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The country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and often fought.
It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been closely connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east, west, and north.
Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan.
An inscription on the tombstone of Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries that he had conquered.
In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire.A series of coups in the late 1970s was followed by a series of wars that devastated much of Afghanistan which began when the country became a socialist state under the influence of the Soviet Union during the Soviet–Afghan War.Following the departure of Soviet forces, the country became an Islamic state under the Peshawar Accord but much of its territory was later captured by the fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for almost five years.Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the region until 305 BCE, when they gave much of it to the Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.The Mauryans controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush until they were overthrown in about 185 BCE.
At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, and the Islamic Empire.