Kandahar, Kandehar, Kandihar, Gandhara
Ghandahar can be termed as modern day
Kandahar is the second largest city in
Afghanistan; Ghandahar takes its name from the root Ghand meaning sugar in
Persian, similar the city of Samarghand.
Previously, the city was the provincial capital of
Arachosia, a satrapy of the
Achaemenid Empire. The main inhabitants of Arachosia were the ancestors of today's Pashtuns. After the fall of the
Achaemenid Empire, the
Gojastak Alexander renamed it to
Alexandria as part of a systematic assimilation of a conquered nation.
Ghandahar has always been a target for conquest because of its strategic location. It later became part of the Indian Mauryan Empire.
Ghandahar maintained its culture long after the
Islamic conquest in the 7th century AD, until joining the federation of the
Saffarid dynasty opposing the Caliph in
Baghdad. In the 11th century, it was part of the
Ghaznavi dynasty but Ghandahar also had to endure invasions of Teimur and
In the 17th century, Ghandahar was part of the
Persia and remained so despite several intrusions and regained its
Iranian glory during
Qajar dynasties but after the
British occupation in 1839, it was separated from the mainland and intentionally been kept backwards and oppressed.
Ghandahar also witnessed an invasion by the
Red Army followed by a mutation of extremism called
Taliban which paved the way an
American invasion in 2001.