Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the north, and Tajikistan and China to the northeast. Occupying 652,864 square kilometers, the country is predominately mountainous with plains in the north and the southwest that are separated by the Hindu Kush mountains. It is inhabited by 31.4 million people as of 2020, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Kabul serves as its capital and largest city.
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. The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets, and Americans. It is nicknamed the "graveyard of empires", though it has been occupied during several different periods of its history.