Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan

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Archaeological exploration of the pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan began in Afghanistan in earnest after World War II and proceeded until the late 1970s when the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union. Archaeologists and historians suggest that humans were living in Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the region were among the earliest in the world.[1][2] Urbanized culture has existed in the land between 3000 and 2000 BC.[1][3][4] Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found inside Afghanistan.[4]

Afghanistan was inhabited by the Aryan tribes and controlled by the Medes until about 500 BC when Darius I marched with his Persian army to make it part of the Zoroastrian Achaemenid Empire. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the land after defeating Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela and Afghanistan became part of the new Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Some eastern parts of the country were controlled by the Indian Maurya Empire whose main religion was Hinduism. In the 1st century, the land became part of the Kushan Empire whose official religion was Buddhism.[2]

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