The city was occupied (1876) by the British following the Second Afghan War, and it gained prominence as the seat of British resident Sir Robert Sandeman. It became a strongly garrisoned British military station. Much of the present city was rebuilt after a disastrous earthquake in 1935 that killed some two thirds of the population. Like many major Pakistani border cities, Quetta was a magnet for some of the millions of Afghan refugees who fled after the 1979 Soviet invasion; the refugees who remain have swelled the local population to an estimated 2 million people. As a result of war and ongoing fighting in Afghanistan, Quetta has become a center for arms and drug smuggling and a base for ousted Taliban leaders. In the 21st cent. Sunni extremist have increasingly attacked Shiites Hazaras living in Quetta.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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