City (pop., 2006 est.: 2,536,300), capital of Afghanistan. Located on the Kabul River in a valley strategically located between mountain passes, it has existed for some 3,500 years. It became the capital of the Mughal dynasty in the 16th century, and it remained under Mughal rule until 1738, when it was captured by the Iranian conqueror Nadir Shah. Kabul has been the capital of Afghanistan since 1776. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, it established a military command in Kabul. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, factional fighting among Afghan guerrillas continued intermittently and the city suffered widespread destruction. In 1996 the Taliban captured Kabul and imposed an austere form of Islamic rule. The city began to recover from years of violence only when the Taliban government was overthrown in 2001.