The written record of ancient Afghanistan can be traced back to around 500 BCE, although there is evidence of an advanced civilisation existing there since around 2000 BCE.
Colonial powers long sought to control Afghanistan due to its strategic location between Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. While they never succeeded, the country’s modern history is defined by colonial interests.
In the last 500 years the country has been invaded by over 5 different empires or states. This includes the Turkish-Mongol-Indian Mughal Dynasty and the Persian Safavid Dynasty. The British Empire invaded many times, leading to three Anglo-Afghan Wars. The Soviet Union invaded in 1979 after the fall of the communist government. Most recently, the United States invaded following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Australian troops deployed in support of this effort.
There have also been many civil conflicts. Most resulted from coups, supported by countries who feel they have a stake in the territory, and from strict social doctrine.
Armed Forces from the US and Australia have withdrawn troops, however explosive devices, militant factions and political struggles continue to endanger the lives of locals. In mid-August 2021, Taliban forces took the capital of Kabul and seized power. Protests have been held around the country as thousands flee. The future of the fragile democracy remains uncertain.
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Reviewed 03 September 2021