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Afghanistan is a conservative Muslim country. Religion permeates most aspects of the country's cultural and political life. Even with the rout of the Taliban in 2001, Islamic values remained strong. Sunni Muslims make up about 80 percent of the population; around 19 percent are Shi'ite Muslims. A small number of Sikhs and Hindus live in the country.

Afghanistan occupies a key strategic position and has long been a focal point of international power struggles. During...

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