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The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, commonly known as Afghanistan (افغانستان afġānistān, /æfˈɡænɨstæn/  ( listen)), is a landlocked and mountainous country in south-central Asia.[9] It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east,[note] Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. The territories now comprising Afghanistan have been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BCE.[10] Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3000 to 2000 BC.[11]

The country sits at an important geostrategic location which connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent,[12] which has been home to various peoples through the ages.[13] The land has witnessed military conquests since antiquity, including by Alexander the Great, Mauryan Empire, Genghis Khan, and many others.[10][11] It has also served as a source from which many local dynasties such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Timurids and others have established empires of their own.[14]

The political history of modern Afghanistan begins in the 18th century with the rise of the Pashtun tribes (known as Afghans in Persian language), when in 1709 the Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and Ahmad Shah Durrani established the Durrani Empire in 1747.[4][15][16] The capital of Afghanistan was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and part of its territory was ceded to neighboring empires by 1893. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the British and Russian empires.[17] On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war and the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi, the nation regained control over its foreign policy from the British.

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