Macedonian-born Alexander the Great led his armies through Persia and Afghanistan around 330 B.C. While Greek rule continued for the next two centuries, civil unrest and revolts were common. And in 1273, explorer Marco Polo crossed northern Afghanistan on his voyage from Italy to China. Soon, the nation became a critical, if dangerous, stop on the "Silk Route," an ancient trade route that linked Rome and China.
As the United States and other countries plan to send more troops to Afghanistan, take a look at some of the struggles in the history of this ancient land, where war and economic upheaval are nothing new.
Explore the different historic events that have made Afghanistan a crossroads of history.
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Afghanistan Crossroads is where CNN's reporting converges -- bringing you a diversity of voices, stunning images and video, global perspectives and the latest news from on the ground in Afghanistan and around the world.
- This blog was archived in October 2011.
From all parts of the world and spanning all ages, more than 2,500 U.S. and coalition troops have died in Afghanistan.
Explore the names, ages and faces of the fallen