The location of Afghanistan astride the land routes between the Indian subcontinent, Iran, and central Asia has enticed conquerors throughout history. Its high mountains, although hindering unity, helped the hill tribes to preserve their independence. It is probable that there were well-developed civilizations in S Afghanistan in prehistoric times, but the archaeological record is not clear. Certainly cultures had flourished in the north and east before the Persian king Darius I (c.500 B.C.) conquered these areas. Later, Alexander the Great conquered (329–327 B.C.) them on his way to India.
The Muslim conquest of Afghanistan began in the 7th cent. Several short-lived Muslim dynasties were founded, the most powerful of them having its capital at Ghazna who conquered the lands from Khorasan in Iran to the Punjab in India early in the 11th cent. As fighting among various factions continued, Afghanistan was in effect divided into several independent zones, each with its own ruler.
Opium, fruits and nuts, lambskins (Karakul) and textiles, handwoven carpets, and gemstones are the main exports; petroleum products, manufactured goods, and foodstuffs are the main imports. As a result of civil war, exports have dwindled to a minimum, except for the illegal trade in opium and hashish. The country is also becoming a important producer of heroin, which is derived from opium. People around the world are attracted to Afghanistan because of it’s economy and living standards which makes international relocation and moving to Afghanistan a regular event.