The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South-Central Asia. It is variously described as being located within Central Asia, South Asia, or the Middle East. It is bordered by Iran in the west, Pakistan in the south and east, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.
The geographic entity now known as Afghanistan has a very long history, and has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and migration. It is an important geostrategic location, connecting East and West Asia or the Middle East. The land has been a target of various invaders, as well as a source from which local powers invaded neighboring regions to form their own empires. Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747, which is considered the beginning of modern Afghanistan.
Its capital was shifted later from Kandahar to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to neighboring empires. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" played between the British Empire and Russian Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has experienced a continuous state of civil war punctuated by foreign occupations in the forms of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) did not authorize the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom). In late 2001 the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) composed of NATO troops. The country is being rebuilt by international support, while dealing with a strong insurgency. In November, 2009, UNICEF described Afghanistan as the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be born.