Kenyon College

Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires


Since the 19th century, Afghanistan has been the unlikely sites of numerous invasions and occupations by powerful states. Many of these powers did not seek to subjugate the population in order to win control of any rich natural resources but only to deny another rival power a foothold in the region. Still, even with all their might, none of these invaders have been able to establish lasting control in the country. Instead, all have withdrawn, leaving the people of Afghanistan the ever more daunting task of trying to rebuild their country after the battles are over.

To read more about this cycle of war, and view striking archival photographs from the conflicts, check out:

The Empire Stopper by Rod Nordland, The New York Times, August 29, 2017.


Image credit: A group of British officers in Afghanistan in 1878. Credit John Burke/Science & Society Picture Library, via Getty Images.