Empires, like individuals, can tire. It was not for naught that Afghanistan has been called, 'the graveyard of empires'.

And at the moment, we're witnessing last days of American hegemony. Trump is just a side-effect of these wars.
As the British learned in their 1839-1842 war in Afghanistan, it is often easier to do business with a local ruler with popular support than to support a leader backed by foreign powers; the costs of propping up such a leader eventually add up.
The closest most historical empires have come to controlling Afghanistan was by adopting a light-handed approach, as the Mughals did. They managed to loosely control the area by paying off various tribes, or granting them autonomy.
Afghanistan is particularly hard to conquer primarily due to the intersection of three factors.
First, because Afghanistan is located on the main land route between Iran, Central Asia, and India, it has been invaded many times and settled by a plethora of tribes, many mutually hostile to each other and outsiders.
Second, because of the frequency of invasion and the prevalence of tribalism in Afghanistan, its lawlessness lead to a situation where almost every village or house was builtlike a fortress, or qalat.
Third, the physical terrain of Afghanistan makes conquest and rule extremely difficult, exacerbating its tribal tendencies. Afghanistan is dominated by some of the highest and more jagged mountains in the world.
Afghanistan’s history demonstrates how difficult it is to occupy and govern the country.

Around 500 BC, Afghanistan was relatively lightly populated, as Alexander the Great is reported to have swept through the area with little resistance.
Following this, the Maurya Empire from India controlled most of Afghanistan, although a Greek successor kingdom arose in Balkh (Bactria) in northern Afghanistan. Buddhism and Hinduism spread throughout the region during this period.
It was only after the collapse of the Maurya Empire and several invasions from Central Asia that the mountains of Afghanistan began to “fill up,” and acquire its reputation of being the home of many warlike peoples defending their individual turfs.
Many of the invaders assimilated into the tribal structure of the Pashtuns, adapting their language.
Various tribes founded empires within the Afghanistan region before breaking up into mini-statelets. These includedthe Greco-Bactrians, the Indo-Parthians, the Saka (Scythians), the great Buddha-building Kushans, the Kidarites, and the Hephthalites (White Huns).
When the Arabs arrived in the region at the dawn of the 8th century, Afghanistan was a patchwork of small but tough principalities. Attempts to conquer the Zunbils of Kandahar failed spectacularly, the first major setback faced by the Arabs after their great conquests began.
It took almost 200 years for Afghanistan to be Islamicized from west to east, a process that only neared completion when Ya’qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar, a Persian blacksmith born in Zaranj, in Afghanistan on the border with Iran conquered Kabul.
When the Mongols arrived in Afghanistan, they faced so much resistance in the Bamiyan valley, which they besieged in 1221, that the grandson of Genghis Khan was killed.
In fury, the Mongols killed most of the valley’s original inhabitants: most of the modern Hazara who live there are descended from a Mongol garrison, some of whose men took Tajik wives. Fragmentation ensued again after the weakening of the Mongol Empire.
The Afghan revolt brought down the Safavid Empire; although partially checked by the rise of the warlord Nader Shah and his empire, eventually modern Afghanistan was founded in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, who picked off territory from Nader Shah’s descendants in Persia.
Since then, as both the British and Russians have learned, that while it is possible to conquer territory in Afghanistan temporarily, and defeat Afghans militarily in open battle, it is virtually impossible to hold the region down for long.
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