruits, especially grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit.
The old city was laid out by Ahmad Shah during the 18th cent. and is dominated by his octangular, domed mausoleum. There are also numerous mosques (one said to contain the Prophet Muhammad's cloak) and bazaars. Modern Kandahar adjoins the old city. It has a technical college. Together with Peshawar, Pakistan, Kandahar is the principal city of the Pashto people, and it was the religious headquarters of the Taliban, the austere Islamic fundamentalist movement.
Airport Information **
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Kandahar International Airport (referred to by ISAF as Kandahar Airfield, KAF) (IATA: KDH, ICAO: OAKN) is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) south-east of Kandahar City in Afghanistan. It serves as the nation's second main international airport and as one of the largest military bases, capable of housing around two hundred military aircraft.
The airport was built in the 1960s by the Afghan government. It was occupied by the Soviets during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan. Following their withdrawal the airport remained in control of Najibullah's government until he stepped down in 1992. Local warlord Gul Agha Sherzai was in charge of the airport until the Taliban took control of Kandahar in 1994. They were driven out of the country during Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001. The airport was damaged by U.S. and British bombings in October 2001.
As of 2007, the airport has been repaired and expanded. It is used for both military and civilian flights. Most of the airport is maintained by the U.S. Armed Forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which have large military bases there. The Afghan Armed Forces also has a separate base there. A smaller portion of the airport is used by the 2nd Wing of the Afghan Air Force. The Afghan National Police provides security inside the passenger terminal.
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