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The region of Afghanistan has for much of history been part of the Persian empire. From time to time it has been linked with the northern plains of India, as under the Kushan dynasty of the 2nd century AD. Very occasionally, as in the time of Mahmud of Ghazni, it has existed as a kingdom approximating more closely to the modern borders of Aghanistan.

The geo-political positioning of Afghanistan in Central Asia has had a major influence on its history and on its borders. During the 19th century Afghanistan was caught between two rival empires, the British to the south and east and the Russians to the north.

Coming to a mutual understanding to keep Afghanistan as a buffer state, the country’s borders were pushed and shoved by the empires with little or no consultation with Afghan rulers.

Afghanistan’s official languages are Dari and Pashto, both of which are Indo-European languages in the Iranian sub-family. Written Dari and Pashto both use a modified Arabic script.Other Afghan languages include Hazaragi, Uzbek, and Turkmen.

Warlords ruled from 1989 until the extremist Taliban took power in 1996. The Taliban regime was ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001 for its support of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. A new Afghan government was formed, supported by the International Security Force of the United Nations Security Council.