Afghanistan (Pashto/Persian: , Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia and South Asia. and the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Through the ages the land has been home to various peoples and witnessed many military campaigns, notably by Alexander the Great, Arab Muslims, Genghis Khan, and in the modern-era by Western powers.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotaki and Durrani dynasties in the 18th Century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire. Following the 1919 Anglo-Afghan War, King Amanullah and King Mohammed Zahir Shah attempted modernization of the country. A series of coups in 1973, 1978, and 1979 was followed by a Soviet invasion and a series of civil wars that devastated much of the country.