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The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South-Central Asia. It is variously described as being located within South Asia, Central Asia, and sometimes Western Asia (or the Middle East). It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.

The territories now comprising Afghanistan have been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. The land is at an important geostrategic location, connecting East, South, West and Central Asia, and has been home to various peoples through the ages. The region has been a target of various invaders since antiquity, including Alexander the Great, the Mauryan Empire, Arab Muslim armies, and Genghis Khan, and has served as a source from which many kingdoms, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Timurids, and many others, have risen to form empires of their own and influence neighboring regions.

The political history of Afghanistan begins in the 18th century with the rise of the Pashtun tribes (known as Afghans in Persian), when in 1709 the Hotaki dynasty established its rule in Kandahar and, more specifically, when Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747 which became the forerunner of modern Afghanistan. Its capital was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to neighboring empires in the following decades. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" between the British and Russian empires. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.

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