Kush civilization centered in the confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile, and the confluence of the River Atbara and Nile in what is now the Republic of Sudan. One of the earliest civilizations to develop in the Nile River Valley, the Kushite state was formed before a period of Egyptian incursion into the area. The Kushite civilization has also been referred to as Nubia. It is also referred to as Ethiopia in ancient Greek and Roman records. According to Josephus and other classical writers, the Kushite Empire covered all of Africa, and some parts of Asia and Europe at one time or another. The Kushites are also famous for having buried their monarchs along with all their courtiers in mass graves. The Kushites also built burial mounds and pyramids, and shared some of the same gods worshipped in Egypt, especially Amon and Isis.
In Egypt, Libyan princes had taken control of the delta under Shoshenq I in 945, founding the so-called Libyan or Bubastite dynasty that would rule for some 200 years. Sheshonq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. However, Libyan control began to erode as a rival dynasty in the delta arose in Leontopolis, and Kushites threatened from the south. Around 727 BC the Kushite king Piye invaded northward, seizing control of Thebes and eventually the Delta.. His dynasty, the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, continued until about 653 BC. The 25th dynasty was based at Napata in what is now The Sudan.
Alara is universally regarded as the founder of the 25th Kushite dynasty by his successors. The power of the 25th Dynasty reached a climax under the pharaohs Piye and Taharka. Starting from the reign of Taharqa onward, the kings of this dynasty were driven back into Nubia, at first by the Assyrians, then by the kings of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Taharka's successor, the pharaoh Tantamani was defeated by Assyria in 664 BC. Thereafter, the Kushite Empire's power over Egypt declined and terminated in 656 BC when Psamtik I, founder of the 26th Saite Dynasty, reunited Egypt. In 591 BC the Egyptians under Psamtik II invaded Kush, possibly because Kush ruler Aspelta was preparing to invade Egypt, and effectively sacked and burned Napata. The Kushites then moved their capital city to Meroe, which was more defensible than Napata.
It is clear from various[which?] historical records that Aspelta's successors moved their capital to Meroë, considerably farther south than Napata. The exact date this change was made is uncertain but some historians believe it was during Aspelta's reign, in response to the Egyptian invasion of Lower Nubia. One reason for the move is that Napata was militarily strategic and lacked natural defenses. Napata was located at the narrowest crossing point on the Nile and was largely a temple and market city.
Other historians[which?] believe it was the attraction of iron working that drove the Kushites to move their capital south to Meroë, unlike Napata, there were large forests that could fire the blast furnaces. The arrival of Greek merchants throughout the region also meant that Kush was no longer dependent on trade along the Nile. Instead, it could export its goods to the Red Sea and the Greek trading colonies there.
No royal residence has been found north of Meroë and it is possible Napata had always been the religious centre of the Kushite empire, but was never fortified. However, Napata clearly remained an important center, with the kings and candaces being crowned and buried there for many centuries, even when they lived at Meroë.
In about 300 B.C. the move to Meroë was made more complete when the monarchs began to be buried there, instead of at Napata. One theory is that this represents the monarchs breaking away from the power of the priests at Napata. Diodorus Siculus tells a story about a Meroitic ruler named Ergamenes who was ordered by the priests to kill himself, but broke tradition and had the priests executed instead. Some historians[which?] think Ergamenes refers to Arrakkamani, the first ruler to be buried at Meroë. However, a more likely transliteration of Ergamenes is Arqamani, who ruled many years after the royal cemetery was opened at Meroë. Another theory is that the capital had always been based at Meroë.
Kushite civilisation continued for several centuries. In the Napatan Period Egyptian hieroglyphs were used: at this time writing seems to have been restricted to the court and temples. From the second century BC there was a separate Meroitic writing system. This was an alphabetic script with 23 signs used in a hieroglyphic form (mainly on monumental art) and in a cursive form. The latter was widely used; so far some 1278 texts using this version are known (Leclant 2000). The script was deciphered by Griffith, but the language behind it is still a problem, with only a few words understood by modern scholars. It is not as yet possible to connect the Meroitic language with other known languages.
Strabo describes a war with the Romans in the first century B.C. After initial victories upon Candace Amanirenas attacked Roman Egypt, the Kushites were defeated and Napata sacked.  They succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty on favourable terms.
In 70 AD, the ruler of the Kushite Empire was named Amanikhatashan. Kushite cavalry was aided the Romans in the capture of Jerusalem during the Great Jewish Revolt at this time.
