Kunduz (/kʊnduːz/ Pashto: کندز; Persian: قندوز) is a city in northern Afghanistan, which serves as the capital of Kunduz Province. It is sometimes spelled as Kundûz, Qonduz, Qondûz, Konduz, Kondûz, Kondoz, or Qhunduz.
The city of Kunduz has a population of about 268,893, while Kunduz District has a population of 304,600. It is about the 5th largest city of Afghanistan.
Kunduz is located in the historical Tokharistan in the region of Bactria. It is linked by highways with Mazar-e Sharif to the west, Kabul to the south and Sher Khan Bandar to the north. Kunduz is at an elevation of 391 metres (1,283 ft) above sea level.
The land use of the city (within the municipal boundary) is largely agricultural (65.8% of total area). Residential land comprises nearly half of the 'built-up' land area (48.3%) with 29,877 dwellings. Institutional land comprises 17.9% of built-up land use, given that the airport is located within the municipal boundary
The name of the city is derived from Persian compound, kuhan/quhan diz, "old/ancient fort" or from Turkic konak/konut ("residence, palace, court, housing, established dwelling area, city, town, village"), from Proto-Turkic *kon-, "to settle down/to perch." Alternative derivations also include Turkic kündüz ("day, daylight"), from Proto-Turkic kün, "day/sun".
Interestingly, until the 1960s, the city served as the capital to the now-defunct province of Qataqan, itself meaning "Old/Ancient city" (from Turkic kata ("old/ancient') and Eastern Iranian (Sogdian) kand or Common Turkic kent, "fort", "town").
Kunduz is the site of the ancient city of Drapsaka. It was a great center of Buddhist learning and very prosperous during the 3rd century AD.
The city used to be called Walwalij (or Varvarliz) and the name Kuhandiz began to be used from the Timurid time.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it was the capital of a rather large eponymous, sometimes independent, sometimes autonomous Uzbek-Tajik khanate that in 1820s encompassed land from Khulm to the Pamir Mountains. It was part of The Great Game between the British and Russians. This khanate was finally destroyed by Afghanistan in 1859. Between one hundred and two-hundred thousand Tajiks and Uzbeks fled the conquest of their homeland by Russian Red Army and settled in northern Afghanistan.
In the early 20th century, under the governance of Sher Khan Nasher, Kunduz became one of the wealthiest Afghan provinces. This was mainly due to Nasher's founding of the Spinzar Cotton Company, which continues to exist in post-war Afghanistan.
Kunduz is the most important agricultural province which produces wheat, rice, millet, and other products and obtained the nickname of "the hive of the country."
Kunduz is the centre for the north east provinces, and was the stronghold of the Taliban during its regime. It was the last major city held by the Taliban before its fall to US-backed Afghan Northern Alliance forces on November 26, 2001. The city is strategically important because it is the only way connecting Takhar province and Badakhshan provinces, which play a critical role in the existing government.
During the summer of 2015, the Taliban and Afghan forces battled for control of the city. Tens of thousands of inhabitants were displaced internally in Afghanistan by the fighting. On 28 September 2015 the Taliban flag was again raised in the city center and the Taliban managed to capture the city prison and free many prisoners.
Kunduz has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) with hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is generally low except from January to April, with summers almost always rainless.
The city of Kunduz has a population of about 268,893, while Kunduz District has a population of 304,600. Kunduz has a largely mixed population, including Tajiks, Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Khowar, Arabs and a few others.
The Kunduz Arabs speak the Persian language rather than Arabic, as it is the local language of the region. However, they claim a strong Arab identity, based on their tribes that originated in Arabia. This may in fact point to the 7th and 8th centuries migration to this and other Central Asian locales of many Arab tribes from Arabia in the wake of the Islamic conquests of the region. There are other such Arabs to the north and west, between Kholm, Mazar-e Sharif and Shibarghan.
Kunduz city is divided into 8 Police Districts ('Nahias') with a total land area of 11,206 hectares.
Kunduz Province is divided into six districts: Khan Abad, Ali Abad, Char Dara, Dashti Archi, Qala-e-Zal and Imam Sahib, plus Kunduz City. Kunduz has nine representatives in the lower house and two in the upper house and has a provincial council. The most influential leader of Kunduz was Arif Khan, who was a governor of Kunduz Province and was shot dead in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan in the year 2000. Soon after the incident his brother Haji Omar Khan took his responsibility and was appointed as the Governor of Kunduz (2000–01). In the Karzai administration, Haji Omar Khan was elected to be a representative of Kunduz Province in the Lower House (Wolasi Jirga) and at a time serve as an advisor minister to President Hamid Karzai.Spinzar Cotton Company founders, Ghulam Sarwar Nashir, Nazik Mir Khan Zakhel, and Raees Munawar Khan seen as the founding fathers of the province.
Gholam Nabi Nasher Khan (1926–2010), parliamentarian
Sayed Noorullah Murad (Afghan politician, member of federal cabinet, military commander & scholar) Imam Saheb district.
Javed Ahmadi (1992–), player in the current Afghanistan national cricket team
Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi is current Afghan National Parliament Speaker.
On 28 September 2015, the Taliban attacked Kunduz from three sides and captured most of the city. However, the Afghan Armed Forces are trying to retake it. Heavy fighting has occurred between the Taliban and Afghan military. After 15 days the Taliban left the city. They announced that, after achieving their objectives, they have withdrawn from the city's center. Zabihullah mujahid, Taliban spokesperson, said that their main object in leaving the city is to avoid civilian casualties from air raids.