GHAZNI – The Forgotten City
In the year 1,000 AD, this city of culture, wealth, learning, and renown was the seat of the Turkic conqueror Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavid, whose empire stretched from Persia all the way across North India.
It is said that the resistant Pashtuns finally capitulated to Islam through joining this famous warrior in conquering and plundering in the name of Allah. Only two victory towers and the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni remain to commemorate his fame.
As the empire crumbled, so did the city’s glory, and it remained a forgotten city for hundreds of years. British troops blew open its hitherto impregnable gates 160 years ago in revenge for the massacre by Pashtuns of 17,000 retreating British subjects including women and children.
The Taliban were strongly entrenched here for more than six years until 2001.
This Pashtun-dominated city is very conservative, with women wearing the full veil. Though Hazaras, the ethnic enemies of the Afghan Pashtuns, make up nearly half of the population, they have co-existed in relative peace in the city of Ghazni.
The primary sources of income are agriculture (wheat, grapes and other fruits), livestock, and trade. Aid and development have been slow to make their way here, due to security. Right now Ghazni is extremely unsafe for foreigners.