Kabul, also spelled Cabool, Caubul, Kabol, or Cabul, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan. According to a 2012 estimate, the population of the city was around 3,289,000, which includes Tajiks, Pashtuns, Hazaras and smaller numbers of Afghans belonging to other ethnic groups. It is the 64th largest and the 5th fastest growing city in the world.Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have long fought over the valley for its strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia. It made up the eastern end of the Median Empire before becoming part of the Achaemenid Empire. In 331 BC, Alexander the Great defeated the Achaemenids and the area became part of the Seleucid Empire followed by the Maurya Empire. By the 1st century AD it became the capital of the Kushan Empire. It was later controlled by the Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, and others.Between 1504 and 1526 AD, it served as the headquarters of Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire. It remained under Mughal control until Nader Shah and his Afsharid forces seized it in 1738. The city fell to Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747, who added it to his new Afghan Empire. In 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of the modern state of Afghanistan. It was invaded several times by neighboring British-Indian forces during the Anglo-Afghan wars in the 19th century. After the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, the city was air raided by the Royal Air Force of British India. It began developing into a modern style city based on European architecture, particularly French, German and Italian designs.Since the Marxist revolution in 1978, the city has been a target of militant groups such as the mujahideen, Taliban, Haqqani network, Hezbi Islami, and others. While the Afghan government tries to rebuild the war-torn city, insurgents have continued to stage major attacks not only against the Afghan government and NATO-led forces but also against foreign diplomats and Afghan civilians.