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Afghanistan: The Empire Stopper

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tags: Afghanistan



WHEN THE AMERICAN AUTHOR James A. Michener went to Afghanistan to research his work of historical fiction, “Caravans,” it was 1955 and there were barely any roads in the country. Yet there were already Americans and Russians there, jockeying for influence. Later, the book’s Afghan protagonist would tell an American diplomat that one day both America and Russia would invade Afghanistan, and that both would come to regret it.

Michener’s foresight was uncanny, but perhaps that is not terribly surprising. Afghanistan has long been called the “graveyard of empires” — for so long that it is unclear who coined that disputable term.

In truth, no great empires perished solely because of Afghanistan. Perhaps a better way to put it is that Afghanistan is the battleground of empires. Even without easily accessible resources, the country has still been blessed — or cursed, more likely — with a geopolitical position that has repeatedly put it in someone or other’s way.

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