The kingdom of Meroë began to fade as a power by the first or second century AD, sapped by the war with the Roman province of Egypt and the decline of its traditional industries.
The name given this civilization comes from the Old Testament where Cush (Hebrew: כוש) was one of the sons of Ham (Genesis 10:6) who settled in Northeast Africa. In the Bible and at different times in the ancient world, a large region covering northern Sudan, modern day southern Egypt, and parts of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia were known as "Cush". The Hebrew Bible refers to "Cush" on a number of occasions, though various English translations translate this as "Nubian", "Ethiopia", "Sudan", and "Cushite" (Unseth 1999). Moses wife, Tzipporah, is described as a Kushite in the book of Numbers 12:1. Some contend that this Cush was in southern Arabia. See Biblical Cush for a full discussion. All of this is complicated by the fact that the Septuagint translated "Cush" as "Aethiopia", leading to the misleading conclusion that "Cush" should be equated with the borders of present day "Ethiopia". Cain Hope Felder, in the introduction to his The Original African Heritage Study Bible has argued that "Cush" should always be translated as simply "Africa".
The Hindu Kush is a mountain range located between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a sub-range of the Himalayas. It is also calculated to be the geographic center of population of the world. 
The name Hindu Kush is usually applied to the whole of the range separating the basins of the Kabul, and Helmand rivers from that of the Amu Darya (or ancient Oxus), or more specifically, to that part of the range to the northwest of Kabul.
Sanskrit documents refer to the Hindu Kush as Pāriyatra Parvat .
In some of the Iranian languages that are still spoken in the region many peaks, mountains, and related places in the region have "Kosh" or "Kush" in their names. In the Persian language of the Sassanian period, Hindu referred to the inhabitants of the area around and beyond the Indus River, or Hind - the people who were followers of Hinduism. The name is also said to be a corruption of Hindu Koh, from the (modern) Persian word Kuh, meaning mountain. James Rennell, writing in 1793, referred to the range as the "Hindoo-Kho or Hindoo-Kush".
"The same hindu- 'mountain' [in Scythian or Saka languages] is in the name Hindǚ-kuš, where the kuš means 'side, region' connected with Chr. Sogd. qwšy 'side' with -ti- Armenian Parthian k'oušt 'side, region.' 
 Ibn Batuta on the term Hindu Kush
" 'Another reason for our halt was fear of the snow. For upon this road there is a mountain called Hindukush, which means 'the slayer of the Indians 'because the slave boys and girls who are brought from the land of India die there in large numbers as a result of the extreme cold and the great quantity of snow ". "
 Folk etymology
There are others who consider this origin to be false and put forward alternate possibilities for its origin, although these are usually considered to be folk etymology:
The origin of the term "Hindu Kush" is a point of contention. The folk etymological explanations range from 'killer of Hindu' to the 'throne of Hindu'.
that the name is a corruption of Caucasus Indicus, a name by which the Hindu Kush range was known in the ancient Western world after its conquest by Alexander the Great in the Fourth Century BC. Greek rule in the Hindu Kush region lasted over three centuries, and was followed by the rule of a dynasty known, significantly, as the Kushan. In its early period, the Kushan Empire had its capital near modern-day Kabul. Later, when the Hindu Kush region became part of the Sassanian Empire, it was ruled by a satrap known as the Kushan-shah (ruler of Kushan).
that the name refers to the last great 'killer' mountains to cross when moving between the Iranian plateau and the Indian subcontinent, named after the toll it took on anyone crossing them.
that the name is a posited Avestan appellation meaning "water mountains."
that the name is a corruption of Hind-o Kushan, containing the name of the Kushan dynasty that once ruled this region for more than three centuries.
The Hindu Kush occupy the lower left centre of this satellite image.The mountains of the Hindu Kush system diminish in height as they stretch westward: toward the middle, near Kabul, they extend from 4,500 to 6,000 meters; in the west, they attain heights of 3,500 to 4,000 meters. The average altitude of the Hindu Kush is 4,500 meters. The Hindu Kush system stretches about 966 kilometres laterally, and its median north-south measurement is about 240 kilometres. Only about 600 kilometres of the Hindu Kush system is called the Hindu Kush mountains. The rest of the system consists of numerous smaller mountain ranges including the Koh-e Baba, Salang, Koh-e Paghman, Spin Ghar (also called the eastern Safid Koh), Suleiman Range, Siah Koh, Koh-e Khwaja Mohammad and Selseleh-e Band-e Turkestan. The western Safid Koh, the Malmand, Chalap Dalan, Siah Band and Doshakh are commonly referred to as the Paropamisus by western scholars, though that name has been slowly falling out of use over the last few decades.
