Rod Nordland

The Empire Stopper

03.09.2017

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.

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