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Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, and the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia. The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviet, and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state between British India and the Russian Empire. Its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947.
In the late 1970s, Afghanistan in a series of coups first became a socialist state and then a Soviet Union protectorate. This evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the fundamentalist Islamic group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for almost five years. The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, and a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed.
Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 35 million, mostly composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks.
1709-1747 - Ahmad Shah Durrani of the Abdali Pashtun confederacy declared the establishment of
an independent Afghanistan, with its capital at Kandahar.
1809-1839 - First Anglo-Afghan War: A British expeditionary force captured Quetta
1857 - Afghanistan declared war on Persia.
1878 - Second Anglo-Afghan War: Afghanistan refused a British diplomatic mission, provoking a second Anglo-Afghan war.
1879 - Second Anglo-Afghan War: To prevent British occupation of a large part of the country, the Afghan government ceded much power to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of Gandamak.
1919 - Third Anglo-Afghan War: Amanullah led a surprise attack against the British.
1922 - Solar Hijri calendar officially adopted in Afghanistan.
1929 - Amanullah was forced to abdicate in favor of Habibullah Kalakani in the face of a popular uprising.
1965 - The Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan held its first congress.
1978 - A treaty was signed which permitted deployment of the Soviet military at the Afghan government's request.
1978 - Soviet–Afghan War, the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan. 1988 - The Soviet government signed the Geneva Accords, which included a timetable for withdrawing their armed forces.
1989-1992 - The last Soviet troops left the country.
1994-1995 - The Taliban government began to form in a small village between Lashkar Gah and Kandahar. The Taliban, with Pakistani support, initiated a military campaign against the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
1996- 2001 - Civil war in Afghanistan
2001 - After the September 11 attacks in the United States, U.S. President George W. Bush demanded the Taliban government to hand over al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden and close all terrorist training camps in the country.
2001 - Operation Enduring Freedom: The United States and the United Kingdom began an aerial bombing campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
2001 - The United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan.
2005 - Taliban insurgency: An insurgency began after a Pakistani decision to station soldiers next to the porous Durand Line border with Afghanistan.
2007 - Afghanistan–Pakistan Skirmishes: Skirmishes began with Pakistan.
2011 - Afghanistan National Front was created by Tajik leader Ahmad Zia Massoud, Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqiq and Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum