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Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located at the heart of Asia. Generally considered part of South Asia, it is sometimes ascribed to a regional bloc in either Central Asia or the Middle East, as it has religious, ethno-linguistic, and geographic links with most of its neighbours. It is largely bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast. The name Afghanistan means the "Land of Afghans".
Afghanistan is a mosaic of ethnic groups, and a crossroads between the East and the West. It has been an ancient focal-point of trade and migration. The region of modern Afghanistan has seen many invaders and conquerors come and go, including the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, Turkic and Mongol nomads, the British Empire and the Soviets.
Afghanistan was created as a nation in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani. On August 19, 1919, following the Anglo-Afghan wars, the country regained full independence from the UK over its foreign affairs.
Since 1979, Afghanistan has suffered almost continuous conflict, beginning with the Soviet invasion followed by a civil war and finally by the 2001 US intervention in which the ruling Taliban government was toppled. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This force, composed of NATO troops, has been involved in assisting the government of President Hamid Karzai in establishing authority across the nation. In 2005, the United States and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement committing both nations to a long-term relationship. In the meantime, over 18 billion US dollars have also been provided by the international community for the reconstruction of the country.
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