Kabul Airport was originally built in the early 1960s by Soviet engineers. Around this time in history, Afghanistan was becoming a modernized nation and catching up with the rest of the nations in the world. Many western tourists from places such as the Americas, Europe, India, and else where started flocking to the country via Kabul Airport. This era tragically ended in the late 1970s when the country began facing political turmoil.
The airport was used by the Soviet Army during the Soviet War in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989. It was also used by the military forces of the former President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Najibullah, until 1992. It fell in the hands of local mujahideen forces for several years and then was taken over by the Taliban until late 2001 when they fled the city after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Due to international sanctions during the Taliban government, the airport was closed in the late 1990s, with very limited international flights.
A month following NATO's invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Kabul International Airport was bombed and destroyed by United States armed forces. All the planes on the ground were also hit and destroyed by the pilots of the United States Air Force.
After the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) took over control, the airport began to be developed slowly over the years. A new radar system was installed in 2005, which was upgraded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration in 2010. A new $35 million terminal for international flights was added in 2009. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other high profile figures attended the inauguration ceremony. The new terminal was officially opened to international flights in June 2009. The existing terminal has been refurbished and is currently being used for domestic flights.
Passenger movements reached 100,000 per year by 2010 or 300 per day. In early 2012, the radar system was strengthened to cover Afghanistan's entire air space. The construction work for a new second runway begun in 23 May 2012 at Kabul International Airport. The project will cost $26M and will be funded by the Japanese government, the runway will be 44 meters wide and 5.4 kilometers long with international standards. With the new runway, large aircraft could fly and take off without waiting for an empty space.