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A turbulent past as well as a chaotic present describes the country of Afghanistan perfectly.
Humans have been living in and around Afghanistan's region for at least 50,000 years. It has been suggested that the area was home to some of the earliest farming communities in the world.
It was invaded and conquered (over the centuries) by the Persians, Greeks
, Arabs, Mongols, Tartars and British
. Today the country is deeply involved in America's
on-going worldwide war on terrorism.
During the 7th century AD, Arab Muslims brought Islam to Afghanistan, turning the region into the primary focal point of the Muslim world. By the 11th century the remaining non-Muslim areas had all adopted Islam.
The Mongol barbarians and Genghis Khan stormed through Afghanistan in the year 1219 annihilating cities and villages along the way. The Mongols dominated the region, driving the locals to rural societies, until the Timurid dynasty took control in 1370.
By the 16th century, and lasting until the early 18th century, Afghanistan fell under the rule of three regional kingdoms: Khanate of Bukhara in the north, Shi'a Safavids in the west, with the remaining area was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate.
The Afghan citizens began to grow restless under their leadership, and in 1709 a successful revolt headed by Mirwais Hotak (widely recognized as Afghanistan's George Washington) overthrew the Persians.
In 1722, Mirwais Hotak's son Mahmud took an army with him to Persia, eradicated the capital of Isfahan, and declared himself to be King of Persia.
Naturally, this displeased the citizens of Persia, and they refused to align with the new Afghan rulers. After the massacre of thousands, a battle between the Persians and Afghans developed, and in 1729 the Persians pushed out the Hotaki dynasty.
Ahmad Shah Durrani was appointed head of state in 1747, and has since become recognized as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan. Along with the Afghan army, Durrani was responsible for conquering the entirety of present-day Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan
, the Khorasan and Kohistan provinces of Iran
, and Delhi in India
Following Durrani's death in 1772, his son, Timur Shah Durrani, assumed control of the region, and transferred the capital from Kandahar to Kabul in 1776.
Instability surfaced in the early 1800s as the Sikhs in the east and the Persians in the west threatened the Afghan Empire. The Persians were successfully held back, but the Sikhs defeated Afghan's present ruler, Fateh Khan, at the Battle of Attock.
Prior to the invasion, Fateh Khan had divided 21 of his brothers in ruling positions throughout the empire, and after his death the brothers divided the provinces between themselves.