Kabul, or Cabul (Kau'bal; the Kabura of Ptolemy), the capital of Afghanistan, is charmingly situated at the foot of the Takht-i-Shah and Asmai hills, on a spur of which to the south is the fortress of Bala Hissar (or 'upper fort'), once an important stronghold, but now abandoned. The city is composed almost entirely of mud-built buildings with flat roofs, and is traversed by the main bazaar, whose streets diverge from the central square, and divide Kabul into four quarters. The bazaar rivals that of Kandahar, and includes every variety of trade. Carpets, camel-hair cloth, and skins are perhaps the specialities; but there are now many shops in which European goods can be purchased, and Kabul is rapidly assuming the general character of an Indian mart. Communication with India is now regular and constant: there is a growing trade with central Asia. The cantonment of Sherpur, situated about a mile north of the Bala Hissar, where the British troops were beleaguered in 1880, is maintained in good repair. Close to it are still to be traced the outlines of the old British entrenchment of 1840-41, when, after a nine weeks' siege, a British force had to capitulate. At the western extremity of the Bemara ridge, which flanks Sherpur on the north, is the English cemetery, now protected by a high wall. Kabul is celebrated for its fruit, its grapes and melons being especially famous. The elevation of the plain above sea-level is about 6000 feet, which ensures a delightful temperature and fine climate in summer; but it is sometimes severely cold in winter, when snow occasionally covers the ground to the depth of several feet, and communication is frequently interrupted. Pop. 90,000.
The Kabul River rises at Sar-i-Chashma, near the source of the Helmund, flows through Kabul city, and, mainly by a long series of precipitous defiles, finally reaches the Indus at Attok. The length of its course (generally south-easterly) is about 270 miles.