Afghanistan – a country that has been invaded many times in recorded history. Some of these invaders include Indians (Maurya dynasty from 322–185 BCE), Alexander The Great, Genghis Khan, Timur, Mughal Empire, various Persian Empires, British Empire, Sikh Empire, the Soviet Union and currently by the United States-led invasion with NATO. This country has been in turmoil for a very long time and is known as the ‘graveyard of empires’. Afghanistan has a reputation for undoing ambitious military ventures and humiliating would-be conquerors. According to the words of Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty that ruled much of central Asia in the 1500s: “Afghanistan has not been and never will be conquered and will never surrender to anyone”.
In the past two centuries both Soviet and British invaders have been forced to beat bloody retreats from Afghanistan, deprived of victories that, on paper at least, looked easy but, ultimately, proved futile. “It’s a hard place to fight, to conquer and rule,” says Patrick Porter, a former lecturer in Defence Studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, King’s College London. “The geography is very hard: it is a country of mountains and deserts of quite severe winters and that makes it difficult not only to fight in, but also to operate logistically. It limits your mobility and it is difficult to project power.” The most recent US-led invasion has ended after almost thirteen years of bloody war, troops withdrawals are imminent after billions of dollars spent, thousands of soldiers’ lives lost - but Afghanistan is still in total shambles and so is the region. People in the west are still looking for answers. Why were we there in the first place? What have we achieved from this war? What will happen now? Have we learned from history? This short and concise book will explain and answer most of your questions and will act as an eye-opener for most readers. The author comes from the area and has until recently actively served in the armed forces for two decades and, not least for a time, in one of the most hostile border zone areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.