Rivers that flow from the mountain system include the Helmand River, the Hari River and the Kabul River, watersheds for the Sistan Basin.
Numerous high passes ("kotal") transect the mountains, forming a strategically important network for the transit of caravans. The most important mountain pass is the Kotal-e Salang (3,878 m); it links Kabul and points south to northern Afghanistan. The completion of a tunnel within this pass in 1964 reduced travel time between Kabul and the north to a few hours. Previously access to the north through the Kotal-e Shibar (3,260 m) took three days. The Salang tunnel at 3,363 m and the extensive network of galleries on the approach roads were constructed with Soviet financial and technological assistance and involved drilling 1.7 miles through the heart of the Hindu Kush.
Before the Salang road was constructed, the most famous passes in the Western historical perceptions of Afghanistan were those leading to the Indian subcontinent. They include the Khyber Pass (1,027 m), in Pakistan, and the Kotal-e Lataband (2,499 m) east of Kabul, which was superseded in 1960 by a road constructed within the Kabul River's most spectacular gorge, the Tang-e Gharu. This remarkable engineering feat reduced travel time between Kabul and the Pakistan border from two days to a few hours.
The roads through the Salang and Tang-e Gharu passes played critical strategic roles during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and were used extensively by heavy military vehicles. Consequently, these roads are in very bad repair. Many bombed out bridges have been repaired, but numbers of the larger structures remain broken. Periodic closures due to conflicts in the area seriously affect the economy and well-being of many regions, for these are major routes carrying commercial trade, emergency relief and reconstruction assistance supplies destined for all parts of the country.
There are a number of other important passes in Afghanistan. The Wakhjir (4,923 m), proceeds from the Wakhan Corridor into Xinjiang, China, and into Northern Areas of Pakistan. Passes which join Afghanistan to Chitral, Pakistan, include the Baroghil (3,798 m) and the Kachin (5,639 m), which also cross from the Wakhan. Important passes located farther west are the Shotorgardan (3,720 m), linking Logar and Paktiya provinces; the Bazarak (2,713 m), leading into Mazari Sharif; the Khawak Pass (4,370 m) in the Panjsher Valley, and the Anjuman (3,858 m) at the head of the Panjsher Valley giving entrance to the north. The Hajigak (2,713 m) and Unai (3,350 m) lead into the eastern Hazarajat and Bamyan Valley. The passes of the Paropamisus in the west are relatively low, averaging around 600 meters; the most well-known of these is the Sabzak between the Herat and Badghis provinces, which links the western and northwestern parts of Afghanistan.
These mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at the most sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Very ancient mines producing lapis lazuli are found in Kowkcheh Valley, while gem-grade emeralds are found north of Kabul in the valley of the Panjsher River and some of its tributaries. The famous 'balas rubies', or spinels, were mined until the 19th century in the valley of the Ab-e Panj or Upper Amu Darya River, considered to be the meeting place between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir ranges. These mines now appear to be exhausted.
 Eastern Hindu Kush
The Eastern Hindu Kush range, also known as the High Hindu Kush range, is mostly located in northern Pakistan and the Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces of Afghanistan. The Chitral District of Pakistan is home to Tirich Mir, Noshaq, and Istoro Nal, the highest peaks in the Hindu Kush. The range also extends into Ghizar, Yasin Valley, and Ishkoman in Pakistan's Northern Areas.
Chitral is considered to be the pinnacle of the Hindu Kush region. The highest peaks, as well as countless passes and massive glaciers, are located in this region. The Chiantar, Kurambar, and Terich glaciers are amongst the most extensive in the Hindu Kush and the meltwater from these glaciers form the Kunar River, which eventually flows south into Afghanistan and joins the Bashgal, Panjsher, and eventually the much smaller Kabul River.
The jazz musician Katie Melua wrote a song called "Halfway Up the Hindu Kush", probably because in the 1960s and 70s Afghanistan was depicted in the media as the romantic haven of nomads and a resort for hashish-smoking hippies.
 Military Presence
After historical military presence since the time of Alexander the Great, the recent Cold War caused the presence of Soviet and mujahideen fighters and then revolutionary Taliban. Currently Al Qaeda's presence made the U.S. forces to shift their operation in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges.