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When the british and russian empires were expanding, they were both separated by a section of land surrounded by mountains making afghanistan a buffer state.
Afghanistan was a monarchy until 1973 when a bloodless coup installed a single party presidential republic. In our timeline, this government was toppled in the soviet invasion of afghanistan. Although the country experiences some political tension, it is still a far cry from the vile warzone that it is in otl.
Afghanistan is currently undergoing political tensions. There are also issues with opium farming. However, there is no al queda as that came from the mujaheddin nor is there a rise in radical islam. The country mostly deals with its own affairs with little contact with its neighbors.