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Afghanistan dominates the news today, as it often did during the Soviet occupation two decades ago. But even in the 19th and early 20th centuries at the height of the Great Game, Afghanistan was the focal point of East-West relations. Squeezed between Russia, China, India and Persia, its tortured history provides an extraordinary glimpse into the patterns of world politics. Today, Afghanistan sits at the pivot of a region where a new Great Game is taking shape, pitched between America, its rivals and the peoples of Central Asia.