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Central Asia

Sometimes called "the -stans," Central Asia is a vast region bounded by Iran, China, Russia, and Afghanistan/Pakistan (most consider Afghanistan to be part of Central Asia as well). It consists of the following present day countries:
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and (most usually) Afghanistan – all of which were most recently Soviet Republics until 1991. A rugged region with immense natural resouces, Central Asia has no open ocean seaports. Its only maritime ports are on the land-locked Caspian Sea that borders on the West.

Encylopedia Brittanica