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The United States departed Afghanistan on August 31, after almost twenty years of nation-building, the most recent foreign power to surrender that harsh, cold, Himalayan terrain, “the graveyard of empires,” back to the Afghan people.

The British tried three times to tame the poor but fierce Afghan fighters. In the first Afghan War, 1839-1840, the British marched in with high hopes, but suffered one of the worst military disasters of the nineteenth century, an outright slaughter.

The Afghan people, the British discovered, were not easily subdued.

British soldiers suffered a similar fate in a se...


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