Kandahar (ˈkændəhɑ:r; ; ) is a city in Afghanistan, located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of . It is Afghanistan's second largest city after Kabul, with a population of about 614,118. It is the capital of Kandahar Province and the centre of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. Kandahar is the founding city and spiritual center of the Taliban. Despite the capital of Afghanistan being Kabul, where the government administration is based, Kandahar is the seat of power in Afghanistan as the supreme leader and his spiritual advisers are based there. Kandahar has therefore been called the de facto capital of Afghanistan, though the Taliban maintain Kabul is the capital.
In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire. Historically this province is considered as an