October 28, 2021
Kondoz, Kondôz, Kunduz or Koundouz, in Persian: قندوز, is a city in Afghanistan and the capital of the eponymous province. According to the 1979 census, its population was 53,251; it was estimated at 95,000 inhabitants in 2002 and 304,600 in 2012, making it the fifth most populous city in Afghanistan. The city was called Drapsaka in Antiquity; Alexander the Great would have visited it. Subsequently, it is called Walwalij, its name taking a form close to its current name in the Timurid era. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Koundouz was the capital of an Uzbek-Tajik khanate whose scope and degree of autonomy varied, until its annexation by Afghanistan in 1859. It occupies a strategic location between the provinces of Takhâr and Badakhchân, and was one of the centers of the Taliban regime until its capture by the Northern Alliance in November 2001. At the end of 2009, the area was again largely under Taliban control; New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was briefly kidnapped there in September 2009 ,. On October 3, 2015, the American army bombed the Médecins Sans Frontières health center there, after being warned that it had the wrong target, killing 22 victims, 12 employees, and ten patients, including three children. The motive for what could be a war crime, would be, according to the spokesman for the American forces in Afghanistan, the presence of Taliban next to the hospital; this version is refuted by the director of operations of MSF, who speaks of "very targeted [...] impacts, always on the same building". On August 8, 2021, the city was taken by the Taliban.