Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country that is
located approximately in the center of Asia.
It has religious, ethno-linguistic, and geographic links with most of its
neighboring states. It is bordered by Pakistan,
Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan and China. The name
Afghanistan means the "Land of Afghans."
Afghanistan is a culturally mixed nation, a
crossroads between the East and the West, and has been an ancient focal point
of trade and migration. It has an important geostrategical
location, connecting South, Central and Southwest Asia.
During its long history, the land has seen various invaders and conquerors,
while on the other hand, local entities invaded the surrounding vast regions to
form their own empires. In the 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state
in "The Great Game" played between the British Indian Empire and Russian
Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country
regained full independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has
suffered continuous and brutal civil war, which included foreign interventions
in the form of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the recent 2001 US-led invasion
that toppled the Taliban government.