Kabul is introduced in the Brave New World expansion pack.
Musical Theme: Middle Eastern
To his fellow Afghans, Abed Rahmani wrote, "Be united like a rain; be powerful like an ocean." The people of Kabul, largest city in Afghanistan, having weathered repeated imperial invasions to retain their distinctive culture and identity, can be said to have done that. Wedged in a valley in the Hindu Kush, Kabul occupies a strategic location on the route between south and central Asia, controlling the approaches to the Khyber Pass. The city serves as Afghanistan's cultural and educational center; although the conflicts beginning in 1978 crippled Kabul's influence, since the ascension of the Karzai administration in 2001, progress has been made in returning the capital to its historic role in the cultural and political life of the Hindu Kush.
Kabul is over 3500 years old, but rarely free. The Hindu Rigveda praised it as the ideal city, a "vision of paradise set in the mountains." Late in the Achaemenid Era, the city became a center for Zoroastrianism. Numerous kingdoms and empires held Kabul over the next dozen centuries. In 1504 the city was taken by Babur, who made it his headquarters as he carved out the Mughal Empire. Babur so loved the city he lived in for two decades that his tomb carried an inscription in Persian reading: "If there is a paradise on earth, this is it, this is it."
Free at last when the 20th century dawned, Kabul experienced a renaissance that spanned 60 years. During the 40-year rule of the liberal Mohammed Zahir Shah, European investments helped develop a modern network of communication and transportation. The ten-year Soviet occupation ended in civil war in 1989, resulting in the repressive Taliban-controlled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Not until an American-led coalition established a new democratic government did Kabul begin to reassert its historic cultural identity.