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In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and then a Soviet Union protectorate.
This evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels.
Alexander the Great and his Macedonian forces arrived in Afghanistan in 330 BCE after defeating Darius III of Persia a year earlier in the Battle of Gaugamela.
Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the region until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.
Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, and the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia.
Much of its 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range at the western end of the Himalayas, Kabul is the capital and largest city.By the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Achaemenids overthrew the Medes and incorporated Arachosia, Aria, and Bactria within its eastern boundaries.An inscription on the tombstone of Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries that he had conquered.It has been called "unconquerable" though it has been occupied during several different periods of its history.The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khaljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, and others have risen to form major empires.
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An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites.