Kandahar – the second largest city in Afghanistan and initially founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC – dominates Southern Afghanistan that is considered the “birth place” of the Taliban. The city is a key Pashtun stronghold and has seen heavy fighting between the Taliban and US, NATO and Afghan National Security forces for the last 15 years. Mullah Omar while the Taliban were in power lived outside of the city in a home built by Osama bin Laden.
Many people consider the Kandahar and the South historically as the most important political region in the country. Kandahar is the gateway to Urozgan to the north, Helmand and Nimroz to the east, Pakistan to the west and Kabul through Zabul and Ghazni to the north. Other major cities in the south include Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province (where the vast majority of Afghan opium is grown) and Ghazni.
The climate of Southern Afghanistan, especially around Kandahar, is extremely severe with areas reaching 50 degrees C in the summer. Urozgan and Ghazni have much milder temperatures and even experience snow in the winter months.