Afghanistan in ancient times
In the 6th century BC, according to allcitycodes, the region of today’s Afghanistan was taken over by the Persian king Cyrus II. conquered. Until 331 BC It was part of the Achaemenid empire, then belonged to the empire of Alexander the great, after his death (323 BC) to the Seleucid empire. Towards the end of the 4th century BC In BC Candragupta extended the Indian Maurya empire into the southern Hindu Kush. In the 3rd century BC In the east and north of the Hindu Kush, the Graecobactrian (Hellenobactrian) empire emerged, a Greek “island empire” in Central Asia that lasted for almost 200 years and finally succumbed to the onslaught of the Saks and Tocharians. The latter established the Kushana kingdom whose prosperity was based on trade between China, India and the Roman Empire. In the Kushana kingdom a pantheon of Indian, Roman-Hellenistic and Zoroastrian deities was worshiped in addition to Buddha; From here, Buddhism, which came from India, spread to China via Bactria and the Tarim Basin. The Kushana empire was destroyed in the 4th and 5th centuries AD, first by the Xiongnu, then by the Hephthalites, who in turn were subject to the Sassanid king Chosrau I (567).
Spread of Islam
Since the 7th century, with the Arab conquests, Islam was spread to the west and north of the Hindu Kush. The Tahirid dynasty (821-873) in Meshhed, which was still obliged to Baghdad, was followed by the Saffarids (867-901 in what is now Eastern Iran, then limited to Sistan) and the Samanids (864 / 873-999) in Transoxania.
Among the Turkic Ghasnavids (977–1187), who initially owed tribute to the Samanids, Ghazni rose under Mahmud the Great (Mahmud of Ghazni) at the end of the 10th century to become the cultural and economic center of the Islamic world. the Persian writer Firdausi and the natural scientist al-Biruni stayed. The Ghasnavid Empire stretched from Khorasan to the Indus. Under the Ghasnavids, the areas south of the Hindu Kush were Islamized and Islam was also carried into the Indian subcontinent. After a brief reign of the Ghorid dynasty, who destroyed the Ghaznavid residence Ghazni in 1150, the region of what is now Afghanistan was devastated by the Mongol campaigns under Genghis Khan around 1221. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the region was part of the Persian Empire of the Ilkhan.
At the end of the 14th century the area was again devastated by Timur (especially Sistan) and in the 15th century remained part of the Timurid Empire under semi-independent regional rulers, which had its center in Herat and achieved world fame in cultural terms through its book art.
The emergence of the Uzbek Shaibanids and the Persian Safavid dynasty at the beginning of the 16th century as well as the simultaneous establishment of an empire by the Indian Mughals under Babur (1504–26) contributed to the division of the region of present-day Afghanistan. Cities like Herat and Kandahar were a constant bone of contention between these empires. In the west the Persian influence was decisive, in the north the Uzbek and in the south and southeast that of the Mughals.
Pashtun empires founded (16th – 19th centuries)
Since the 16th century, the Pashtun tribes who lived south of the Hindu Kush rebelled against the surrounding empires. In 1672 the Mughals suffered a heavy defeat against them and were only able to secure the north-western frontier of their empire with difficulty. In 1709 the Ghilzai Pashtun Mir Wais († 1715) drove the Safavids out of Kandahar, in 1722 his son Mahmud († 1725) took Isfahan, the capital of the Safavids, and ended this dynasty and was proclaimed the Persian Shah. However, the rule of the Afghans over Persia did not last long and as early as 1729 the Turkic Nadir Shah (1736–47) expelled the Afghans and extended the Persian Empire to northern India.
After Nadir’s assassination near Meshhed (1747), Ahmed Shah Durrani (1747–72) from the Pashtun tribe of Popalzai / Sadozai founded the Durrani Empire in numerous campaigns, from Khorasan in the west and Amudarja in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south and to the Indus in the east and from which Afghanistan emerged in the 19th century. His son Timur Shah (* 1748, † 1793; 1772–93) moved the capital from Kandahar to Kabul. Fraternal wars, tribal feuds and conflicts with the neighboring empires (Persian Qadjars, Sikhs) as well as the emerging colonial powers Great Britain (British India) and Russia subsequently contributed to the collapse of the empire; After the dissolution of the central power (overthrow of the Sadozai dynasty 1818/19), four main principalities emerged in the 19th century in Herat, Kabul, Kandahar and Peshawar, which were ruled by competing families from the Pashtun tribe of the Barakzai / Mohammadzai. It was from here that Dost Mohammed Khan, who founded the Barakzai dynasty, established his rule over the country.